JEE Mains 2016: Despite benefits, online mode not preferred choice for aspirants

A handful of students outside D.G. Ruparel College in Mumbai

The pen-and-paper mode remains the popular choice for JEE Mains aspirants as the attendance at the examination centres for the two – offline and online – tests revealed. While the examination centres were packed to capacity for the offline mode last Sunday, April 3, 2016, there were a few takers for the online mode held over this weekend, April 9 & 10, 2016. Barely 15-20% of the total JEE Mains aspirants in the country opted for the online mode this year around.

The aspirants are still wary of appearing for the computer-based online test. Most of them are trained for taking the pen-and-paper way of examination. They find it difficult or are rather apprehensive of trying the online method. Those who still dared to go the online way seemed happy with their choice. Some, however, felt it would have been better had they attempted the offline JEE Mains last Sunday along with their friends and batch mates at the coaching institutes. Dwarkesh Haldankar, a student from IITians’ PACE, said, “I am probably the only one here in PACE who decided to take the online exam. Despite having more time to study, I had no one to discuss my apprehensions about the pattern of online exam.” Another aspirant, whose batch mates and friends had taken the JEE Mains last Sunday, said, “If I had any confusion regarding the procedure of online exam, I didn’t have any friend with whom I could discuss the issue. Coaching centres are there to assist, but was hard to get through them for help on the day of the exam.”

The online mode hasn’t found many takers among the students and coaching institutes alike. The aspirants prefer the offline mode as they have certain misconceptions around the online mode like what if something goes wrong with the computer or connectivity during the examination, they will end up losing that attempt altogether. As only a handful of students from each coaching centre took the online exam, last minute assistance for those appearing in this mode was hard to get. Students said that the coaching institutes had explained the online procedure in detail, but cautioned them against opting for it. Professor Amit Gautam, Faculty Head (Chemistry), Vidyamandir Classes, Delhi, had a different explanation for this advice to aspirants. “Only two or three sheets are provided for calculation. Students may fall short of rough paper unless they use them judiciously. It would make them nervous and their performance in the exam will suffer.”

According to Alankar Zaveri, another aspirant, “Students usually opt for the online exam because they get more time to study. Parents also prefer this arrangement as they can choose their exam slots. But the first time experience of taking such a tough exam is not a great one and one needs support from other students going through the same. I don’t regret choosing the online mode, but I wished there were others who had done the same.”

Even though the online mode of JEE Mains comes with many advantages such as an easier question paper and gives an aspirant more time to study, many students who took the exam over the weekend felt that taking the exam with a few others at the centre was demotivating.

The result of the JEE Mains is expected to be announced on April 27, 2016.

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Inputs by Manaal Bhombal, Sanjana Donkar