New Delhi: Thousands of students aspiring for a seat in the Indian
Institutes of Technology may have wasted precious time chasing 14 marks in
this year's IIT-JEE exam, where the multiple-choice answers to four
questions were either incorrect or confusing.
The errors came to light once the answer-keys — the correct answers to
all the questions — were published on the IIT-JEE website early this
month after all the Optical Response Sheets had been evaluated.
Over five lakh candidates appeared in the IIT-Joint Entrance Examination
on April 8 this year to qualify for nearly 10,000 seats in the 15 IITs, IT
BHU and the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad. The results will be declared
on May 18.
According to the answer-keys, all four options to a chemistry question
(No. 23 that carried three marks) and a math question (No. 60 that carried
four marks) were incorrect.
The options for the other two questions that carried seven marks, both in
physics (No. 6 and 15), included more than one correct answer.
In the case of the first two — the questions in chemistry and
mathematics — JEE authorities have decided to award no marks to students
whether or not they attempted them.
This means students who tried to tackle these two questions spent time and
effort only to be marked zero.
As for the physics questions, many students would have skipped marking
what they felt was the correct answer to avoid negative marking after
racking their brains.
IIT-JEE vice-chairman Rajesh Khanna said that certain questions were found
to be erroneous and all candidates who attempted them had been awarded
Anybody who has blackened one of the correct answers to the other
questions would be awarded marks, he added.
The JEE authorities are clueless about how the errors in the questions,
set by eminent professors for the most competitive engineering entrance
exam in India, crept in. "I cannot say how the erroneous questions found
place in the question papers. I do not know who prepared the questions,"
An IIT Delhi professor, who did not want to be named, said students who
attempted the questions with the wrong answers were being "penalised" for
the mistakes of those who had set the question papers. "In the case of the
questions having more than one correct answer, a serious student after
thorough calculation would have skipped the questions lest he or she
should attract negative marking," the professor added.
IIT Delhi conducted the test this year.
"It is unfortunate that IITs commit mistakes in setting question papers.
Such mistakes have no excuse. Action should be taken against persons
responsible for such oversight," a parent said.
This is not the first time that the premier tech schools have committed
mistakes in setting JEE papers.
In 2006, the JEE papers had carried erroneous questions worth 23 marks. In
2008, wrong questions carried 18 marks. The 2010 exam saw printing
mistakes and ambiguous instructions, while last year erroneous questions
carried 30 marks, sources said.
- The Telegraph, Calcutta