WBJEE to be an 8.5hr ordeal on May 17, a weekday

KOLKATA: The West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination 2016 for engineering and medical will be held on May 17, for the first time a weekday, to ensure that the crucial tests do not clash with the impending Assembly elections expected anytime between April 1 and May 15. For the 45,000-odd students who appear for both streams, it will be an eight-and-half-hour nightmare.

The announcement was made by WBJEE board chairman Sajal Dasgupta on Monday.

The practice till now was to hold the biological science test on a Saturday and physics, chemistry and mathematics tests on Sunday. Dasgupta claimed the board couldn’t slot the exams over a weekend in May as all slots had already been booked for other competitive examinations like CLAT, JEE (Advance) and AIPMT.

“Nearly 300 educational institutions need to be engaged to conduct WBJEE 2016 throughout the state. So many centres may not be available due to the Assembly polls that could be held anytime between April 1 and May 15. These centres will then be required for the poll process. Hence, we had no option but to select a weekday. Since schools will have to be blocked, we did not want to inconvenience students for two days,” Dasgupta explained.

The various boards that conduct school-level examinations —Madhyamik, Higher Secondary, ICSE, ISC and CBSE (class X and XII) — have already agreed to conclude these tests by April 20 to avoid a clash with Assembly polls. In fact, Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examinations have been advanced to early February.

As per the WBJEE board’s schedule, the test for biological science (150 marks) will be from 9 am to 11.30am. It will be followed by the physics and chemistry paper (50 marks each) from 12.45pm to 2.45pm. The mathematics test (100 marks) will be from 3.30pm to 5.30pm.

Since so many tests are being crammed into a single day, the WBJEE board has decided to reduce the number of questions in various categories. “Weightage awarded in each section and total number of multiple-choice-questions (MCQs) has also undergone some change. The details are available on our website,” added Dasgupta.

Incidentally, engineering and medical JEE were held on the same day from 2010 to 2013 but always on a weekend.

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