NTA’s provisional answer key for CUET-UG riddled with inaccuracies, allege students

NTA pegs the fee for challenging the provisional answer key at ₹200 per question, making it far less accessible for many aspirants

Updated - July 08, 2024 10:20 am IST

Published - July 08, 2024 12:34 am IST - New Delhi

CUET-UG candidates wait outside an exam centre in Delhi University, New Delhi on May 16, 2024.

CUET-UG candidates wait outside an exam centre in Delhi University, New Delhi on May 16, 2024. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

On July 7 morning, the National Testing Agency (NTA) released the provisional answer key for the Common University Entrance Test-UG, hours after which students began flagging issues in the provisional answer key across subjects.

The NTA, in a second notification, also stated that students can challenge the provisional answer key by paying ₹200 per question by July 9.

The NTA notice added, “Challenges made by the candidates will be verified by a panel of subject experts. If the challenge of any candidate is found correct, the Answer Key will be revised and applied in the response of all the candidates accordingly. Based on the revised Final Answer Key, the result will be prepared and declared. No individual candidate will be informed about the acceptance/non-acceptance of his/her challenge.”

The provisional answer key led to increased anxiety among students who had been waiting for the results since June 30. The NTA, currently embroiled in multiple controversies, had not released any notice regarding the delay in the announcement of results.

Falak Ali, a Delhi-based student who appeared for CUET, said, “I had got a score of 100 in Psychology and Legal Studies in CBSE exams. But after checking the answer key in these subjects, my marks are negative because many questions are wrong.”

“There are around 30 wrong answers in the subjects that I appeared for. The fee for challenging a question is ₹200, which is too high for one question, and many might not be able to afford it,” she added.

Her mother, Astha Ahuja, Associate Professor of Economics at Delhi University’s Aryabhatta College, said, “My daughter who has scored well in CBSE and CLAT is receiving negative marks as per the provisional answer key. Such complaints are pouring in from students across subjects. Such mistakes have been there in previous years too… this is unfair on the students who were already stressed due to the delays.”

For instance, a question in the Legal Studies paper asks under which Article of the Constitution did the government of India enact the Environment Protection Act of 1986, in the wake of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. As per the NCERT books, the correct answer would be Article 253 (Option 4 of the question paper). However, the correct option as per the provisional answer key is Article 38 (Option 2 on the question paper).

Similarly, in the Computer Science Paper, the answer for the full form of ARPANET, which according to the books is Advanced Research Projects Agency Networks, is marked as Automatic Research Practical Application Network in the answer key.

Sneha Pandey, who appeared for CUET in four subjects, said, “Ever since the answer key was released, all of my friends on WhatsApp have been discussing how there are inaccuracies across subjects. We have all been demotivated since the key was released.”

Her father, Satya Prakash Pandey, who is also the Delhi President of the All India Parents’ Association, said, “Students have already been under stress due to the delay. In addition to this, the NTA releases a provisional answer key, stating that there will be corrections. This is unfair and they should have released a correct, accurate answer key once and for all, to avoid putting students in such a stressful situation.”

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