Many students believe that the negative marking system is good as it discourages ‘guessing’ the answers and increases the reliability of the score

Is the introduction of negative marking in exams a positive move? With important examinations such as Indian Institute of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE), Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) and the Common Admission Test (CAT) for admissions to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) following the scheme of negative marking, many students believe that the system is good as it discourages ‘guessing’ the answers and increases the reliability of the score, and by extension, the knowledge of the student. Some others, on the other hand, feel that negative marking is more of a disadvantage as it deducts marks from answers that have been marked correctly.

Varsha Shankar, first year, College of Dental Sciences, Davangere:

I think it's good to have negative marking because it helps filter out students. Only those students who are well prepared for the exam will qualify, while those who answer questions randomly will not. In simple words, students cannot qualify in the exams by marking an answer and getting it right by chance. They will have to think twice before marking an answer and will actually have to prepare well before giving any paper. However, competition has increased, and everyone will have to study well if they have to get a seat. Also, it may not benefit many students who lose out on a seat by a mark or two, but it benefits the institutions as they will get genuinely interested students. The scores in the test will not be very high, but it makes the selection process much easier. Selections are also purely on merit, as there is no room for guesswork. The system of negative marking is obviously better than one that does not have provisions for the same.

Ajo George, II PUC, Amaatra Academy

The system of negative marking has two sides to it. It can be considered as an advantage to some students, while some may view it as a disadvantage. People who know the subject and have a clear understanding of the concepts will have a big advantage in this system of marking as it would boost their performance and give them a better and higher ranking. However, it would lower the ranking of those students who do not understand the subject clearly, or do not have sufficient knowledge of the subject. This system, would, therefore give the evaluators a better perspective of the student’s knowledge and help in filtering the students. Ranking will be dependent on how much one actually knows, rather than luck. I am very much for the negative marking system.

Akshita Balivada, first year, Government Dental College, Bangalore

I feel that negative marking is essentially a good system. It is a big advantage for people who study well; however it may affect some students very badly as they might lose out on a seat because of making silly mistakes. It filters out good students from those who give the paper by marking answers at random. It filters out the cream at the basic level. In a very general sense, though, the system cannot be considered good or bad, but the advantages of the system are greater than the disadvantages. Students get a chance to actually study for their seat, and it increases the level of competition amongst them. It also improves the seriousness of the students writing the exam. However, students need to be trained on how to give a paper that incorporates the system of negative marking.

Also, there should be at least one exam without negative marking to ensure that every student gets an opportunity. Personally, I am neutral to the system.

Aditya Bharadwaj, II PUC, VVS Sardar Patel PU College, Bangalore

I’m disappointed about the introduction of negative marking, but I feel it’s a necessary evil. It's been pretty daunting, as one has to constantly keep writing tests to adapt to the system. I don’t personally feel anyone will benefit from it because a lot of the people will obviously guess their answers, I’m no stranger to that. But I guess people should get used to it. There’s no scope for negativity here. This paper will not be set so that each option has minute variations, but there’s an obvious choice. So I feel the student can benefit in that sense, it makes calculations easier with rounding off. Answering a question becomes much riskier. Normally we get four marks per correct answer, zero for leaving it and -1 for incorrect answers. Therefore, a danger arises where a person might have answered 10 out of 30 correct questions and the remaining 20 are wrong. He’d get a total score of zero.

Nitya Satish, Class 12, Kendriya Vidyalaya - Railway Colony, Bangalore

I think the introduction of negative marking is very good as it will enhance the understanding and analytic capacity of the student. It will prevent clustering of marks and ensure differences in scores.

The number of students getting seats purely by luck will reduce, but despite this, the system might not make a very big difference. People who are good and study hard would have anyway stood a better chance of clearing than people who do not. However, it will to an extent help in filtering the students at the grassroot level itself. Personally, I think the negative marking system is better.