The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) on Sunday admitted that question papers in their Joint Entrance Examination held last month had errors worth a mammoth 36 marks that could critically affect admission chances thousands of meritorious candidates.
The IITs have offered marks in three questions to all of the 4.8 lakh candidates who appeared for the exam. But they are likely to face uncomfortable questions from parents and students over the remaining erroneous questions, where the IITs awarded marks to some students and not to others.
The biggest sufferers of the errors and the attempt by the IITs to correct them are those students, who, on finding something wrong in specific question-and-answer combinations, left these questions because of negative marking for incorrect answers.
The 28 marks worth errors in math are more than the cut-off in the subject for the past four years - 1, 5, 7 and 11 - revealing the scale of the problem. The cut-offs for physics - where the 2011 JEE had eight marks worth errors - were 4, 0, 8 and 19 for general candidates over the past four years.
The magnitude of the impact of these errors can be gauged from the statistic that just 85 marks - or about three times the math errors of 28 - separated the math score of the 2010 JEE topper and the last selected student, several thousands of ranks below.
The multiple-choice examination consisted of two question papers.
The first paper had 16 marks worth errors in four math questions, and another error in a four mark physics question.
The second paper also had a four mark physics question, and 12 marks of errors in two math questions, one of which was worth eight marks.
While some questions were critical typographical mistakes or carried logically inconsistent statements, others which were supposed to have only one correct answer, had many.