Students find entrance exams a tough nut to crack


Tough tests are diminishing their hopes, say students

Shristi Sharma, 21, a student, has given CAT twice, but wasn’t able to score the required percentile to clear the exam. She feels demotivated as all her friends are now pursuing their masters, whereas she’s still trying to crack the exam to secure admission to a reputed college.

 “I can get admitted to an average college, but then I won’t be able to secure a good job. Going abroad for studies isn’t an option as my parents won’t be able to expend that much,” she said.

The tough exam pattern, high competition owing to limited seats and stress, pressure to clear exams have left many students like Shristi with little hope for their future.

Another student, Shivani Kaul, 22, informed The Observer: “The competition is fierce with everybody in the race to get admitted to premier institutes of the country. I am currently doing my masters from distance… But I sometimes miss the college environment, the corridors with the hustle bustle of students, the teachers and the air filled with the aroma of canteen food.”

Due to the rising competition, many Indian students are now opting to study abroad.

Rhea Rawal, 22, a student preparing to go to Canada for her masters in economics, shared: “The quality of education in western countries is good and the living standards are also superior. The entrance tests, too, are easier to crack. So it seems only right that one opts for these colleges rather than waiting to meet the high percentile requirements of Indian entrance examinations.”

Parents too are worried about their children’s future. Shilpa Sharma, mother of Shristi, who made two futile attempts at CAT, said: “There’s an urgent need for reforms in our testing system or an increase in the number of quality institutes in India, or students will continue to suffer, especially those with dreams and the calibre to achieve them. There needs to be space for each and every student; otherwise, it will give a rise to complex and demotivation among students.”

Atul Poddar, an economics teacher and director of Lotus Circle Study Centre, wishes there was a more appropriate testing mechanism in place. “We admit so many students each year, but only some are able to crack the entrance. It’s sad to think of those who can’t even enroll in the classes. There shouldn’t be a single exam to decide your future. One’s personality needs to be considered before they can get admitted to a college,” he said.

Some students end up compromising their school tests to prepare for entrance exams.

Abhilash Sinha, co-trustee of Little Seed NGO, an education NGO, explained: “Students face a lot of pressure due to these examinations. There is a problem of time management as they don’t know if they should study for the CBSE board exams or entrance exams as both have completely different pattern. There is not time to study and give one’s 100 per cent.”

Himanshu Dev, founder of HD EduAssociates, a career and college counselling company, said there is an urgent need to change people’s mindset if one needs to tackle the problem of growing pressure and anxiety among students. “I think the mindset of people needs to be changed. Marks shouldn’t be given much importance. It isn’t necessary that a topper or a high scorer will be good at a profession. Any job requires real life skills.”

“As for college admissions, colleges cannot be blamed for the increasing competition. There are students who score 99 per cent and above. So what can the college do? They will have to admit those students first and then look at others. The only solution is for the government to come up with more colleges in the country or for students to start looking at other colleges too instead of only the top notch, premier colleges of the country. You can achieve your goals through determination, hard work and passion and not through the college you attend,” he added.

A report on website titled ‘Perils of increasingly challenging college-entrance exams in India’, said that in comparison to India, the entrance examinations in western countries are designed to test basic proficiency and allow students to change their mind on the discipline they wish to pursue after they join college.  Exams have little role in deciding whether you get admitted to a college or not. Also, their difficulty level is far lower than that in India.

The West still leads in innovations in science, engineering, technology, and medicine. The culture of discovery is thriving which indicates that these entrance exams do not determine the future of a country but imparting quality education does.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *