Around one lakh students will have the opportunity to take the All India Engineering/Architecture Examination (AIEEE) online in April 2011. This is the first time that the option of taking the examination online is being given to students.

The examination, conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), determines admissions to several leading institutions offering professional courses, including the National Institutes of Technology (NITs). Over 12 lakh students from all over the country are expected to take the examination.

For a student just out of school, what does it mean to take an online examination? H.B.K. Teja took his first online mock test while preparing for SAT and now, he will take the entrance test for admission to Law colleges online.

“I prefer online tests as they are more objective and give you the result immediately, unlike the traditional exam in which there is always a doubt whether the examiner has done the job correctly,” says the class XII student of Chettinad Vidyashram. “Maths might seem inconvenient as you are used to solving them using the pen and paper, otherwise for logical reasoning and other topics it is easy,” he adds.

Not all students might feel as comfortable, say teachers. According to a mathematics teacher of a matriculation school, students are trained to achieve speed on paper. “Unfortunately, we train them like that for the class XII board examinations. They may not achieve the same speed and accuracy online,” she says.

Coaching institutes can also help students acquainted to learning online. According to Gita Prabhu, director, AIMS Education, an institute that trains students for competitive examinations such as the AIEEE, says that after the BITSAT (test for admission to BITS, Pilani) was made an online examination a few years ago, coaching institutes have also been focussing on training students to use the online tool effectively.

“We are talking to some IT trainers to help students practice this. Some parents are apprehensive about online examinations, as they fear technical problems such as those encountered when CAT went online,” she says.

However, for others, it is a matter of convenience. “Once students are familiar with the technology, it is not too different. It is a matter of practice,” Ms. Prabhu adds.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012