Delays, procedural glitches are rampant, say candidates; numbers writing such exams on the rise
It is the season of banking exams, but most candidates who have been attempting these papers say that glitches in the procedure hamper their chances, and that these exams could be conducted in a more streamlined manner.
Many candidates who took the State Bank India PO (Probationary Officer) Recruitment Exam on Sunday, complained that their exam did not begin on time and that the invigilators at the centres were not trained to guide them through the procedures.
The exam was held in the city after a gap of three years, and over 17 lakh aspirants — the highest number registered to date — took the test. “My hall ticket said the exam would begin at 8 a.m. but when I reached the centre there was no invigilator in my room. Only after twenty minutes did someone come in with the question papers,” said Radhika Iyer, a clerk who took the test at an engineering college in Katakallanguthur.
Candidates said confusion reigned mainly because the invigilators were not trained in the procedures. “They collected our hall tickets as soon as we entered the room. We needed them to write our 10-digit registration numbers and roll numbers on the answer sheets and hand them back to us. Until 8. 40 a.m., we were not given our coding sheets,” said Virendran Manoj, a 32-year-old sales executive.
Candidates said they had come prepared for a three-hour paper (two-hour objective and one-hour subjective) but they were also asked to fill a form which had details they had already filled in the application form. “It took each of us more than twenty minutes to do that, and unfortunately, that time was part of the total test duration,” said Renuka Kumari, another candidate.
“The invigilators were not able to guide us with our questions. There was a question asking us about a category, and while we thought it was caste, it turned out we had to write down the category of a job. It was only when a bank official pointed it out on a candidate’s sheet that we corrected it in our papers,” she added.
While in some centres students were given extra time to fill in the details, in others, they were given no such information.
“In my class, we kept waiting for instructions to open the sealed papers after filling up the forms. After about 30 minutes, an official came running in and said we should have started long ago. The invigilators were as confused as we were,” said another candidate.
A total of 19 public sector banks, excluding SBI, have been recruiting candidates for various posts through the written test conducted by the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).
Such confusion seems to be prevalent in other banking exams too. The IBPS exam conducted last month was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., but the exam commenced only at 3 p.m. “They made us wait outside the centre for two hours and then checked our certificates. This could have been done inside the hall. We were exhausted by the time we were finally allowed to write the exam,” said a candidate who wrote the exam in Navalur. Many of the candidates from Chennai had been given Namakkal as their test centre, which had also inconvenienced them.
“A shortage of lucrative jobs and a notification of vacancies in banking are why most of us are seriously preparing for these exams. But they need to be conducted professionally, like other competitive exams such as CAT or UPSC for us to make full use of such opportunities, said B. Narsimhan, an engineering graduate.
The increased interest in banking tests has also been spurred as the salary packages at banks have improved significantly.
“For instance, SBI is offering up to Rs. 50,000 as a monthly salary. But there are just about 1,500 posts and over 17 lakh applicants. I could barely focus on the paper, after knowing that I had already lost 40 minutes. That might have ruined my chance,” said Renuka.