The announcement on the final dates of JEE Main and NEET, besides board exam results, is only half the battle won by students. Fears of further delay, retaining focus during this long time for preparation, and deciding on college admissions digitally is taking a toll on students. The challenges are tougher for those who are facing a financial crunch at home, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As students become more anxious by the day, teachers have donned the hat of counsellors. Brainly, a doubt clearing platform has seen an increase in the number of questions by as many as 50 per cent as compared to that of the last year.
Vanu Sud Dhindsa from Vedantu believes that queries from students are more about emotional well-being than academics. “Since the extended delay, students are falling into an unending loop of studying, then wondering about the future and then returning to studies. With exam centres being shifted and a majority of students at home now, their concern is more about the delay affecting an entire year than health”.
“How much more will I have to wait, will there be a further delay?” is among the most frequently asked questions by students, as per Sud. She added that college admissions being held virtually has made the difficult choice of selecting a college even tougher for students.“The situation is worse for those who have faced an economic crisis amid all of this. These students are rethinking their choices, opting for a college near their homes, looking at courses which are less expensive. These are teenagers and most of them have been introduced to a financial crunch for the first time and end up feeling responsible for their choices. Many are not even discussing the issue with their parents,” informed Sud.
Students who have gone back home or those in a geographically disadvantaged situation are facing the brunt as connectivity remains a key challenge.
Saurabh Kumar, Director Academics, Vidyamandir Classes believes the delay will create a more competitive environment for students. “Since the marking in the competitive exams is relative, the cut-offs are expected to go higher. With limitations on foreign admissions too, the number of applications for colleges will go higher. We can see a rise in not just core courses and colleges but also for allied fields this year.” He also informed that students who appeared for the January attempt at JEE Main and secured 92+ scores are preparing for JEE Advanced rather than JEE Main.
He added, “Students are also worried about getting lesser time for their college education. For now, most are demanding more mock test papers and we are preparing around 30 such on a daily basis.”
He too believes that with admissions, exams and preparations all going digital, it is the lesser privileged sections who are losing out on opportunities. FIITJEE thus is also providing distance mode learning to students. Under its Fortunate 40 programme, the coaching institute is offering free for hostel facilities for 40 students in each of its 82 centres. The institute is offering study material to students at home along with downloadable versions of online classes which can be accessed and downloaded from any device including a less sophisticated phone.
Trikha suggests, “If students follow the mantra of ‘learn, practice, test, and feedback’ (rectify mistakes), you will surely succeed.” He believes students can raise their rank by at least 10 to 100 positions depending on their practice.
Many students feel shy asking questions in front of the entire batch and reaching out to a teacher on an individual basis has become tougher than usual due to the lockdown, believes Rajesh Bysani, chief product officer at Brainly. This has given rise to more questions being asked among peer groups and communities.
Academically, STEM subjects are the most commonly asked topics in academics. Among STEM courses, students are finding mathematics to be among the toughest; questions about the application of a concept are among the most asked questions on the platform. Geographically, most questions are being asked from Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad, Lucknow, and Patna. Among languages, English is the most preferred mode followed by Hindi, Marathi and Malayalam and Gujarati, as informed by the doubt clearing platform.