Entrance Exams in COVID 19: Change in Examination System

The pandemic resulted in an unprecedented nationwide lockdown in 2020. The effect of the pandemic has been felt across all aspects of the economy. The government has responded to this crisis by issuing several guidelines, including social distancing. The pandemic forced the education system to shift to online learning that significantly affected the student-teacher dynamic and the examination system. It is now impossible for colleges to conduct entrance exams as they used to take the pre-pandemic period.   

Every year, millions of students appear for entrance exams for admission to engineering and medical colleges. Students after their graduation sit for national-level competitive exams such as IIT-JEENEET, and others. But the outbreak of COVID 19 has disrupted the examination scenario. The authorities are trying to figure out ways and means to conduct entrance exams in COVID 19 pandemic. However, it has divided the student community among India, with most of them demanding the postponement of exams concerning the health risk of the pandemic. 

COVID 19 Impact on India’s Education System 

The effect of COVID 19 has significantly disrupted the education sector across the world. In India, the impact can be felt on a large scaleAs per UNESCO, over 32 crores of students are affected as of 18 May 2020. Of these students, over 40% are those studying in Classes 9 to 12, who face board examinations, and entrance examinations for higher studies. This effect is bigger because entrance exams for higher education are usually held during this time. 

To navigate the pandemic impact on education, MHRD declared that Class 1 to Class 8 will be promoted to the higher classes. Conversely, Class 9 and 11 students would be promoted based on internal assessments. It also announced that if any students have failed in the school examinations, they can appear for re-exams online, offline, or any innovative test. 

How has COVID 19 Changed Entrance Exams Scenario? 

The onset of the pandemic witnessed most colleges and universities shut down their campuses to avoid all in-person contact. Many higher education institutions even canceled their upcoming exams. Competitive exams play a crucial role in defining a student’s career. However, without a clear understanding of the nature of the pandemicexams in COVID were not safe. 

When the pandemic hit education across the board, its biggest impact was felt by students sitting for entrance or board exams in 2020. Entrance exams, like JEE(Main) for engineeringNEET for medical, and many others were suspended 

Delay of JEE and NEET exams 

The second round of JEE Main 2020, originally scheduled for April 2020, was conducted in September after the interference of the Supreme Court. Similarly, the NEET exam was held in September after postponements, with states taking measures to facilitate the exam process. 

The decline in JEE Main and NEET aspirants

JEE is the most popular entrance exam for engineering in India. According to data from the education ministry, released last September, nearly 114,563 students decided not to appear for JEE Main in the first three days, indicating COVID 19 fears among aspirants. The data showed that 458,521 students registered for the JEE Main in the first three days, 343,958 of which appeared for the exam, a decline of nearly 25%. 

On the other hand, 85% – 90% of 15.97 lakh NEET aspirants appeared for the exam in 2021. NEET PG is being held for 19,953 Doctor of Medicine (MD), 10,821 Master of Surgery (MS), and 1,979 PG Diploma seats at 6,102 institutions. NEET MDS is organized for admission to 6,501 seats – 50% all India quota (AIQ) and 50% state quota – in participating institutions. 

Changing Scenario of Competitive Exams in Post-COVID era 

Apart from schools, colleges, and universities, coaching institutes in India also play a pivotal role. They contribute significant revenue to the education sector. The coaching industry constitutes prepares students for various national level entrance exams, such as JEE, NEET, Olympiads, etc. The COVID 19 has severely affected coaching institutes that are dependent heavily on offline classrooms. 

In today’s era of technology and digitization, there is an urgent need to embrace change. Academic institutions require to adapt to the changing business dynamics in the online world. To continue their learning, students must prepare for competitive exams by enrolling themselves in online classes.  

Shift to Online Learning 

The COVID 19 pandemic accelerated the shift to online classes for competitive exams. Last year, the Department of Technical Education introduced a proposal for competitive exams like CET and NEET to be conducted online through KEONICS. It was approved by the Higher Education Department. It means the second-year pre-university students preparing for such examinations for the 2020-21 academic year can study online through KEONICS. 

Education technology has brought a significant revolution in learning and knowledge retention. Have a look at how online learning can help students excel in entrance exams.  

  • Flexibility: Students preparing for entrance exams online can schedule their time for learning anytime, anywhere. They do not need to pursue an ascribed timetable that cannot meet up their needs. E-learning could provide them with room for learning without letting go of other essential tasks.
  • Independent learning: E-learning enables students to learn independently and at their own pace. It also makes them responsible for their own studies and provides them with digital tools to solve their queries. 
  • Topics conceptualization: Through online learning, students can get material access regarding specific topics or chapters. It will enable them to think strategically before formulating the final concept regarding a particular subject.
  • Proper guidance: Guidance from teachers and professors is essential to step ahead in the academic career. It becomes difficult in in-person classrooms as teachers have to deliver the whole lecture in a very short period. They are being asked lots of questions from a crowded class. It becomes unmanageable for them to cater to all the questions effectively. E-learning is far away from these concerns, trying to offer proper guidance to every student. 
Competitive Exams for School Students 

Every student must sit for competitive exams as these exams improve intellectual and logical skills and reasoning abilities. Today, competitive exams stand at the core of the Indian education system.

We have listed here the most important competitive exams for school students. 

  • National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) 
  • National Level Science Talent Search Exam (NLSTSE) 
  • Indian National Olympiad (INO) 
  • Science Olympiad Foundation(SOF) 
  • GeoGenius (GGI)
  • Silver Zone Olympiads(SO )
  • National Interactive Maths Olympiad (NIMO) 
  • National Biotechnology Olympiad (NBO) 
  • Assessment of Scholastic Skills Through Educational Testing (ASSET) 
  • International Olympiad of English Language (IOEL) 
  • SmartKid General Knowledge Olympiad (SKGKO) 
  • International Social Studies Olympiad (ISSO) 
  • International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) 
  • Unified Cyber Olympiad (UCO) 
  • Maths Talent Search Exam (MTSE) 
  • National Standard Exam in Junior Science (NSEJS)

Final Thoughts 

Learning in today’s scenario requires a student to keep up with the emerging socio-economic and technological trends. While COVID 19 has disrupted the education system and changed the way we look at entrance exams, there are numerous ways students can continue their education. 

Online courses have seen a boost in recent times. Turito offers online coaching for various national as well as international competitive exams such as NEETJEEIt even provides tuitions for students from Classes 6 to 8.