The number is generated using an algorithm, and is used in creating the merit list

Every year, Anna University officials are faced with a dilemma when it comes to creating a merit list of engineering applicants. Invariably, there is more than one student with the same marks in mathematics, physics and chemistry and even optional subjects. Generally, the student’s date of birth is taken into account and the older student is considered first, but what if two students have the same birth date?

A random number that is generated and given to every engineering applicant is taken into account whenever there is such a situation.

The process of allotting random numbers to applicants began on Wednesday, with minister for higher education P. Palaniappan giving out the first number. The 10-digit number for every student is generated automatically by an algorithm and is considered when there is a tie in students’ marks.

While making the merit list, a student’s mathematics marks are normalised to 100, while her physics and chemistry marks are normalised to 50 each. If the total mark is the same, the person with higher mathematics marks is given the first choice.

“In case of a tie, marks of the optional subject – biology or computer science are considered, and if that turns out the same too, the older student is considered,” said Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions secretary, Rhymend Uthariaraj.

Last year, there were 16 students with the same marks in all four subjects, including the optional one who had the same birth date too. Random numbers of all these students were considered then, said Mr. Uthariaraj.

Students can find out their random numbers and track their applications at

Around 1,89,397 engineering forms have been sold this year, 8,000 more than last year. Admissions to nearly 2.5 lakh seats in 535 engineering colleges across the State will begin on June 21.