MumbaiThe race to secure a seat in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) keeps getting tough with every year, but more students made it to the final list this time. Experts said that the 18 bonus marks awarded to all candidates had resulted in a spike in the number of eligible ones.This year, 50,455 students will now be vying for 11,032 seats across 22 IITs and the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad. Last year, there were 36,500 candidates competing for 10,500 seats.The bonus marks were given to all students by the IITs, this year, for a series of ambiguous questions in the May 21 paper . “IITs had already promised 11 bonus marks to all students earlier this month for three ambiguous questions and last evening, they added another seven marks for two other questions. Every examinee was awarded 18 marks in total and this made a huge difference to the final scores,” said Vinay Kumar, MD and CEO of Rao Academy, a coaching institute in the city.The marks were awarded for five questions, which had more than one correct option for students to choose. The minimum aggregate score required for admissions to the IITs has been slotted at 128 out of 366 this time for the general category, 115 for the Other Backward Classes (Non-creamy layer) category and 64 each for Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes categories. “The number of successful students has gone up this year compared to 2016 and it shows how the competition is growing,” said Mohit Sardana, director and head of Mumbai region of FIITJEE, a coaching institute.Read moreIITs to conduct seven admission rounds to fill up all seatsStudents, however, were not all happy with IIT’s decision to award bonus marks to all. Several examinees said that their overall rank had gone down by several notches due to this decision. “I was hoping to rank between 20 and 25 in India but because of the bonus marks, many have gone ahead of me. I hope I have enough to help me get a seat in the Computer Science department of IIT-Bombay,” said 17-year-old Arjit Jain, who bagged AIR 53.According to the information released by Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA) earlier this week, these 50,455 students can start registering and filling in their choice of institutes from June 15 to 26. The first round of seat allotment will be announced on June 28 this year. This year, the IITs will conduct seven admission rounds instead of six in 2016 and only two rounds before that, so that no vacant seats remain this time round.