Another title for this post: Some more on why JEE sucks.
In his previous report, we found that the subject-wise cut-offs in JEE-2007 were as low as 1, 4 and 7 in math, physics and chemistry, respectively -- these were the marks scored by someone at the 20th percentile of the JEE takers in each exam. At that time, several commenters pointed out that meeting the cut-offs doesn't ensure that you will get a rank. At that time, I too wondered why the IITs chose such low cut-offs; if they are into selecting top students, the cut-offs should perhaps be at the 80th percentile, no?
With further revelations about the inner workings of JEE, it became clear that the IITs followed a two-stage process, with the first stage (based on the subject-wise cut-offs) short listed candidates, followed by the second stage which rank ordered them according to their total marks (I sitll don't know if this total is a simple sum or a weighted sum of the three marks).
But we still didn't have the answer to the key question: is it possible for someone with low marks in one of the subjects to still get a JEE rank (because of a stellar performance in one or both of the other subjects)? Thanks to Mitta's latest report, we now know the answer: yes, it is possible. Here's an example cited by Mitta:
Consider the case of the candidate who scored just 12 [or, 7 percent] in mathematics, a subject crucial to all engineering branches, and yet managed to get rank 3,989 on the strength of his aggregate of 239 marks.
Another candidate who got merely 12 more in mathematics and 6 more in the aggregate, however, jumped 590 rungs higher in the AIR list: his rank 3,399 was, according to the latest counselling browser published by IITs, good enough to secure admission in 2007 in IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Kharagpur.
Mitta opens his article with an understandably scathing remark:
... [I]f you score 7% in your Class XII mathematics paper, you fail. But if you score 7% in your IIT-JEE mathematics paper, you can still make it. That's exactly what happened in the 2007 entrance exam
Thanks to RTI, we now know more about the real state of JEE and its ranking procedure: they are a mess. Yogesh had a perceptive comment about it sometime ago:
IIT-JEE is supposed to test the logic of students, not that of examiners.