With nearly 3.1 lakh students in the city appearing for the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams which began on Thursday, the first day of the exams was a mixed bag, with some students having to run helter-skelter to find their exam centres, while others found the new, activity-based English paper slightly tough.
Out of the 518 centres in the Mumbai division including Thane, Palghar and Raigad, some of the centres were assigned more students than their capacity. These centres were forced to make other arrangements to seat the students.
Birla College, Kalyan, which was a main centre, was forced to transfer some of the students assigned to them to the nearest sub-centres at the last minute. “We did not have the infra-structure to seat all the students assigned to us, so we arranged for them to give the exam from three other institutions close to our college,” said spokesperson of the college.
The college had informed the students about the change in their seating arrangement two days ago via SMS. Even then, few students turned up at the college and were confused when they did not find their seat numbers assigned. But the college had organised helpdesks and volunteers to guide students to the new sub-centres.
“I arrived at the exam centre assigned to me by the board at 10.53 am and was surprised that I had been moved to another centre which was 15 minutes away from this one,” said Himanshu Shukla, a commerce student. “I had not received any message from the college prior to the exam.”
Meanwhile, many students complained that the first paper, English, which is based on the new, activity-based pattern, lengthy and slightly tough to crack. “I felt that the paper was lengthy. I had to leave a question carrying three marks as the time was up,” said Shweta Sadananamse, 18, a student of Jogeshwari Education Society Junior College.
Another student, Parnavi Maykar, 18, pointed out that the grammar section was also a bit difficult. “Overall the paper was easy. However, I thought the grammar section was a little tough,” said Maykar. “I also thought the paper was lengthy. I finished the paper at 2 pm and did not get time to check it.”
However, Siddheshw ar Chandekar, secretary of the divisional board, said these were just teething troubles. “This paper was according to a new pattern in which students are tested on the spot, they cannot mug up the answers in advance,” said Chandekar. “Students will get a hang of it over time.”
(With inputs from Ayushi Pratap)