Even after two years of preparation, students appearing for the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) were ill prepared for the chaos that prevailed on Sunday morning at the examination centres.
After news of paper leak reached students and administrators at various centres, students who had entered the exam centre were asked to leave while others were not allowed to enter at all. At most centres the examination was rescheduled and held at 12 noon. The original exam time was 9am.
At Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB), however, students were already half way through the exam when their answer sheets were taken from them.
"I had finished the first section which had about 30 questions, when suddenly our papers were taken away without any warning and we were asked to leave," said Kuldeep Singh, whose exam centre was BVB.
And then there were some students who had to appear for Armed Forces Medical College entrance exam and the AIEEE architecture exam - the timings of both the exams clashed with the rescheduled AIEEE timing. They will now be allowed to appear for the AIEEE next week.
Students from those centres where the exam did not begin will also be allowed to sit for the exam next week, most probably on May 8.
AIEEE is one of the most important exams for those aspiring to become engineers as it is an eligibility criterion to get into most engineering colleges. Students start preparing for the exam right after Class 10 and the majority attend coaching classes specially designed to help them crack the test.
The confusion just got bigger for those students who had come from towns such as Sonepat, Panipat and Meerut.
"I reached the exam centre at 4.30 in the morning. We have been waiting for the exam to begin. The school authorities did not give us any information about why the exam was postponed. They did not even offer us a glass of water," said Ravi Dembla, who had accompanied his son from Sonepat.
While Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which conducts AIEEE, has decided to hold the exam in two phases, the parents are not very happy with the decision.
"How will they ensure that the level of questions is the same? This is not fair. My daughter has spent two years preparing for this," said MK Sharma, whose daughter will appear for the exam next week, as her centre couldn't hold the exam.
CBSE chairperson Vineet Joshi said it would ensure that the difficulty level of all questions remains the same.