MAH-CET: Students fume over slow servers, poor software

Candidates of Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (MAH-CET) complained that they lost time due to slow servers; others pointed out the poor user interface of test software, as well as typos and grammatical errors

Over 60,000 students appeared for the Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (MAH-CET), to compete for seats to B-schools in the state over the weekend. The online test received mixed reactions from the candidates.

Some students were confused by the ambiguous nature of questions in the logic section. File pic for representation
Some students were confused by the ambiguous nature of questions in the logic section. File pic for representation

For starters, many students complained about their exams getting delayed due to technical problems, while some highlighted typographical errors. An examination centre in Wardha faced a major problem due to which the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) had to reschedule their examination.

“My centre was in Chandivli and I still can’t believe how ill-prepared the centre officials were. They didn’t have enough computers and almost 80 of us were made to wait till 2.30 pm, while our test started at 2 pm.

Then everything was hurried and no seating arrangement was followed, and neither were our admit cards checked,” said one of the candidates. While students agreed that the paper was easy, the fact that some of the questions were not displayed correctly while others had repetitive options for answers, did pose a problem to many.

Question mark
Most centres witnessed hiccups with the Internet server, which led to many problems. At some venues, students who could not start the test on time due to the slow Internet connection were left in the lurch, as even the centre in-charge was not very helpful.

“My paper was at 10 am on Sunday and the minute I was allowed to start attempting my paper, I complained to the in-charge that the Internet was slow and I ended up taking too much time to read every question.

I was assured I would get extra time but the official forgot about the same and I could not attempt the full paper,” said a candidate who took his test at a Churchgate college. Test takers also said the user interface of the online test left a lot to be desired.

“The user interface was extremely pathetic; an amateur coder could design a better interface. Some questions were displayed so big that you had to scroll, and due to the slow server, we wasted a lot of time. In some numerical questions only half of the digit could be seen, so we could not differentiate between 3 and 5,” complained another hopeful.

There were also complaints that many questions were grammatically incorrect and commas and full stops were missing from sentences. Candidates were also taken aback that a change in the exam paper pattern was not informed to them in advance. Till last year, multiple-choice questions had five options.

This year, however, there were only four. Students were left scratching their heads at the quality of questions asked under the logic section of the test. Questions like “Choose odd man out between (a)Apple (b)Pear (c)Orange and (d)Litchi” could have multiple interpretations, leading to confusion about the correct answers. (see box).

Students took to various social networking sites to discuss the manner in which the MAH-CET was conducted by the DTE. Some also started an online petition demanding a re-exam, which nearly 100 students had signed at the time of going to print.

MAH-CET was a two-hour test with 200 questions, and students are not penalised with negative marks for answering any question incorrectly. Candidates compete to gain entry to top management institutes like JBIMS, Sydenham, K J Somaiya Institute, and others. This is the second year of the online test.

Official speak
mid-day contacted DTE authorities, who said they hadn’t received any complaints. “Though there was a delay at some centres due to the server, there was no printing error or other problems as students claim. We don’t see any point of re-examination,” said Suresh Yawalkar, deputy director, DTE. He added that examinations were conducted peacefully across the state.

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