In an attempt to ensure good quality of students enter their premier institutes, the IITs upped their game this year. JEE (Advanced) 2018 stumped thousands of aspirants on Sunday with the IITs introducing a major component on non – MCQs (multiple choice questions also termed as numerical-answer type questions) in the question papers – paper I and paper II. In almost 45% of the 54 questions in each of the paper, students had to arrive at a numerical value and no range was provided.
Last year, section 2 in each of the three subjects in paper-I had five questions which had a single-digit integer ranging from 0-9, as answer. This year, section 2 in each of the three subjects in paper I and II had answers in numerical values – with no range. And students were told that they had to enter the correct numerical value (in decimal notation, rounded off to second decimal place, eg 6.25, 7.00,-127.30, 30.27). While last year the integer-type questions were only 15 in numbers, this year the similar set were 48 of the 108 questions.
“The IITs did not give a limited range which helped students to cross-check their answers. Last year, the numerical values were supposed to be between 0-9. So, if students got anything other than these 10 digits, they re-calculated to get the right answer. This year, answers could have been in negative too. The Quality of questions were definitely better than the previous years,” said Aditya Singh, one of the aspirants. Since he was prepared for such questions he found the paper to be moderately difficult and was not baffled, like many others, he added.
Another aspirant Bhaskar Gupta said, “The questions which did not have multiple choices were also more in numbers. Mathematics was particularly tougher than physics and chemistry. The questions were not difficult, but the calculations were lengthier. The paper was tougher compared to 2017.” Vinay Kumar, MD of a coaching institute, said: “Many found the mathematics paper to be more difficult than chemistry and physics…Overall, the paper was difficult as anticipated.” Ramesh Batlish, an expert from FIIT-JEE, said some students found the mathematics paper to be difficult, but their students were prepared for the non-MCQs. “The only relief was that these questions did not carry any negative marking,” said Batlish. NO errors were reported, as the question papers were not uploaded by the IITs till late night.
“Most found the mathematics paper to be more difficult than chemistry and physics. The partial marking scheme was continued even this year. Overall the paper was difficult as anticipated. The cut-offs could fall, ” said Vinay Kumar, MD of Rao IITAcademy.
A JEE (Advanced) official said, “Students should focus on the syllabus while preparation and not on the type of questions they will be asked. IITs are taking conscious efforts in the last few years to ensure good quality students are picked and not the ones who answer the questions by eliminating the wrong answers or by plain guess work. If the students are prepared well, they should be able to attempt any type of questions. We had to ensure a certain quality in the question paper is maintained.”
Of the 1.65 lakh students who registered for the test, 1.57 lakh appeared for paper-I. Additionally, 2,400 students dropped out of the race for IIT seats, by skipping paper-II in the afternoon session. The highest numbers of candidates – 36,169 – appeared from IIT-Madras zone, followed by IIT-Delhi and IIT-Bombay zones. JEE (Advanced) went online for the first time. However, unlike other online tests, IITs did not face major teething problems. The exam was conducted smoothly at 572 of the 573 centres. At one centre in Bangalore, the exam started two hour late due to a local technical problem, but students were given extra time and also refreshments. In some centres in Mumbai, students had to face 10-15 minutes of inconvenience due to power failure.
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