Why do JEE rank predictors fail?

Serving a population of approximately 13 lakh aspirants every year, JEE rank predictors have been known to create panic even in the calmest of minds. A couple of hours after the JEE exam has transpired, coaching institutes are working at rocket speed to release answer keys and rank predictors for aspirants. Most coaching institutes have a rank predictor that claims to predict the All India Rank (AIR) of aspirants. However, year on year, the number of aspirants losing belief in these predictors are increasing. Students have been ranting about their displeasure through various social media forums.

The thing about rank predictors is that they are majorly based on previous years’ JEE statistics. Abhishek Nayak, an IIT Gandhinagar student, says, “The percentile and weightage system changes every year. Predictors are like reading an old newspaper.” Abhishek’s rank prediction online was AIR 13000, but when JEE released the ranks, he was on AIR 17000. Along with the weightage and percentile, the number of aspirants taking the exam also changes. Hence, with 3 inconsistent parameters, devising an accurate predictor is not possible. Besides, students are asked to input the marks they expect to get in their exam. It is difficult to be a 100% sure as to what marks the student may score or which answer may or may not be right. Hence, the inputs by students are also based on assumptions.

Deep Shah, a student from IIT Bombay, says, “Two years ago, I had taken the rank prediction test from 2 different sites. One site predicted AIR 3001 and the other predicted AIR 4000. However, my real rank was 5733. I thought the maximum difference in ranks would not be more than 100-500 ranks.” There are many other students like Deep who were disheartened to see such a difference in the predicted rank and the real rank.

The figures used in the calculation of ranks is neither accurate nor consistent. Some first year engineering students say that coaching institutes in Kota base their predictors on the marks recorded by students enrolled with them and on statistics received from their competitors’ students (those competitors with a higher market share). However, using a small sample to determine all India ranks bring in a lot of room for error. This is also why predictors of different coaching institutes will predict different ranks for the same person.

According to IITians PACE, a JEE coaching institute in Mumbai, rank predictors come with an invisible warning that they should not be completely relied upon. They are only meant to give students a rough idea as to where they stand. But students, on the contrary, have complained that these predictions affect their performance in the coming competitive exams like BITSAT.

It is doubtful that coaching institutes deciding to discontinue to publish rank predictors or trying to perfect their calculation method. But the trend line of rank predictor popularity amongst engineering aspirants is still on the decline.