More than three lakh students, who took the Central Board for Secondary Education's (CBSE) All India Pre-Medical Test, across the country on Saturday.
The students got a rude shock when they realised that the marking pattern described on the question paper was different from what was described in the CBSE prospectus.
Students said the prospectus clearly stated that the three-hour entrance exam, which has 200 objective type questions, each item would carry four marks and for each correct response the candidate would get four marks.
For each incorrect response one mark would be deducted from the total score.
But as students sat for the exam, the instructions section of question paper said that each question would carry three marks and one mark would be deducted for each incorrect answer.
“We have been preparing according to the earlier pattern the entire year. But what we get to see now is completely different,” said Arpita Kar (name changed on request), a medical aspirant who appeared for the exam.
“With four marks patterns, the weightage for negative marking for each question would have been 25 per cent, but with 3 mark pattern, suddenly it shot up to 33 per cent. We had to reorient ourselves within those three hours,” said Ankur Garg, another candidate.
On contacting CBSE officials to complain, the parents and students were informed that it was an error and the marking would take place according to the information given on the prospectus.
“The damage that has already been done. The students didn't attempt many questions fearing negative marking. They could have definitely tried to answer some of the questions,” said a parent, whose daughter appeared in the exam and who didn't wish to be named.
Speaking to HT, M.C. Sharma, CBSE's controller of examination, said, “The information printed in the brochure is final and will be used for marking papers.”
“In a national level examination there’s scope for some errors. But no additional marks will be given.”