One wrong entry in the booklet can be disastrous for students and previous experiences show that such mistakes have been committed by top students, says RAVIKANTH REDDY

Two years of hard work can go waste with minor mistakes and students don’t even know that they are committing them. Students who spend day and nights studying for EAMCET actually don’t care much about some simple things in the examination. Entering the right numbers and bubbling the correct code on the Optical Marks Reader (OMR) are as important as attempting the questions that get ranks.

One wrong entry in the EAMCET booklet can be disastrous for students and previous experiences show that such mistakes have been committed by top students. Though officials may notice it during recounting process, for the sensitive students such mistakes may prove to be too late.

Common mistakes

The most common mistake noticed by officials is the incorrect entry and wrong marking in the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) sheet.

Officials say, a high percent of problems is noticed from the mistakes in the OMR sheet going by the previous experiences.

The problems vary from wrongly marked code number to the faulty entry of the booklet number. “The mistakes generally occur when students enter the wrong code number of the booklet in a hurry,” says LVAR Sarma, Convenor, EAMCET-2009. The questions in all the booklets are same but they are jumbled. If a student enters the wrong code and despite answering all the questions correct the result may vary since the computer scans the OMR sheets identifying the code number only.

Students can escape even if they don’t enter the code numbers since the computer doesn’t scan them and officials can notice it. However, from this year the authorities have decided to verify the code number of the OMR sheet and the Booklet number comparing with the ones they get from the printer. Any change will be noticed by the computer and the wrong entries can be corrected. A team of senior professors will look into such changes and then send for scanning.

Prof. Sarma advises students to bubble the code number and the name thickly using the HB pencils. He says students should use the pencils supplied by the examiners and not theirs. Light shading of the bubbles can lead to mistakes in scanning as computer sometimes fail to notice the light shades. Even if one or two questions are not read by the computer rank can vary hugely.

However, to cut out such mistakes officials are using two different scanners and each OMR sheet is scanned twice with different levels of darkness level set for the two scanners. Another problem is students don’t erase the darkened circles totally while preferring to change the answer. This problem also leads to mistakes in scanning.

Unlike many think, Dr. Sarma says there is lot of human involvement in the process. However, he rules out any mischief while scanning or giving ranks as not only the computer does them, but they are also checked twice by two valuation teams consisting of professors from various universities. The usage of pens on the OMR sheet is not allowed as use of pencils allows students to change the answers if they feel like. It is in the interest of students, Dr. Sarma explains. Anyway, the critical data like hall-ticket number and booklet serial number are written with pen, apart from the students’ signature on the top half of the sheet, which is saved and kept in a safe locker with the Convenor for future verification.

The OMR is a device that reads pencil marks or pen marks on scan forms. To say simply, it is a machine that checks multiple choice computer forms.

The OMR is a powerful tool that has many features like printing the number of correct answers and the percentage of correct answers at the bottom of each sheet.

It will also record statistical data about each question. This data is recorded in the output file created when the forms are scanned. Students will not be allowed into the examination hall even if they are late by a couple of minutes. Dr. Sarma says that students should visit their allotted centre one day in advance rather than trying to find it before the examination. Since the number of students has gone up heavily this year, several centres outside the cities have been hired. Lack of transport facility in rural areas and traffic jams in the cities have to be taken seriously before students plan their travel.