Competitive exams sit at the core of the Indian higher education system. A competitive examination is an examination where candidates are ranked according to their grades. If the examination is open for• positions, then the first•candidates in ranks pass, the others are rejected. These exams are useful as they grade you on the basis of your performance as compared to that of others in your region/country. Competitive examinations are used in many countries for university and college admissions or admissions to secondary schools. They are considered an egalitarian way of choosing worthy applicants without risking influence, peddling, favouritism or other concerns.
In India, entrance examinations are chiefly confined to medicine, engineering, management, fashion, law and the civil services. These range from the BITS Pilani admission test and IIT-JEE where only one in a hundred can hope to get admission to state level entrances which are many and varied. The stiff competition has led to a situation where many students neglect their school studies and focus solely on "entrance coaching" which is time-consuming and expensive. This has led many states to scrap the entrances and base admissions on the school leaving marks which in some cases unfortunately, are none too reliable. Experts point out that in a country where many different boards are present common entrances are essential, but application skills rather than cramming should be stressed on. Frequent changes in the pattern of examination are essential since sticking to a "standard text" or "standard pattern" alone will favour the coaching industry and the rote-learners.
Engineering has always been one of the most popular choices among students, and even with many new courses coming up engineering courses still attract a vast number of students.
Top level colleges mostly have their own tests in place for granting admission to students, while others accept the scores of national or state level tests.
Both undergraduate and postgraduate students can get admission to eleven of India"s National Law Universities through the Common Law Admission Test.
Management courses are seen as a stepping stone towards a successful career. Almost everyone wants to do an MBA in their field, and management institutes are constantly coming up with new courses and specialisations to cater to every field. A lot of institutes offer MBA courses, and accept the scores of different tests for admissions, including CAT, MAT, NAT, XAT, GMAT, ATMA, etc.
Various institutes carry out their own entrance exams for admission to these courses. Some of these include the Pearl Academy of Fashion, National Institute of Fashion Technology/ National Institute of Design, etc.
With the increasing importance of India as an economically strong superpower, there has been an increase in the demand for Chartered Accountants, as more organisations seek to ensure that financial transactions are carried out according to the law. Common Proficiency Test is the entry level test for the CA course.
Master of Technology
Students who hold a Bachelor"s degree in Engineering/ Technology/Architecture/Pharmacy can choose to take up an M.Tech degree. Admissions are purely based on the GATE score and performance in the interview.
The Indian Administrative Services stands out as the pinnacle of the academic dreams of most Indian students. Many complete their regular degrees in fields like engineering, medicine, law, management, etc., but still aspire to clear the Civil Services Exam (CSE). Conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, CSE is the gateway to the IAS. It offers around 400-600 vacancies in different services under the Indian Government.
While competitive exams are the gateways to some of the best courses and institutes in the country, the pressure to succeed in these can often drive students to the edge of despair.
Students end up missing out on the best years of childhood, in order to prepare for these exams! Only a lucky few make it; however, not succeeding in them is not the end of the world! Your skills can be put to use in other areas. Plan your approach, because this will improve your chances of success, and prepare you to deal with various kinds of outcomes in a more effective way.