The three-hour wait outside Ethiraj College on Sunday morning, was not as agonising for Shanti Rajan, as were the last few seconds before her son, Raghunath. R, walked up to her and exclaimed, “Good that I attempted Chemistry first. It was a booster.”
It was a big day for IIT aspirants, as they wrote the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) 2011 competing for the coveted 9,500 seats in 17 renowned engineering colleges of the country.
As many as 65,612 students across south India attempted the examination in 156 different centres.
“A traditional JEE”
“It was a traditional JEE examination with two papers with questions on mathematics, physics and chemistry with difficulty level not very different from the previous years',” said V. Kamakoti, chairman, JEE 2011. Speaking about the alleged error in the mathematics section of paper 1, he said that the solutions committee would come up with an announcement soon like previous years.
While some students said the first paper was lengthy, many felt it was a test of ‘concepts, application, strategy and timing.' “Some questions were vague and we were required to find many values. Some questions in Maths kept me going round and round,” says Karthik M. “There was little in physics that could be reached through options. We had to check all possibilities,” said Gaurav Thakur.
Amid joy, anxiety and relief, some regretted attempting the ‘wrong' questions, others fretted over wasting much time on them. And there were some who had run out of time to mark answers in the given sheet even after working them out on the question paper.
For A. Rajeswari, a school teacher, there was more at stake, “Curbing expenses to all possible extent, I ensured my son got encouragement and facilities with my meagre earnings. It is a shared dream and I hope the efforts pay off.”
Anxious parents waited outside centres, some praying, some trying to knit or read and many discussing their children's future plans.
A little away from the exam centre after the first exam, V. Prasanna stood at the roadside, as his father kept him distracted talking about cricket and vacation plans. “They are discussing answers there. I do not want to ruin my second paper,” he said.
But for Gulsar Ahmed and R. Srinivasan, engineering students from Anna University, it was more about ‘calculated moves' as they worked around their scores in the first paper. “It helps to know how much you need to score more to approximately clear the cut-off,” says Gulsar.
And this one being a competitive exam, M. Srinath said, “I wish others found physics tougher than I did.”
“Unlike CBSE students, we are not used to applying concepts skillfully,” said S. B. Anjana of Prince Matriculation HSS. Nivetha Ramesh agreed. “And looking for patterns in JEE paper never works,” she adds.
Some like Aarti Jayakumar who started preparation six months back wished she had got more preparation time. “The exam is only for people who have worked with perseverance, otherwise you spend all the time recalling concepts,” she said.
An exhilarated Prahlad Krishna remarked, “It started with fascination for the institute, but soon evolved into a rage for the examination. My four-year's wait is over today.”