Single Common test. A boon or a bane ?

The last CET for admissions to B schools in Maharashtra was held on 12th March. From next year, only Common Management Admissions Test (CMAT) scores will be considered for admissions to B schools in Maharashtra. In fact a single entrance test  for all management schools is now being considered by AICTE. A single test might also replace existing engineering entrance exams like AIEEE, JEE, state level CETs, etc in the not so distant future. With the pattern moving towards consolidation and de-fragmentation of entrance tests, let us understand the pros & cons of the same.

Pros

1. Uniform assessment of all students & institutes.

A single test can assess & differentiate between the capabilities, aptitudes of students more accurately. Currently a candidate doing very well in say a state level CET may not always clear CAT/XAT with flying colours and vice versa. A single test might perhaps help to understand who is Good, Bad or Ugly to a more reasonable level. Similar case is with institutes. Ranking of different colleges accepting different exam scores, needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. But acceptance of scores of 1 single test will help to understand the preferences of students towards institutes better. In that way we could then arrive at a more realistic ranking of schools across India.

2. No hectic schedule

I still remember the days when I appeared for around 4-5 exams in 3 months. Each exam has its own pattern and sections. Adequate preparation for each unique exam in a short time, coupled with daily schedule of college or work,  is a tough ask. With lesser number of exams to appear for, students can have more time to concentrate for THAT 1 EXAM.

3. Smoother admission process

With reduction in number of exam scores to consider, the element of subjectivity during admission & shortlisting processes of various colleges might reduce. This will also enhance transparency, one issue sighted by quite a few. This will inturn benefit the students. Also, the merit lists of various colleges would get displayed at around same time. Choosing of colleges, again a task in the current fragmented system would be a lot easier. Currently one needs to take up admission in second rung colleges before their deadline &/or merit list of other colleges are out. Cancellation is then cumbersome apart from paying cancellation fees. All this might change for the better.

Cons

1. Management headache.

Ironically management of large scale exams for admissions to management schools is a cumbersome task in India. Increase in number of students/exam , frequent load shedding, internet connectivity problems in our country will definitely not help the authorities managing such integrated large scale exams.

2. No ‘second chance’

We are all human beings bound to make mistakes. There are off days for all of us. If a student is unable to perform as well as he can in one exam, for whatever reason, then with the number of exams reducing, the options available with him or her will get reduced. In other words, his chances to ” bounce back” and still make it to a good institute by performing well in some other tests will be reduced. He might be then required to give a second shot next year…

When it comes to entrance tests, what we need is a good balance. Too much state/institute level fragmentation of exams is not desirable but there are not many votes for 1 All India test either. 2-3 major tests covering around 500+ colleges each might provide sufficient chances for students to get an admission into a good college of his or her own choice.

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