It has finally become a little clear to IIT aspirants as to what their area of focus should be.

At a meeting on Wednesday, IIT directors decided that the entire JEE process will be revised to comprise two exams – main and advanced. While the main exam will be conducted by the CBSE, the advanced exam, likely to take place about a month later, will be conducted by the IITs.

The top 1.5 lakh students from the main exam can take the advanced exam.

But in order to be eligible for the IIT merit list, the score in the advanced test as well as marks secured in the class XII examination will be taken into account. The students will also have to be in the top 20 percentile of their educational boards to qualify . FIITJEE regional director Ankur Kumar Jain feels the new pattern is similar to what the IITs had before 1997, a double-tier system for selection. “A single test was not ensuring that the best students got in. But the new pattern won’t make much of a difference because most aspirants usually score at least above 85 per cent.”

K. Ravi, an independent trainer, feels in a State such as Tamil Nadu, where there is a lot of difference in the scores of state board and CBSE students, the new system might be a bit unfair on the latter. “There is a possibility that more state board students will be eligible but not ready to compete, and many CBSE students who are potentially eligible might be left out. The effectiveness of normalisation will be clear in some years.” He points out that few students from the State make it to the top ranks in the IITs and that the pressure to secure high scores in the board examinations would further dissuade many aspirants from taking the test.

Students, however, are relieved that some light has been shed on the issue. “I was scared the 40 per cent weightage would go to school marks. I am not sure how this percentile works, but my teachers told me I would be safe if I get 90 per cent, which is not tough,” said Vivek Raju, an IIT aspirant.

Senior professors have also welcomed the move. S. Vaidya Subramanium, Dean, Sastra University, said, “It is a good move as board exams have regained importance. Also, the normalisation process will improve the boards’ curriculum. ”

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Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012