A new but easy format and more time gave the 250,000 students sitting for the IIT entrance exam on Sunday a pleasant surprise.
"The paper was fun," remarked Bhargavi, a student who appeared at Chennai for the Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE).
"The best and most welcome change in the exam was that it's a more objective than subjective paper and there is no negative marking for the long answers," she said.
Unlike last year, when students had to tackle three papers Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, of two hours duration each, this year they had to answer two papers of three-hour duration each.
The IIT-JEE exam has been undergoing changes for sometime now. Until 2005 the examination had two stages. Those qualifying a screening test sat for the main exam. But since last year, a one-stage examination has been introduced.
Nearly 250,000 students took the exam on Sunday, competing for the 4,000 seats in the seven IITs, as compared to 300,000 students who took the paper last year.
Since there has been no concrete decision yet on the 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC), there has been no change in the number of seats as well. But some students do admit that the quota game was playing at the back of their minds.
"I don't have any kind of quota so I admit that I was a little worried about the entire quota scene which was on the boil again. But now that the court order has been stayed and the paper was relatively easy, I am relieved!" said Namrata Sharma, an IIT aspirant from Guwahati.
Some students from Bangalore were, however, disappointed because the paper was right in the middle of their class 12 exams.
"I would probably have been more satisfied with my performance if I didn't have to divide my study time between my board exams and the IIT JEE. But my priority remains IIT so I tried concentrating on it more," said Udayan Joshi of Bangalore.
Barring a few, students were overall quite satisfied with their performance.