With the launch of low-end tablets and Android devices, many schools, colleges and coaching institutes are now making their content available on mobile devices
Mobile apps have penetrated all kinds of service sectors, from booking a cab and ordering home delivery of food to even tracking blood donors. The revolution to allow students prepare for exams on the go began a while back with apps being launched for the Common Admission Test, All India Engineering Entrance Exam and the like.
The latest exam to join the league is the Common Entrance Test (CET)-Karnataka. Bangalore-based technology start-up Ipomo launched the CET Room a mobile app for CET aspirants. The app had 600 registered users as of April 20, two days since its launch. This free app can be downloaded by students and used to take 20-minute tests everyday till April 26. “The app follows the ‘room’ concept which allows students to come together, take tests and compare their performance with the rest of the registered users,” said Hari Prakash Shanbhog, director, Ipomo. The team at Ipomo is still in the process of taking feedback from students and is tweaking the app to serve students better. What was first planned to be a Goodnight Test of 20 questions for 20 minutes at 10 p.m. everyday will now be available for students throughout the day. A final test will be conducted on April 28, in which students will have to answer 60 questions in each subject (physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology) in 60 minutes each. Students can also keep track of updates on CET announcements and the Rank-Seat Finder service helps students find the right courses/colleges based on their expected test results and be prepared for the counselling. “Colleges are filtered based on the cut-off ranks of the previous year CET admission,” added Mr. Hari.
Speaking about the increasing trend of preparation for competitive exams being accessible on mobile phones, Ashish Chowdhury, who created an app for CAT (CATapp) in 2011 while he was still a student, said, “The demand for educational apps has increased tremendously. With the launch of low-end tablets and Android devices, many schools, colleges and coaching institutes are now making their content available on mobile devices. The Aakash tablet is one of them. Mobile apps business is forecasted to be $100 billion by 2015 and education has and will be an important part of this. Many big players like Pearson, McGraw Hill, etc. are providing their content and small players are building innovative products. This collaboration works well.”
Multiple companies and publishing houses have turned their content into apps, GMAT app being one of them. But it is better this way, said Mr. Ashish, “Instead of all exam organisers developing their individual apps, they should rather collaborate with technology companies and make their content available on those platforms. This way the technology companies can do what they are best at and content companies (exam organisers) can do what they are best at.”
In an attempt to make the app accessible at 2G speeds, the team has compressed the data so that it takes up less time to load and use. “Students and parents will opt for data packages with apps like this being available to students. And this is the very reason why we did not tie up with any particular service provider. It helps students to access the app through their preferred provider at the best data connection packages available,” said Mr. Hari.
Working around the Internet accessibility issue is a primary concern for app developers, specially in the field of education. “Internet penetration on mobile in India is still at a very nascent stage. Hence with CATapp we pre-loaded the content in the app itself. So Internet connection is only required while downloading the app and then the app can be used without the Net. But for users with unlimited Internet connection, we have developed a Store (in the app itself) wherein people can download papers of various coaching institutes any time they want and on various topics,” explained Mr. Ashish.
In addition to CET, students can also take practice tests for NEET, JEE-Main, CAT as well as GMAT on their mobile phones. The Graduate Management Admission Council in 2012 made the 13th edition Official Guide for GMAT Review available on the Android and Apple mobile platforms. At $4.99 the app offers students questions and allows aspirants to pace themselves with a timer. Students can register to take the GMAT exam directly through the app. It also comes with a six-month subscription to the Integrated Reasoning online tool, and includes review modules, 50 GMAT exam questions, answer explanations and exam preparation resources.
The app for JEE-Main 2013 launched by Minglebox.com gives students the complete JEE syllabus along with lessons prepared by IIT/NIT toppers. It also gives students a question bank and mock tests at no cost.