IITs secret for selection

MUMBAI: The mystery surrounding the selection process that the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) follow has been revealed for the batch of 2008. The 3.2 lakh students who will take the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) on Sunday can now have a fair idea of how their scores will be evaluated, something which has always been an IIT ‘trade secret’.

IIT-Roorkee, which is holding this year’s exam, and IIT-Bombay, which held the JEE last year, have told TOI how the ranks are given.

Clearly, a couple of marks here and there won’t get you past the IIT gates, but if you are among the students scoring in the top 80% of all three subjects-mathematics, physics or chemistry-you are in line for a JEE rank and have taken the first step towards admission.

The procedure to be followed will first eliminate the worst 20% of the candidates in each subject. With every wrong answer attracting negative marks, the lowest scores can be even below zero in the JEE.

After these students are eliminated, the IITs are left with three sets of students-the top performers in each of the three subjects. “Once we have the sets of the top performers in maths, physics and chemistry, we take those who have done the best in all three subjects and eliminate the others. This, however, is only Stage One,” said N Venkataramani, JEE chairman at IIT-Bombay.

This process was followed last year by IIT-Bombay and IIT-Roorkee has said it will stick to the same procedure for Sunday’s exam. All these students receive a rank from the IIT. For instance, last year around 1.42 lakh students were shortlisted in the first stage.

In the second stage, the aggregate marks of the students in all three subjects are considered and approximately 6,000 students-the actual number will be based on the seats available-will be selected for getting into the IITs.

For over a decade, the IITs used a statistical method to draw up the merit list. Scores in each subject were plotted on a graph and the curve looked like a bell, with average scores in the centre and exceptionally good and very low scores at the right and left ends respectively.

The IITs would then pick all the students on the extreme right of the bell and, depending on the seats available, decide a total cut-off mark after shortlisting the top 84% of the students in each subject. This process was discontinued from last year. The IITs, say sources, plan to review their short-listing process next year too.


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