Saturday, April 15, 2006

How good are entrance exams in 'discovering' merit


When asked to define intelligence, some people simply throw up their hands, and define it as 'what intelligence tests measure'! It's not too far off the mark to say that merit is 'what merit tests measure'. Perhaps this is a good time to look at how it is measured in India, and examine the kinds of anomalies they produce (with a particular emphasis on JEE, the Joint Entrance Exam, conducted by the IITs).

Entrance exams produce raw scores and/or ranks (or, percentiles); the implication, of course, is that someone with a higher score (or, better rank) is more more 'meritorious'. Thus, rank-ordering is a key element of these exams.

Consistency across exams: The first problem, of course, is that different entrance exams, with different designs, could lead to completely different rank ordering of the same set of students.

Consistency within the same exam: Our exams produce noisy, unreliable results. And, not much effort has gone into making them less noisy.

The use of a small number of problems (several hundreds, at the maximum) to rank-order hundreds of thousands of students. In such exams, we all know that even a single mistake can set your rank back; how badly you are affected by a single mistake depends on which part of the distribution you are at. On a Bell curve, if your score is high, a single mistake may not affect your rank much [because you occupy those rarefied heights where only a few humans survive]. It could affect you seriously if you are around the average, where tons of people are bunched up.

This problem is much worse in JEE, because even the ones who get through (i.e., get a JEE rank, called the All India Rank - AIR) are people who are able to attempt only a small fraction of the questions. In the year I took it, I attempted barely 25% of the questions in chemistry, as well as in math (physics was slightly better, at about 50%!). The JEE questions continue to be brutal.

What about standardized tests? GRE uses questions that have been tested for difficulty on a sample population, and are weighted accordingly. Also, GRE can be taken multiple times, so it gives you a chance to find ('discover') your correct ('optimum'? 'best'?) level in a second or third chance, in case you feel that you messed up your first chance. In our country, BITSAT (conducted by BITS, Pilani) appears to be a standardized test. Thus, 'your station in life', as measured by these tests, is far more reliable and reproducible.

How about JEE? AIEEE? State-level CETs? Since they are offered only once a year, they fail the test of being 'available through the year'. Is any difficulty-weighting done? Not in AIEEE and CETs; as for JEE, I don't know. [Someone who knows about this may perhaps clarify this point.]

Ability to predict academic performance: Just how seriously should we take this 'ranking through a single exam'? One good way to answer it would be to check how well a student's rank predicts his/her academic performance in college. To my knowledge, there is no large scale study, tracking students' progress through their degree courses [worth a minor rant]. The only study that I know of appears to be a small one; I am sure the devil is in the details [which we don't have access to], but its broad conclusions are quite instructive:

‘There is a strong correlation between the marks of Classes X, XII and the CGPA during B Tech. The correlation factor is close to 1.’’ This means, the chances of a good student in school doing well in B Tech is almost 100 per cent.

‘There is little correlation between AIR and CGPA.’’ This means, toppers in the JEE are not at the top during their B Tech programme.

Built-in bias: If you want to do even half-way well in JEE, you need pretty intensive coaching, which is (a) quite expensive, and (b) available in large cities (or, places -- such as Kota, Rajasthan -- that are dedicated to this enterprise). Thus, it has a built-in bias against (a) poor students who cannot afford coaching, and (b) against students in rural and semi-urban areas.

Again, it's important to have data, which is locked up with IITs. How many of IITs' students come from an urban (middle and upper-middle class) background? How many of them go through coaching classes? For how many years? Only IITs can answer these questions.

Record of merit discovery across the entire population: State level CETs and AIEEE have the mandate of testing students on what is covered in their regular curriculum (AIEEE has the reputation of being 'tougher' than CETs). JEE, on the other hand, has been "getting increasingly closer to the syllabus of science graduate programmes, making aspirants more and more dependent on coaching classes" [quote from the same IE report].

The mandate of CETs and AIEEE gives them a much better chance of 'discovering' merit among groups that find themselves underrepresented in JEE: girls, OBCs, SC/ST and so on. More and more of them make it through open competition (general category) in the professional courses in state universities, while the percentage of women in IITs, for example, is still stuck in single digits.

* * *

IMO, JEE is not a good way of measuring merit because (a) its results are noisy and unreliable, (b) it requires the kind of acquaintance with advanced problems that can be acquired only through intensive coaching, and (c) it does a poor job of 'discovering' merit among huge fraction of our population.

Having said that, the alternatives are also not all that great. State-level CETs, for example, go to the other extreme by being not intellectually challenging. At the moment, AIEEE seems to occupy the middle ground; but it, too, shares with JEE the problem 'merit discovery through a single exam'. A different 'middle ground' is the norm in some states (such as Tamil Nadu) that use both CET and board exam scores are used for assessing merit.

Currently, we seem fated to live with these defective and sub-optimal choices.

* * *

I don't know about China, but Japan and South Korea (and perhaps other Asian countries, too?) seem to have the entrance-exam culture that makes their students learn complex, advanced topics before they enter college. Among the European countries, I know France uses entrance exams for its elite 'Grands Ecoles'. In the US, SAT is the exam taken by all the students, and to my knowledge, it's a standardizing exam in the mould of GRE. Moreover, SAT scores are only one of many factors considered by the US universities in their admissions process.

Which method of merit discovery should we be using (and make an effort to move towards)? Why?

27 Comments:

  1. camelpost said...

    when the Government attempted a year back to throttle BITS Pilani to do admissions by AIEEE, BITS Pilani evolved the BITSAT model for admissions. When it comes to innovations in educations in India you just cannot beat BITS Pilani.

  2. Anonymous said...

    There was a study conducted in 1970s based on the class entering IITD in 1971 which tracked their performance throughout their years based on many factors. unfortunately , I now do not remember its name , but I do know that it is present in the IITM library where I saw it a year ago,I think the name of author was some "Singh". He was a doctoral student in the Humanities department and he had access to the kind of data that the IITs collect.

  3. Raghu said...

    Nice, succinct analysis. I am sure you will get a lot of comments on this "sensitive" issue. :-)

    A couple of years back, JEE started to release scores obtained in the exam. As expected, the lower half (AIR>1000) were all bunched up together with a seperation of a few marks !! In fact, in the 2003 IT-BHU Chemical Engineering entering class ALL the students (60 of them) had the exact same score of 77/180 (I think) !!! Now, I am sure they were rank ordered (from AIR 2300-2600) based on individual subject or problem scores, but this means that if someone had just gotten the units correct for that angular velocity question, they would be studying Metallurgy at IIT Madras, or something. WTF !

    The new reforms to JEE (I think you blogged about them earlier) try to artificially reduce the noise that you talk about, I am not sure they will be as much of a success as a real standardized exam could be.

  4. आशीष गुप्ता said...

    Nice analysis here. However, examinations and tests, everywhere, cannot completely measure 'intellignence'. What GRE/GMAT have achieved is to make score little more closer to intelligence. You quote: "JEE, on the other hand, has been 'getting increasingly closer to the syllabus of science graduate programmes, making aspirants more and more dependent on coaching classes'". However, if you observe trends of JEE over last 5 years, you will find it otherway round. JEE is making exams closer to 12th class more and more to counter coaching effect. In fact, I took JEE in '99 and this year's papers look like practice problems in tough books for 12th class, hardly compared to "JEE" level. This year's change was very large. Ultimately JEE is moving in direction of GRE, but little less stupid.

  5. Unknown Indian said...

    Interesting post. But frankly, as someone who has attempted the JEE, GRE and CAT, I think the JEE is probably the best of the lot. The GRE is a joke - virtually everyone I know has a 2300 + Score in it (I had 2370) - all you need is decent math, English and be good at cramming wordlists. Which is why admissions to graduate school depend so much more on what else you have done in life - which can work in a basically honest society like the US but not in India.

    The CAT is tougher - but once again is primarily a measure of test taking skills - can you identify the easy problems and get all of them correct - though I must admit, it is probably the correct approach for entrance to a management course. (temparament is more important than knowledge or intellect in most managerial positions)

    The JEE as you mentioned (which I did not get through) requires very high IQ and specialized knowledge. But it is the only test which really separates the men from the boys. To get a really high rank in the JEE, you have to be really really good (and motivated). Whats wrong with that? Frankly, if you want to find the very best, high standards are the only way to go. It is also a lot more egalitarian than the CAT or GRE - you can't prep the CAT or GRE in a year - they test what you have learned over 20 years - and greatly favor people like me from a good school, who speak English at home, and are good at math.

    The JEE tests raw knoweledge - and helps people from small towns like Kota make it big. Kota is not the only centre for JEE teaching, I have heard of a number of other small towns where good tutors have been able to get streams of kids from lower middle class backgrounds into IITs. And at least in my days (late 80s), Bombay (due to the abysmal standards at the Maharashtra HSC Board) used to be relatively under-represented in IITs. What could be more egalitarian than that - a rich Bombay stock brokers' son (Ramdeo Agarwal's son, who was kidnapped) goes to Kota to attend a coaching class to get into IIT?

    Sorry for such a long comment

  6. Abi said...

    CamelPost: Yes, BITS has been doing some things well -- entrance exams, in particular.

    Anon: Though much has changed since the 1970s, it would still be interesting to see what that study had to say about academic performance and its link to JEE ranks. If someone can get a copy, it would be nice.

    Raghu: Thanks for that info about the noisy results in JEE. If you have more info about the 2003 batch, I would greatly appreciate it. I don't know if the practice of giving the student both a score and a rank was unique to the 2003 batch.

    AshishG: The point behind this post is how much credibility we should attach to the concept of 'merit' as discovered through one single entrance exam. Another point is to question the justification for using such an exam (alone) for admitting students. Is it fair?

    I am quite glad that JEE is moving towards GRE ("but less stupid!"). It should perform a role of a standardizing exam.

    Unknown Indian: Students in Kota may be doing better than stockbrokers' children. But, it still has a bias against students from poor families and rural areas.

    Also, while JEE is great for testing for advanced knowledge. It does allow one to discover extreme talents (say, 4 sigmas out on the high side); but get a little inside, lots of people are bunched up. Very badly! See Raghu's comment above. In my opinion, this level of noise should be unacceptable for an entrance exam. However, one could use JEE-type exams for award of scholarships -- fat ones! Particularly if the students agree to pursue higher studies in India!

  7. yogesh upadhyaya said...

    Abi:

    Thanks for your superb article.

    1)I joined IT-BHU in 1972 through IIT-JEE exam. With 52% marks in the exam,I got 979 AIR out of 50,000 IIT-JEE candidates and selected Chemical Engineering at IT-BHU over Civil/Metallurgy at IIT-Bombay. There were four papers-English/Maths/Physics/Chemistry-of 100 marks each, and the questions were long and complex.At that time there was no media hype over IITs, and IT-BHU was considered a very reputed central govt. University (except for yearly sine-die or violence). We had some students under 200 AIR in electronics branch. We called those genius as 'electrons'. IIT-JEE is a quizz-type exam with IQ of a candidate can be roughly equated to his AIR.

    2) In USA, the college admission is done based on all-round performance of a student. It includes General SAT (SAT-I) of 2400 marks, subject SAT for science, languages, etc. (SAT-II), high school performance, teachers' recommendation, extra-curricular activities, essay writing and interview-in that order.

    In India it is based on single exam such as IIT-JEE, AIEEE or CET of a state exam. This is OK and fair system for our country where we have to test a large number of students and the system is not effcient (for example, getting genuine teachers' recommendation). In the US system also, there are problems, such as people with 2400 scores are rejected by almost all colleges, since they fear that he will not join; as this will affect the acceptance ratio (students joined/offers made by colleges) and the college ranking.

    3) SAT is a highly scientific and standardized test scores exam. The questions are 1/3 easy, 1/3 moderate and 1/3 difficult, with easy questions at the beginning. Moreover, the College Board (who undertakes SAT exam) repeats questions of past few years and also puts hidden standardized dummy test questions, year after year, to compare the scores of different exams in different years. Also, a student getting 2000 score in a test will not significantly improve or decrease his score just by attending coaching classes or taking repeat tests.

    4)All Indian exams are numerically difficult. IIT-JEE was taken by 3.00 lakh students this year, while 4.5 laks took AIEEE last year. Close to 4 million students took UP state High School (12th grade) exam. The most difficult (numerically) exam is the Japan's common entrance test for Engineering. About 1.5 million hogh school students take the test primarily for Toko Institute of technology for its 1,500 seats, and few dozens unsuccessful commit suicide.

    Sorry for the long reply.

    With regards,

    Yogesh K. Upadhyaya
    IT-BHU Chemical 1977
    New Jersey, USA

  8. Dilip D'Souza said...

    Abi, as a BITS alum, I'm a little puzzled (and concerned) by one apparent fallout of the use of BITSAT: there's been a steep fall in the number of girls admitted last year (the first year BITSAT was used).

    BITS has had an ever-increasing number of girls admitted over the last 15-20 years, so much so that they have built more womens' hostels -- and even converted one of the mens' hostels to an all-woman hostel. As of last year, half of that particular hostel has reverted to men -- because of this fall in the girls admitted.

    Any thoughts on this? Why would a test like this weed out the girls?

  9. Animesh said...

    Nice analysis and a bunch of interesting comments.

    The point that strikes me about this "improper system" [as many others in India that need to be fixed, and are not like the "fair" systems used in, say, USA] is the inherent problem of devising a system that caters to the 100 crore+ people in India.

    When asked about the JEE, I always tell people that the JEE rank is not an absolute measure of intelligence, but more of how you took the exam that day [I know of a person who used to top the Apex Academy nationals in demo tests, only to get a 900+ AIR due to a fever on exam day]. However, I strongly believe that anyone who cleared the JEE does cross the threshold of intelligence/domain-knowledge needed for the curricula of the JEE schools. The people who do not make it are not stupid, just that the ones who made it are smart -- something that goes a long way in keeping our country technologically ahead.

    But what about the ones who did not make it, thanks to the one-mark-will-cost-you-300-ranks grading of the JEE?
    1. I frankly believe that there are more smart engineering-capable kids in class XII each year than what the IIT-JEE can handle, so we should make/upgrade more institutions that provide good engineering knowledge.
    2. The new JEE pattern, which aim to make the exam independant of the coaching a person receives is a nice step.
    3. Statistical analysis of the JEE data is needed, especially since it is about time we properly prepare the large number of youth of the country so as to actively help in country-building. If we do not take timely steps, we will lost out on the vast pool of talent, just because we had exams that could not measure aptitude properly.

    My 2 paise,
    Animesh Pathak
    CSEITBHU 2003 [JEE 1999]
    PhD Candidate, USC

  10. Anonymous said...

    The "motivation" needs to be measured as well. In absence of motivation, neither AIR nor the high school performance would matter. Motivation cannot be measured if the entry system is based entirely on impersonal criteria (JEE, high school performance, ...). IMHO the entry process needs to be personalized. One question remains though: Can the process maintain its objectivity?

  11. Prof S V Sankaran said...

    Yes, it is indeed true that most entrance tests including the JEE have shortcomings in measuring true merit, and need to undergo changes for the better.

    In my comment I would like to address another issue related to entrance tests -- namely, the plethora of these tests in India. JEE, AIEEE, BITS, CETs at each state, separate entrance tests conducted by "Deemed Universities", and so on. It is not uncommon now for students to take several of these tests in quick succession at various cities. Several parents (not necessarily well-to-do) literally arrange an air-travel itinerary for their son/daughter to be able to appear for a series of these tests. Actual example this year of a student taking the IIT-JEE, AIEEE, BITS, VIT (Vellore Inst of Tech), Karnataka CET, Tamil Nadu CET, Karnataka KOMED, all within a matter of ONE MONTH !!

    I think the time has come for the country to adopt a SINGLE entrance test to colleges like the SAT, which should be handled by an independent body (away from the politicians & bureaucrats). This will first minimise the enormous burden on the students AND parents, and next allow for this test to be improved to measure merit/intelligence better, with provision to appear round the year and more than once. This is probably close to a pipe dream now, but it is worth attempting. (See what BITS came up with when faced with the need!) Generations of future students will be thankful.

    This above is my humble submission and suggestion. It is much easier to perfect ONE test than try to rationalize performance in a plethora of tests.

    Hope that helps.

    (Prof)Sankaran

  12. camelpost said...

    IITs and IIMs will remain Institutions of the government by the government and for the government. One day MHRD may passa resolution stating that each MP is entitled for an IIT or IIM state as the MPs are serving the nation. On the contrary take the case of BITS Pilani. In the year 2000, BITS Pilani put up a campus at DUBAI. In the year 2004, BITS Pilani commissioned a campus at Goa. In the year 2007 BITS Pilani is spearheading a campus at Hyderabad. Name one IITor IIM which broke the governmental shell and did something like BITS Pilani could do. Every one knows the famous IIM and IIT wanting to set up a Sing apore Campus. Well the song was over long back. We are left only with the National Anthem.

  13. Abi said...

    Once again, thank you all for all these wonderful, insightful comments.

    Yogesh: Thanks for your inputs about the how SAT works. I was not aware of many of the details you provided. And yes, using a small number of (probably?) non-standardized questions in an entrance exam taken by some 300,000 people doesn't sound very scientific.

    Dilip: I too learnt, only recently, of BITS' ability to attract a good number of women to its programs (through CamelPost's comment over at Veena's blog). But what you tell me about this year sounds quite strange to me.

    Animesh: You really nailed it: for every student who made it to an IIT, there are several others, whose capabilities are roughly at the same level, but who could not make it. I would actually submit tht 'merit', as determined by an entrance exam such as JEE, gives the 'winners' a false sense of superiority.

    Anon: Yes, an exam needs to pose questions that select for success later in the academic career. Motivation is one such; consistent performance is another. How about emotional factors? Just how do we design a procedure that selects for a combination of traits? Using one-shot entrance exams seems like a lazy thing to do. It works only because there are very few high-quality (high demand) institutions sought after by a large number of good students.

    Prof. Sankaran: Yes, I too agree that we should go for a single, pan-Indian entrance exam (of the SAT kind, fully standardized -- see Yogesh's comment above). This is something I have written about earlier.

    CamelPost: You have been spreading BITS fame all over the place (the same comment on two different posts, right here in my blog!). Is your day job with BITS (as its PRO), by any chance? Just asking...

    Thanks for updating us about what BITS has been doing.

  14. pennathur said...

    Abi,

    Thanks for throwing the cat among the pigeons.

    I took the JEE twice. I hope they have destroyed my answer script. Nothing I am sure will ever embarass me more than its publication. It is designed to turn your brains to mush.

    Abi, what's glaringly missing here is your experience with IITians as colleagues, fellow grad students, and advisees. Why?

    An unhealthy consequence of the JEE ranking is that it does nothing to select for interest in engineering (or science) or specific engineering disciplines. Why shd an AIR 1-50 get into IITK CS and an AIR 1000 merit IIT-KGP Civil Engg. Isn't it idiotic to draw a pecking order among disciplines? Supply-demand of course influences choices and branch placements (at BITS too right?) and in the US as well though not as sharply as it does in India.

    Some interesting cases.

    1. A student several years my senior JEE top 50, created a sensation when he chose to do Physics when he could have had IITK-CS or IITM-Mech and is reputed to gone on to make a name for himself.

    2. In a more recent case the lower middle class parents (school teacher mother and encyclopedia sales father; and 1st generation out the village into the city) of a bright student were dismayed by the advice they received regarding metallurgy at IITM from a former professor. "Ask your son to take up CS some place else. IITM shd shut down civil, aero, met. and chem, and simple offer CS, EE and Mech."

    Another way to evaluate the 'merit' evaluation of the JEE is to track the rankers' performance at standardised tests further down the line. How well do they do at GRE, GMAT and subject GREs? Some of the nerdier companies such as Google require candidates to take up tests that are at least as tough as the JEE right? And as far as industry is concerned (Microsoft included) it believes that the JEE product is among the best it can hire. The CAT too is highly regarded in the US. One popular financial services firm in the US requires all candidates to take an entrance test among otehr things. And the CAT is what many use to prepare themselves fo the test.

  15. Ashutosh said...

    Nice post. I think the Indian system has always suffered from depending upon a single method of evaluation for judging the merit of students, and hence virtually neglects students with diverse skill sets. We really need an overhaul of admission procedures that would stop depending on one single criterion for grading students' ability; even the JEE or CAT for example. Of course, the CAT also come with an interview which tests other skills, but this multiple skills testing should actually be done for many other exams. Otherwise you get what we have: skewed admission procedures, graduates who are 'well-trained' rather than well-educated, and a surplus of students who are frustrated and depressed because they have been deemed unworthy by society, in spite of their skills, simply because they could not live up to some preordained standard.

  16. Anonymous said...

    These exams should be fair to people who get in (make sure right kind of people get in) and you covered it well. But they should also be fair to people left out. And thats where these exams fail miserably. Infact they are not even in ball park of fairness. I am not even sure a fair method can be devised when you are trying to pick one out of a million. It becomes a lottery (though deserving) to guy who got in and injustice to guy left out. They only way is to expand the pool and opportunities. And continue that thoughout life. It should not be so hard to get to study something. It should be hard to get to prove you have studied something ie entrance is easy - exit (ie getting the degree) is hard - like american colleges.

    Personally I'd like to give a seat in professional colleges to anyone who gets over 60 % in +2 or equivalent in however many attempts. And make sure the degree is given to only those who deserve. I'll fund it though student loans (use our 100 Billion + reserves) for this purpose. I'll keep the arts and science stream pure to people who have proven their capabilities - inverse of what we have now. ie BA english litt is hard to get it and will require a published story etc. BSc physics will need real probability in being a scientist. BE is for anyone who gets 60%. That way we will have mose of our population financially productive (thats what most people want anyway) and keep cultural / scientific productivity to people who can really do it.

    India's strength is our numbers. Why do we want to diminish it by making right to education so elite. We don't need reservations. We need right to education. Getting Educated in BE should not make you elite. Getting the MBT in time should. Getting a nobel prize should. We should make education common and eliteness uncommon.

    Vijay K Nadendla PhD
    Non IIT / Non BE by choice
    Software Engineer - no choice

  17. Anonymous said...

    MBT = Main Battle tank that our engineers couldn't build yet after decades of work. Crucial to our security.

  18. Anonymous said...

    Don’t try to over discover merit. If one mark is causing you to lose the seat and there is a 15 % statistical and systematic error in exam then obviously there is a problem. Does anyone know whats the error in the exam? Did anyone even make an attempt to study? How can one define systematic errors in an entrace exam if one doesn't even know what is one measuring? IQ? Knowledge of subject? Probability of success?

  19. DHI DEVIL said...

    well its funny none of you speak about another major test GATE in this contest. . Talking about standardising . . the general opinion i see is that the tests tend to become easier. . I guess when a person takes any technical exam (JEE GATE ) he should be tested in his field of interest . . What do i mean just tell me whats the relevance of asking a future CS student in an IIT about physics or chemistry or maths. . IS he going to use it, the answer is no. .He is going to use logic and programming codes. . But then if this method is opted all of you would come up in arms because here in india the trend ok i dont get EC i ll take CS , i dont take CS i ll take mechanical . . If you still want to be on the lines of keeping all your options open then struggle with this system and dont complain about it . .

  20. Anonymous said...

    How do we want to build our country? What roles do various professions play in them? How many engineers do we need? How many scientists? How many artists?

    The country in my view should be primarily composed of professionals - engineers, doctors, business men and the like who while not making significant (compared to a scientist or an artist) intellectual contribution make very important and significant material contribution. (keeping in mind all generalizations are false including this one). I'd like to get most of our next generation into this group. This will make our country rich and provide opportunity for people who will take less money for more intellectual work.

    I'd like a small group of dedicated / capable scientists who take science forward and provide basis for future professionals. I'd like a still smaller group of really capable artists (in broadest sense of word) who will take our culture forward. A scientist / artist is not necessarily a better person or more capable person. These are rather the choices real people make in real life situations.

    I don't like entry to any group restricted to stratosphere few. Rather the exit from college should be. 100 IITs & 10000 BEs will work if you can keep the quality of education and award degrees only to people who qualify. The argument that the quality of education is maintained NOT by teaching standards but buy making the entrance very elitist is silly. The product is elitist today NOT by capability but by restriction, by creation of scarcity. And people are finding very political ways to break into that elitist group (Money, reservations, nepotism). I want to make the professional education more universal. That may upset the elite group of very capable people who suddenly find that they are not special any more. The professional degrees are not charismatic any more. I'll call them the new bramhins. My answer is simple....there is always room at the top. You can get a hair cut for 5 $ and for $5000 $. There are even elite jobs in hair cutting. If you are real good people will pay top $ for you irrespective of presence of 10 Million other engineers.

  21. Anonymous said...

    Dear 'camelpost' alias 'Paratha Sarathy' (partha_sarathy31@rediffmail.com)

    You have been posting repetitively all over the blogosphere, going on and on and on and on about the virtues of BITS Pilani of which you are an alumnus.

    You seem to have taken the ranking game (played by the media to sell more magazines) seriously, and you are upset that BITS is not coming on top of the rankings.

    To vent your anger, you go around bad-mouthing IITs, NITs and all other colleges that are ranked above BITS (before you start abusing us, we would like to say that we are ourselves BITS alumni).

    BITS and BITSians have great respect for IITs and NITs, and in spite of all the rivalry, we greatly admire and IITs and IITians. Your view is not shared by most BITSians, and we are shocked by your arrogance and lack of humility.

    Please STOP posting your useless comments and go and see a psycho-therapist.

  22. camelpost said...

    My dear anonymous, show me one place where I have bad mouthed IITs or NITs. All that I drove was the arbit acts of AICTE and how it was affecting deemed universities. If in that process the good things about BITS had emerged, it only amounted to conclude that it is possible for a deemed university to achieve excellence despite the watch dog rather the barking dog aicte. People like you who are proud alumns from bITS Pilani are better ambassadors for BITS Pilani.
    Even in the case of Dataquest or India Today, I only questioned the credibility of the survey parameters rather than who was listed 123. When all IITs have admission by JEE how on earth India Today survey is giving different values for admission criteria to different IITS? No phenomenon is a phenomenon unless it is an observed phenomenon. In its long existence for several decades, BITS Pilani has been observed by enough pundits nationally as well as internationally and concluded as a GREAT phenomenon. If Dataquest and Coffee table magazines like India Today do not have the correct vision, they are most welcome to contact the Optometrists outputted by BITS Pilani. If after reading this comment of mine, your heart aches, please visit Madras Medical Mission Chennai with whom BITS Pilani has a collaboartion for Physician Assistant degree program. You can see that in this comment also good things about BITS has emerged and nothing to feel about it. Just relax. If I need any therapy, do not worry, I will not ask for your advise for sure.

  23. himanshu chauhan bits said...

    i think there is a great conflict going on between two bits alumuni...that may be due to the perception of looking at that relevant matter of our concern...and our matter of concern is the increasing number of caching centres fot iit jee ...and here i am agree with camelpost that due to the complex pattern of iit screening exam students are put under a lot of pressure that most of the times results in poor performance in the exam...so if iit makes it somewhat closer to the 12th standard... students will show better performance....
    sorry for the long comment

  24. Anonymous said...

    @ DHI DEVIL.
    Am a bit confused... A CS student needs to know only programming and no math! Wow, and I thought probability was the essence of loads of CS guys (and I am not indicating the software segments here)

  25. Anonymous said...

    I attended IT-BHU from 1979-1984.

    At School, I used to consider myself a smart guy who can intutively solve technical issues. I am good at computers, DIY, Electronics etc

    At school, I used to get about 65% marks. I was not hardworking and could not concentrate on a topic for long. But I could always ideate and come up with many different views to tackling technical issues.

    That lead to bad 10th standard marks and a medicocre college like KHALSA ( Bombay)

    I answered the JEE once when I was in the 11th and failed miserably. Then I answered it again in the 12th standard. I was so depressed that I did not even bother to check the results.

    Then one morning, a girl from our neighbourhood rings up my mom and says "Wow auntie, your son has passed the JEE !!!". Her tone of voice suggested that her next sentence would have been "Could I please marry him".

    My Mom packed me on to the long bus ride to Powai so that I could check for myself and I too could not believe my eyes.

    I started to feel that the JEE was a great test that tests pure genius and does not take into account laziness or lack of long attention spans.

    When I entered IT-BHU and saw the faces of the other guys who also passed the JEE, I knew just how wrong I was. They could not speak English, did not know in which hand the fork goes, they used to pee in the wash basins, had no hobbies, did not know who the "Eagles" were.

    At IT-BHU, I did miserably. I used to miss my family and just could not concentrate. My average grade used to be 3.5-4 out of 10. I was more interested in playing the Guitar, Electronic kits and flying Aeroplanes in the Flying Club.

    All of a sudden, I had an awakening in the 4th year. My dad used to say in those days "Do what you want, but leave BHU as a first class engineer. Nobody sees your actual marks and they only see whats written on your Certificate"

    I threw out all my electronic kits, stopped flying planes and started studying real hard. I got a grade of 8.5 in the 4th year and 9.5 in the final year. Due to the weighted average system, my total course average came out to be 7.02 !!

    I was the last guy to be declared a First Class Engineer that year.


    Much later in life, I did the GRE, GMAT and TOEFL exams and got over 99 percentile in all of them. I became the first MENSA member in the country that I migrated to.

    Maybe that JEE exam did detect something in me. Or, most probably, IT-BHU put something into me.

    Funnily enough, IT taught me how to look for innovative solutions. And it gave me the confidence to start handling new situations that I or the others had never seen.

    I never did a single day of work as a Chemical Engineer. I was into IT for 15 years and then started my own IT Consultancy firm and later went into trading foodstuff.

    Thank you IT-BHU, you changed my life forever !!!

    My message to you young guys : Do what it takes and get into an IIT. Things will never be the same.

    But if you dont get through, dont dispair!!. There are other ways to climb the hill !!. Genius and hard work will always be recognised and will always generate just rewards.


    Student Number 790253

  26. areema said...

    i would like to ask this question because i am interested in your views. my question is do you think using solely grades are a good way of measuring ability of students, do you think it has defeated the real purpose of education? lets talk about the job market in regard to this & what role they play. also the question that arises is what then is the real purpose of education? please send me your views/opinions/facts at the email add: areema.jethmalani@gmail.com

  27. SEO said...

    Hello sir thanks for post i like to read i do not about more this detail so sorry no word to say here just hi to all
    ------
    Girish
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    SEO--SEO