After numerous technical issues held back the Gujarat Common Entrance Test (GCET) last week, the re-exam was conducted smoothly on Sunday. There were problems reported in 23 of the 25 centres across the state on Thursday and Friday and for all the exam slots. Not only were there mechanical problems but in some cases, the same question paper was provided on both the days. In some cases students were confined to their centres for as many as 8-10 hours in the hope that the technical problems would iron out during the course of the day. Some centres even reported loss of electricity due to the rains in the state.
Keeping all the issues in mind, the Vice-chancellor of Gujarat Technological University (GTU) A K Aggrawal had ordered for a re-exam on Sunday, which went off effortlessly.
GCET is Gujarat’s annual common entrance exam for MBA and MCA studies. This year GCET is being held in two phases – June 14-16, and June 18-20 and a student is allowed two attempts at GCET. There are about 132 MBA colleges in the state with over 13,000 seats.
While officials at GTU were reluctant to speak to us, we learnt that the top brass of GTU was engrossed in several meetings all of Saturday and that possibly led to the exams being conducted efficiently on Sunday.
The Office Superintendent of the L.J .College of Commerce, Ahmedabad which was one of the centres for the exam, told PaGaLGuY that in his college, there were server problems on Thursday. “The paper took a long time to appear on the screen and that led to a considerable delay in getting the exams underway. It is good that a re-exam was scheduled.”
We spoke to a couple of students who faced problems on Thursday and Friday and were a relieved lot on Sunday. Sanga Bhargav from Gandhinagar said that he and his friends were slotted to take the exam at 9.00am. “But we were made to wait for nearly 2 hours for the exam to start. And after the exam started, some images would just not load on the screen.” Sanga added that with some of the students at his centre, the passwords also refused to work.
The GCET applicant further said that there was a change in the exam schedule in the last minute which was also not informed to the students. The exam was supposed to last for 80 minutes, with 64 minutes for Quant, Verbal Skills, Analytical Reasoning, and 16 minutes for General Awareness (GA). “What happened was that the full 80 minutes were devoted to Quant etc. and an additional 16 minutes for GA.”
Salman Pathan from Anand (Vallabh Vidyanagar) who took GCET on Sunday said that on Thursday he had to wait till 6.30 pm for the paper to start when he was allotted the 5.00 pm slot. “I reached there at 4.00pm so the wait was too long. But my friends who were slotted for the 1.00pm paper that day were asked to report at 12 noon and sit idly at their desks the whole day. At 7.30 pm, they were provided with a bottle of water and a biscuit packet and even then refused admission to leave the centre, “said Salman.
Pratik Soni from Baroda had a similar story. He was on the 9.00am slot but had to wait till 5.00pm since his screen refused to work. “‘Please try again’ was the only message popping on the screen the whole day,” said Pratik. Finally the entire batch was asked to go home at 5.00pm.
While Salman and Pratik got a second chance at GCET, there were some like Fagun Saraiya from Baroda who lost even his first attempt. “The server crashed mid-way through the test. When the system resumed, it was 30 minutes to go but the screen showed only 11 minutes. And most of my responses were also erased by then.” Fagun told PaGaLGuY that he pleaded with the examiner for a re-exam but since he was half way through the exam when the problems started, he was not allowed one. Fagun will take his second attempt at the paper this week.
Mr Vipul Tyagi,Director, Endeavour Coaching classes, Baroda said that there were more glitches reported from other places, like candidates sitting in the same row in a centre, getting exactly same scores (unlike other tests, in GCET, candidates get to see their scores immediately after the exams). “I have also been told of rampant copying in some centres and poor invigilation,” added Mr Tyagi.
On Sunday however,when the exam progressed smoothly, most GCET applicants forgot about the the harrowing experiences of the last week. Not the unlucky ones though – the ones who experienced problems half way and were denied a re-exam.