Class X and XII Mathematics books by R.D. Sharma and NCERT books have come in handy for D. Abhinandan as he prepares for an aptitude test to be held on December 15. The first company will be coming for placements to Rajalakshmi Engineering College on that day and many of his classmates have started refreshing their memories.

“If your fundamentals are strong then aptitude tests become easy,” says Abhinandan. A view echoed by placement heads and recruiters as companies start campus placement in most city colleges.

But, it is not easy to crack the aptitude test where mental arithmetic, verbal ability and comprehension skills are tested. .

“Nearly 25 students of my class appeared for the aptitude test by WIPRO but only one student cleared it. It was a learning experience for us. Most of us had brushed our knowledge on ratios, proportions and percentages, but the test was more on class XII maths with which we had lost touch,” says R. Subbhashree, final year B.Sc (Mathematics) student of Ethiraj College for Women.

With more students preparing for competitive examinations such as the CAT, GRE and GMAT, students say the difficulty level of aptitude test conducted by companies have gone up.

“In fact, aptitude test is a ground for rejecting students,” says Aditya Nandkumar, final year student of metallurgy, IIT-Madras. Group discussion and personal interview follow the aptitude test.

With the intake, especially by IT companies, increasing, many colleges are making sure every student is employable. In order to address the demand-supply gap as well as prepare a student for the industry, a good number of engineering colleges are focusing on skill development programmes from the first year itself.

“Aptitude and soft-skill training has now become more intense and systematic. From this academic year, a student undergoes two-hour classes in soft-skills and aptitude session every week,” says Baby Thomas, Assistant Professor and Head Placement, Hindustan University.

Madras Christian College in association with British Council trains students of fourth semester in communication and presentation skills. “Some students from Tamil medium schools do not qualify due to their inadequate communication skills in English. Soft-skill training programme is part of the curriculum,” said S. Franklin Daniel, placement officer, MCC. Colleges also bring in consultants to hone the skills of students. According to R. Kannan, CEO, AssessPeople (P) Ltd, an organisation that conducts assessment tests for corporates, every company follows a different test pattern when it comes to selecting candidates. It depends on the department and profile one is being taken for. “Academic performance does not alone guarantee success in job. It is necessary to showcase what you are naturally good at,” he adds.

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Liffy ThomasJune 28, 2012