Some statistics based on the students entering various IITs in 2010 and 2011

(Thanks to Abi for the pointer.) The following tables are from documents at

November 22nd, 2011

Performance of Odisha and Odia students in IIT JEE 2010 and 2011

 (Thanks to Abi for the pointer.) The following tables are from documents at

November 22nd, 2011

Lots of empty seats in professional courses even after a second counseling

Following is an excerpt from a report in Telegraph.

At the end of the first phase of web counselling for engineering courses, around 12,000 of the 38,000-odd seats were filled up. The huge number of empty seats forced the state government to conduct another round of counselling “to fill up as many seats as possible”. However, OJEE authorities said just about 3,000 more candidates have shown interest in admission, which still leaves more than 23,000 seats vacant.

… The faulty and lengthy e-counselling process has put off many aspirants, forcing them to look for other options,” said the principal of a city-based engineering college.

For the medical courses, the second phase of centralised counselling ended last evening. Although MBBS and BDS (dental) seats in all the three government colleges were filled up, 70 of 100 BDS seats at the Hi-Tech (private) Medical College here were still lying vacant.

There are 150 MBBS seats each in the government colleges – VSS, Burla, SCB Medical College, Cuttack, and MKCG, Berhampur. At Hi-Tech, there are 100 MBBS seats and all of them have been filled up. This year, a total of 2,203 medical aspirants had qualified the OJEE and the first phase of counselling was conducted on July 14 and 15.

In other streams, only 40 to 60 per cent seats have found takers. Approximately 4,000 of the 7,000-odd MBA seats and 2,000 of nearly 4,000 MCA seats are up for grabs. In pharmacy, around 1,200 out of 2,000-plus seats are lying vacant.

With much more seats than the number of students, the government, OJEE and BPUT authorities need to simplify and shorten the process of counseling. They may also consider scrapping the OJEE exams in the various fields, except the medical part.

5 comments September 15th, 2011

IIT council decides to charge 2 lakhs/year for students who do not go onto academics via M.Tech/Ph.D

Following is an excerpt from a report in Telegraph.

The IIT Council today decided that subsidy on tuition fees for BTech courses should be given only to those students who pursue research and take up teaching jobs.

The council, chaired by human resource development minister Kapil Sibal, considered the report of the Anil Kakodkar committee which had suggested that operational costs for running the four-year courses should be covered by raising fees.

Students now pay Rs 50,000 as annual tuition fee. The operational cost per student comes to about Rs 2 lakh a year.

The council today decided that from 2013, students would have to pay the balance Rs 6 lakh if they take up a non-teaching job after graduation.

Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students, who do not have to pay any fees now, and students from poor families, who are on scholarship or have been granted interest subsidy loans, will, however, be exempt.

Students who study for MTech and PhD and take up teaching after that would not have to pay the Rs 6 lakh.

September 15th, 2011

Which branch to take for Engineering Diploma in Odisha?

These days many students after their Class X exam instead of joining a +2Sc/Arts/Commerce program enroll in an engineering diploma program. The reason being:

(a) They can avail of lateral entry to the 2nd year of B.E program if they have "Pass in 3 years diploma course in Engineering with at least 50% ( 45% in case of candidate belong to SC / ST category) marks in aggregate from State Council of Technical Education and Training (SCTE&VT)". For them there is a reservation of "Upto a maximum of twenty percent of sanctioned intake capacity of 2010-20 11 in appropriate discipline of engineering (these seats will be over and above the intake capacity) and carry forward vacant seats of first year of engineering (as per list submitted by JEE-2010) will be available for lateral entry at third semester level."

(b) They can also join the first year of B.E program if they wish to do that.

Now when choosing what branch in Diploma they should pursue they should look at the following table from the JEE prospectus. It will tell them from which diploma branch they can join "laterally" (i.e, to the second year) to which B.E. branch .

As per the JEE 2011 stipulations, the most flexible branch seems to be "Mechatronics" as it allows them to pursue Mechanical Engineering as well as several Electronics related branches.  (This may change in the future. So students need to check the latest JEE prospectus.)



1 comment May 9th, 2011

Seat availavility to study architecture in Odisha (via Odisha JEE 2011)

The following is extracted from the Odisha JEE 2011 brochure. Thanks to a post in for the pointer.

May 8th, 2011

40,000 from Odisha appear in IIT JEE in 2011??

Following is an excerpt from a report on Times of India regarding increase in the number of students appearing in IIT JEE from Odisha.

The number of IIT aspirants in Orissa saw a steady rise with nearly 40,000 students appearing for the joint entrance examination ( JEE) for the country’s premier institute on Sunday, officials said.

Registrar of IIT-Bhubaneswar Bata Kishore Ray said, "The number of aspirants from Orissa has gone up in the last couple of years, especially after IIT-B started operating from the city. …

… About 30,000 aspirants appeared from the state last year, he added.

In the capital city alone, over 5,000 students appeared in 12 centres for one of the toughest competitive examinations in the country.

… Director of a city-based coaching centre Jyoti Ranjan Tripathy said good coaching facilities and number of successful students increasing every year has been motivating others to go for IIT. "In terms of coaching facilities, Bhubaneswar can be called the Kota of eastern India. Orissa has created some top rankers in IIT-JEE in the last few years and this has motivated more students."

As per a report in Economic Times, the total number of applicants for IIT JEE is 4,85,262.

Following is obtained from a Deccan Chronicle report, a TOI report and another TOI report:

  • Total: 4,85,262 out of which 1,13,942 were girl applicants.
    • SC – 47,479; ST – 19,305; OBC – 1,42,387 (TOI)
  • Madras zone (Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala): about 68,500 out of which 20,546 were girls. (last year 65,650)
  • Mumbai zone: about 85,260/68,735*
  • Kanpur zone: around 80,400/63,661* (16,770 girls)
  • Guwahati zone (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya and West Bengal): about 58,700.
  • Kharagpur zone:??
  • Delhi Zone: 71,353 (16,877 girls)
  • Roorkee Zone: 16,976 girls

* Two newspapers give different numbers. 

Assuming the numbers for Odisha are correct, it is a significant development in that 8.25% of the total applicants will be from Odisha. Note that Odisha’s population is 3.47% of the total population of the country. 

Ofcourse, a more important aspect is the success in the exam, but significant increase in the applications is a good starting point. Some of the reason behind this increase are:

  • More awareness due to IIT Bhubaneswar.
  • The significant increase in the availability of coaching, including many nationally known coaching institutes opening their centers in Odisha, especially in Bhubaneswar. These include Careerpoint, FIITJEE, Narayana, Resonance and Vidya Mandir.
  • The significant increase in the number of private +2 colleges across the state, some of which have ties with coaching classes.

Now lets hope a good number from Odisha succeed in IIT JEE. Currently Hyderabad and Kota are the places with the highest number of successful candidates. Following is an excerpt from a TOI report on that.

If JEE-2010 results are pored over, the maximum number of candidates to clear the exam was from Andhra Pradesh (AP).

The state dominated the merit list. Seven of the top ten rankers were from there, the share of Kota (which is in Rajasthan) starting only after rank 15. While in 2006, 938 candidates from AP and 1,004 from Rajasthan made it to the IITs, a year later the tables had turned, with 1,384 from AP clearing JEE and 1,344 from Rajasthan. It has been a close race since. In 2009, for example, 1,862 students from AP and 1,898 from Rajasthan cleared JEE.

There are reports from other cities and states, but many have contradictory reports. Following are data from some of these reports.

3 comments April 11th, 2011

IISc Bangalore to start 4 year B.S program starting from 2011

(Thanks to Abi for the pointer.)

The web page for this program is Following are some excerpts from its main page.

The Indian Institute of Science, a leading institution of higher learning with a strong tradition of research for over a century, is opening its portals to undergraduate students by launching a four-year Bachelor of Science (BS) Programme. The programme is designed as a balanced blend of core science and interdisciplinary topics, to serve as a launching pad for research and doctoral studies in cutting-edge areas in science and technology. The graduates will also be ready for attractive career opportunities in academia and industry.

Major Disciplines offered: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Materials, Mathematics and Physics.

Students majoring in any of the above disciplines will also take courses in engineering, humanities, and inter-disciplinary areas for a well-rounded learning experience.

The inaugural batch will begin classes from August 2011 and graduate in July 2015.

Admissions will be based on national examinations such as KVPY and through other channels to be announced soon.

Eligibility: 12th Standard or equivalent with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics as main subject.

Applications will be accepted from January 1, 2011 till March 31, 2011.

August 19th, 2010

Education through entrance tests: Excerpts from an interesting article by Profs. P. Jalote and A. Singh

Prof. Jalote is the Director of IIIT Delhi and is on leave from IIT Delhi. Previously he taught at IIT Kanpur and University of Maryland. Prof. Singh is a professor at Auburn University, Alabama. Both are alumni of IITs. Following are excerpts from their article in Economic Times.

… The difficulty of cracking these tests have led to the booming coaching industry — it seems the vast majority of students appearing in these exams undergo some form of coaching for them. This impact of coaching has been decried by many. In academic circles, it is a common complain that coaching is allowing even average students to crack the exams, and how exams ought to be changed so that deserving students can clear even without coaching.

It should be clearly understood that the success of coaching is not due to the nature of the exams, but due to the low acceptance ratio in these exams. With these low accept rates, it is irrelevant whether the nature of exam is such that coaching will help or not.

… Anybody who thinks that coaching can be made redundant by reforming the admission tests is living in a state of denial.

There is another aspect of coaching that deserves attention. Coaching is big business: by some accounts, coaching for IITs is bigger than IITs themselves in terms of turnover. Consequently, it is able to attract good teachers by offering high salaries. One hears about IIT/IIM grads teaching in these coaching institutes, but one cannot come across an IIT/IIM graduate as a teacher in a school — even elite schools do not have this distinction. So, in many coaching centres, the quality of education is superior to that of schools, particularly with respect to the entrance test subjects. As the business success depends on how well they help the students do in the entrance exams, their teaching, as measured with respect to success in these exams, continues to improve and they take great care to improve it.

So, we have the following situation. Coaching institutes will continue to thrive as long as the accept ratio remains small. And coaching business will ensure that its teachers and teaching processes are well-equipped to impart training to students to do better at the competitive exam.

This situation, undesirable thought it is, can, however, be converted into an opportunity to improve education. As coaching institutes focus on the entrance tests and the syllabus for them, it provides a power to these exams in that whatever they put as syllabus or as expected knowledge, the coaching institutes will ensure that students get good at that. Even for those students who do not undergo coaching, these exams are highly influential — students learn/ study for these exams with a mission and dedication that they don’t show for anything else.

IF THESE large exams were to be oriented such that preparation for them will make the foundations for the key subjects much stronger and will force the students to really understand the subjects better, the coaching industry will ensure that this knowledge is imparted to students. That is, the syllabus and expectation is potentially a strong force on what students learn in the 2-3 years they prepare for the entrance exams, through coaching or on their own.

If this learning can be strengthened, then even if the students do not get through in these exams — which the vast majority will not — the preparation for them will give them strong foundations in some key subjects. This can be leveraged by other institutions.

… So, instead of fighting coaching by making exams like JEE harder and more theoretical every year, such large exams can leverage the competition for the larger good of improving the education and preparedness of students.

If these exams are thought of as a potential tool in the armory of the country for fighting the poor education standards, rather than just for admitting students into these institutes, then they can favourably impact the lakhs of students who attend JEE, and not just of the selected few thousands who actually enter the IITs, whose skills will be upgraded anyway to top levels by the top quality education that they will be provided. By doing so, institutions like the IITs and the entrance exams they have, will be making a solid contribution to improving the workforce in the country , as they have done in creating the top-level manpower.

I agree with the main point in the above mentioned article. Earlier I wrote my views on coaching at

However, there is an issue with respect to many students not being able to afford coaching. Couple of things that the governments may do are:

  • Provide coaching in some government schools such as Navodaya Vidyalayas.
  • Provide other avenues for good coaching such as attempts to replicate the Super 30 in Bihar by other governments.
  • Bring coaching classes and the +2 level under the ambit of RTE and require that certain percentage of the students there are from poorer background.
  • Provide scholarships to poor students to be able to afford good coaching.

2 comments May 16th, 2010

Prof. Damodar Acharya Committee reportedly proposes to scrap IIT JEE and other entrance exams

Update: Following are excerpts from a follow-up Telegraph report which mentions about the committee’s recommendation to have wide-spread consultations before making the changes.

But it has advised caution in implementing the reforms. The panel has suggested detailed consultations and workshops with the state governments, other top engineering institutions like the National Institutes of Technology, and private universities.

The recommendations of the panel can be fine-tuned based on the outcome of the consultations, the team led by IIT Kharagpur director Damodar Acharya has suggested. The panel is likely to meet soon and may draw up a schedule for the consultations at that meeting.

… At a meeting of the panel in Chennai on March 16 with representatives of state and central school boards, some participants suggested that rural students be given more opportunities than urban students. The participants proposed two attempts for urban students and three for rural students.

The panel and the HRD ministry will also need to convince state governments that the move to end state-specific engineering tests is not against their interests.

Following is an excerpt from a report in Telegraph.

… The panel, appointed by human resource development minister Kapil Sibal, has recommended replacing the four-decade-old IIT-Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and myriad other engineering entrance examinations with a common test modelled on the US-based scholastic aptitude test (SAT).

The panel has suggested that the IITs accord a 70 per cent weightage to board examination scores in picking students, ..

Scores in the common aptitude test that will replace the IIT-JEE will contribute the remaining 30 per cent weightage in determining which candidates are selected, the panel has recommended.

Unlike the current engineering entrance examinations including the IIT-JEE, the common aptitude test will not have questions on physics, chemistry and math, but will test students’ powers of logical reasoning and communication skills.

If the recommendations are accepted, the IITs will for the first time admit students based more on their board examination marks than on their performance in a special entrance test.

…The minister had announced in February that he was setting up a panel under IIT Kharagpur director Damodar Acharya to study proposed reforms to the IIT-JEE. The panel was appointed in March, with the directors of the IITs in Mumbai, Roorkee and Chennai as the other members.

…  The panel has recommended that the government develop a Comprehensive Weighted Performance Index (CWPI) to calculate a student’s overall score based cumulatively on his performance in the board examinations and in the common aptitude test. The report appears principally based on discussions at a meeting held with other government representatives, including Central Board of Secondary Education chairman Vineet Joshi and select state representatives in Chennai on March 16.

The HRD ministry is already working towards a plan to introduce a common high school curriculum in the sciences and math, cutting across the 35 boards — central and state — that govern Indian school education.

The common curriculum would make easier a comparison between the board examination scores of students from schools affiliated to different central and state government boards, Joshi had told the meeting.

The CWPI proposed by the panel is aimed at normalising any differences that remain between difficulty levels of school-leaving examinations under different boards.

There is a big danger that the above approach will make the XIIth exams a high stakes affair and bring it under the microscope with every aspect of it being scrutinized and judged by everyone. Most coaching classes may reinvent themselves and start coaching how to score more marks in the XIIth exam and the proposed SAT type exam. This approach may bring in bias favoring students from families with educated parents. English being a compulsory subject in XIIth, this may put students in rural areas and other areas where English is less used at a disadvantage.

So one has to wait and see how this will pan out.

My guess is if the above idea is adopted, it will go through some changes such as specific types of colleges may be allowed to give different weight to Class XII marks in different subjects. Some may introduce interviews or other tests.

One change that should be made is that when possible specialty branches should not be assigned to most  students (say 70-80% in any college/institute) immediately after they join a college/institute after the XIIth. That should be determined after a year in that college/institute based on the performance in that year. This will make the class XII exam less cutthroat and ensure that students after they get into a college/institute continue to give importance to academics.

One alternative idea may to test the proposed idea (of using class XIIth marks) on 50% of the seats for a few years before deciding whether to completely abandon the current approach or not.

7 comments April 14th, 2010

Why mention of IIT coaching classes in Orissalinks?

In we mentioned about some of the national tutorials that have now set shop in Bhubaneswar. A close friend and elder of mine (Sandip Dasverma) whom I respect a lot was surprised (and even dismayed) that I gave space to them here, and was wondering how come I am promoting institutes that to him are so harmful to our society.

I have mixed thoughts and feelings about the whole thing, so I decided I will write my thoughts and feelings, which at this point may not be fully coherent.

1. In Orissalinks we are writing about *all* kinds of educational and HRD infrastructure and opportunities in Odisha. When we write about ITI or Diploma or vocational schools we are not necessarily promoting them; nor it is our intention that every body should do ITI or a diploma. (On the other hand we do not think there is anything wrong in going to an ITI or doing a Diploma.) We cover them so that these pages serve as a dynamic directory of opportunities and infrastructure of various kinds. In that sense IIT tutorials are educational and HRD infrastructure elements and we cover them. Our coverage does not necessarily mean we promote them. In case of ITI and Diploma institutions, having them listed here helps industries who may be considering to move to Odisha.

2. To us IIT tutorials are HRD infrastructure elements that for whatever reason are an important component of a city/town/metro/population-hub. Students are looking for them, the parents are looking for them, the top ones at other locations have been successful in sending large numbers to the IITs, and parents in Odisha due to the lack of such institutes have sent their kids out of state. Moreover, Odisha has been sending comparatively very few students to IITs, thus not taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the well-funded and reputed IITs. So in that sense having top national coaching classes in Odisha is good. The kids who want to go there need not now go to or be sent to (by their parents) locations out of state and hopefully there will be more number of people getting to IITs from Odisha because of the presence of these nationally reputed tutorials in Odisha.

Hopefully we have clarified why we covered IIT tutorials here; We covered them because as the situation in India is now, they are an important educational infrastructure of a place/town/city/metro.

Thats that, but what do we think about these tutorials and their alleged harmful impact on the education system and society. To us the issue is not so simple nor black and white. To initiate a debate we will put some pointers and arguments.

  • Coaching classes in various countries and their purpose is given here. In India, coaching classes are a reality and they thrive because (i) admission to top schools is extremely competitive and (ii) the admission process is fairly well defined. In this regard one may read the article at which explains why cram schools for getting law license is common in many other countries but not in the USA.
  • Coaching classes are not so common for college admission in the USA because of two main reasons: Decent students can fairly easily get into decent universities in most states; and admission is not based on a single exam and the process is not very clear and on purpose not well explained to the public.
  • At this point the fuzzy processes adopted for admissions in US institutions will not work in India as there will be a lot of chance for corruption. One of the aura behind the IIT entrance exams and its admission process is the lack of corruption in the process of IIT admission. Many a professors and IIT directors’ kids have not been able to get into IITs. That is not the case in most US universities (even the most elite and most competitive ones) where kids of alumni, faculty and big donors may have an inside track to admission.
  • Recently a committee chaired by Prof Damodar Acharya has been formed to revamp the IIT admission process. Among other things they are considering to take into account the marks obtained in the 12th grade. I am not sure if that will eliminate the coaching classes. The coaching classes will just adopt and start teaching how to also ace the 12th exam.
  • However it is the case that mastering (how to answer) the kind of questions asked in the IIT entrance exam requires coaching beyond what is taught in the regular school curriculum. If the question pattern was changed to closely follow the regular school curriculum then coaching classes will possibly be less effective and thus their attraction could possibly decrease. But the questions may then be too simple making it difficult to pick 10,000 out of 5 lakhs. Also, there is a reason behind the kind of hard questions that are asked in the IIT entrance exams. Students with aptitude to answer such questions are good at problem solving and thus the kind of students the IITs are looking for. But IITs have not been able to figure out how to separate these students from students  who have trained (and been coached) to be successful in the IIT entrance exams.
    • It is common in India to believe in the notion of  "inherent ability" which is behind the elusive goal of finding students who have the inherent ability versus students who apparently do not have that ability but train hard (in the coaching classes) and get through the entrance exams.
    • But this view is being challenged. See the book review at Following is a quote: "David Shenk with “The Genius in All of Us,” which argues that we have before us not a “talent scarcity” but a “latent talent abundance.” Our problem “isn’t our inadequate genetic assets,” but “our inability, so far, to tap into what we already have.” The truth is “that few of us know our true limits, that the vast majority of us have not even come close to tapping what scientists call our ‘un­actualized potential.’ ” At first it would seem that Shenk, the author of thoughtful books on information overload, memory loss and chess, has veered into guru territory. But he has assembled a large body of research to back up his claims. … Shenk doesn’t neglect the take-home point we’re all waiting for, even titling a chapter “How to Be a Genius (or Merely Great).” The answer has less in common with the bromides of motivational speakers than with the old saw about how to get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice. Whatever you wish to do well, Shenk writes, you must do over and over again, in a manner involving, as Ericsson put it, “repeated attempts to reach beyond one’s current level,” which results in “frequent failures.” This is known as “deliberate practice,” and over time it can actually produce changes in the brain, making new heights of achievement possible.
    • In light of the above, is it really right to look down on students who worked hard for whatever number of years in a coaching class and trained themselves so as to succeed in the IIT entrance exam? Can we really fault the coaching classes who provide the students the opportunity to train, train and train? Who are we to tell that train, train, train following a goal or someone’s life’s ambition is bad? Do we do that with respect to an athlete or an aspiring musician? No, we are impressed by their dedication.
  • Few years back IITs changed their requirement for admission and now one can enter an IIT only the year he/she passes the 12th or the next year. This was aimed at stopping people from spending multiple years in coaching schools in preparation for IIT. I guess it addresses that problem but raises other questions such as: Why is it wrong to work hard and long and prepare? Why can not some one decide to pursue an engineering degree at whatever age they become interested in? The later is a problem in most programs in India and is understandable because of the resource crunch. Coming back to the former: Why is it wrong to work hard and long and prepare? Does the society penalise an athlete or a music student who decides to fully focus on their goal of being a world class athlete or a musician? In case of the IITs, the problem is that most students who work hard and long to get in, do not often work hard once they get into the IITs. But then the IITs should design their course work accordingly? Also, they should assign majors for most students (say 80%) after the first year. That way students after they get in will have to work hard to get the major of their choice.
  • Who are bad? The students going to coaching classes? Their parents? The owner of the coaching class? The faculty at the coaching classes? The System? If it is the system then as we mentioned we can not fault the nature of the admission process as a non-transperent one (used in the US universities) will not work in today’s India where corruption is endemic and because of that even national tests are conducted for clerical jobs in the Railways and Banks. So the only approach is to have enough good institutions/colleges/universities so that the situation is not as competitive as it is now. But even then there will be coveted institutions and admissions to them will be extremely competitive and their will be coaching classes for them. Just look at France, where 5% of its high school graduates spend 2-3 years in cram schools so that they can get into the Grandes Ecoles.
  • The increase in the number of IITs, NITs, central universities, the creation of new IIITs, IISERs/NISER and the plan for 14 innovation universities will increase the number of  good institutions in India and that would be helpful. They will also help in the more serious issue that plagued India where most good students out of high school went for engineering and medicine.
  • However, India needs to figure out how to improve the standards at its state universities and colleges which have degraded badly over the years. Just creating new creamy layers on the top and letting the bottom rot will worsen the situation. 

I hope the above thoughts explain why I don’t agree with the crowd and follow the fashion these days among many who put all the blame in the world at the door of coaching classes. I can see some adverse results (such as the story about an IIT JEE number 1 who was coached three years before he got JEE 1 but flunked in many of his classes in the first year) but it is not easy for me to just point blank think coaching classes as evils. In fact there may be evidence to the contrary. The coaching classes seems to have helped students from far flung areas without access to good schools to get trained  and get into the IITs. The success of the super 30 in Bihar has now prompted the Punjab government to start similar coaching for rural students in Punjab. Similar plans are also afoot in Tamil Nadu and Chhatisgarh. The Orissa government had also announced similar plans in collaboration with the Institute of Mathematics & Applications. I am not sure if that has been implemented.

Now some other related thoughts.

  • In my school days, middle class parents would find a tuition master or send their kids for tution if the kids were not doing well in school. So being "tutored" had a negative connotation similar to the connotation of "remedial classes" in US schools. Of course in US now parents and kids are being sensitized to not look down on students with reading and learning disabilities. But things started changing in India and students doing well also started getting tutored to do even better, and at times this was encouraged by the teachers themselves, some with motivation to augment their income (their pay was always pathetic). Some of these teachers neglected in their teaching in their regular classes giving bad names to the "tutors".  These two underlined aspects have contributed to the negative connotation behind coaching in the mind of many.
  • Personally, I have never had a tuition master in my life. I did take postal coaching (Agrawal Classes) in my 12th class (ISc 2nd year) to prepare for  IIT and got in that year. The postal coaching worked as follows: I would get booklets with some theory and solved examples and some questions. I would solve the questions myself and send it for evaluation. Some one (a faculty) at the coaching center would evaluate my solutions and give me a grade. Thats all. This was better than the alternative of reading the IIT entrance guide books and doing the exercises there as in case of the later, one was not sure if the solution was correct or not. Also, in case of the postal coaching, the solutions had to be sent in within certain time, thus creating a discipline on the preparation. I have not met a single person in my life who got through the IIT entrance exam without preparing specifically for IIT outside of the class syllabus and that meant at least going through the IIT entrance guide books.
  • So I have no direct idea about how the current classroom coaching classes operate. I only know from second and third hand descriptions.

Having said all this, what would be my advice to students in their 11th and 12th grade?

  • First, one need not focus on IITs, engineering or medicine. India now provides successful careers in many many fields. One can go for science and math in the top institutes such as IIISERs, NISER, ISI, etc. One can go for law in one of the National Law Schools. One can go for Economics and other social science subjects in various good colleges. One can go for accountancy and other commerce subjects. One can be successful in any of those. Also, down the road the IISERs, NISER, National Law schools and the Innovation Universities will have similar name recognition as the IITs.
  • However, if one aims to get into the IITs, until further changes happen one still need to prepare beyond their Class 12 syllabus. Here I would recommend the aspiring students to get into the best coaching class (in terms of their past performance) that is available. In that regard it is good that Bhubaneswar now has some of the nationally known top ones in FITJEE, Vidya Mandir and Resonance. However, in case the teachers in those coaching classes do not emphasize the following, I would have one advice to the students: There is no substitute to the ability and understanding one develops when one is pondering on a question (on his/her own) for hours or sometimes days and is eventually able to figure out how to solve it. Memorizing a trick told by the teacher to solve that question is an extremely poor substitute and does not develop the critical thinking ability that the IITs expect their students to have. On the positive side, the periodic exams conducted by the coaching classes have some advantages. Doing well in them and getting encouragement from the teachers who are able to compare a current coaching class student with successful students from yesteryears gives the students the much needed confidence. (In general I have noticed that less students from Odisha get into IITs because of the confidence problem during their 11-12th. But where ever the good ones go, they do well and become very successful in their careers.) Also, the coaching classes provide a routine and a discipline in the preparation. This is hard  for a 16-17yr old to do on his/her own.
    • In this regard one may note that bad coaching classes or not using the coaching classes in the right way could be very harmful. As an anecdotal example, a nephew of mine was telling me that he was not confident about his IIT exam as he did not have a tuition master in subject X, though he had tuition in Y and Z. After the IIT entrance exam he said he did well in X but not in Y, Z. I explained him and he agreed that in X, he studied himself and developed the understanding while in Y and Z, he was told various problem solving tricks; but that did not develop a deeper understanding in his mind and he could not apply them to the questions he encountered in the IIT entrance exam.

8 comments April 3rd, 2010

IISERs will have their own aptitute test on July 18 2010

(Thanks to the Suryanarayanan’s comment number 147 in

The IISER admission site at says that there will be three ways to get admission in the IISERs: (i) KVPY (ii) IIT JEE and (iii) Direct.

But by "Direct" they mean through an aptitude test that will be held on July 18 2010. They say: 

Direct Admission is open to applicants who have Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and/or Biology in their class 12 board examination. Aptitude Assessment consists of a written test. It will have multiple choice questions on Physics Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology based on CBSE syllabus up to class 12.

The NISER NEST exam will be on June 6th. Details at

IISERs and NISER should have co-ordinated to have a single test. It does not make sense to have separate tests for admission into similar programs. Such lack of co-ordination and foresight is what encourages the government to interfere and issue diktats.

4 comments March 15th, 2010

Euclid TMP – a plus 2 level Math tutoring institute in Bhubaneswar

I stumbled across this institute in the web. Its home page is at The teacher at this institute is Mr. S. B. Panigrahi. Although it seems to admit students that have done very well in their earlier exams, the overall result of the institute sounds very good. 

As per the page over the period of 9 years from 2001 to 2009 this institute has created:

  • More than 160 IITians
  • More than 460 NITians
  • More than 23 students qualifying in the entrance examination conducted by the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) which offers the world’s best undergraduate and one of the world’s best postgraduate courses in Statistics and Mathematics
  • More than 55 students qualifying in the Regional Mathematics Olympiad which selects about 25 to 30 students from Orissa to represent the state in the Indian National Mathematics Olympiad (INMO)
  • 3 students having qualified in the Indian National Mathematics Olympiad (INMO) which selects about 30 students from India to represent India internationally in the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO)

Since this institute seems to only cover Maths, the above student must have had good background and/or good mentoring in Physics and Chemistry. Nevertheless, from the above results and the tributes paid by the EUCLID alumni this institute seems to be a good place in Bhubaneswar to get coached in Mathematics at the plus 2 level.

1 comment February 10th, 2010

Ad for NEST entrance examination for NISER Bhubaneswar, UM-DAE Mumbai and ISERC Shantiniketan

Ravenshaw University should start 5 yr integrated programs in Science subjects and take its students through this exam.

2 comments January 7th, 2010

Orissa holding a Second JEE-2009

A lot of seats remain vacant in the private engineering, medical, MBA, MCA and Pharmacy colleges of Orissa. To attempt to fill those seats there will be a 2nd JEE exam. The following is from






Date of Examination

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Submission of Online Application form begins on

August 22, 2009       

Last date of submission of Online application form

September 02, 2009 upto 2:00 pm

Publication of result

September 11, 2009

Counselling Starts

September 15, 2009


The 2nd Joint Entrance Examination for the year 2009-10, Orissa will be held on                Sunday, September 06, 2009 at some selected centres  for admission to the vacant seats, if any, in first year Degree courses in Engineering/Technology, Medical (MBBS and BDS), Pharmacy and first year master programmes in Business Administration (MBA) and Computer Application (MCA).



 All are eligible to apply subject to fulfilling the following criteria.

 For admission to First Year programme in

Engineering & Technology :

Pass  or  appearing in 2009 in 10+2 examination of CHSE or equivalent, with Physics and Mathematics alongwith one of the following subjects : Chemistry / Biotechnology / Computer Science / Biology.                              


Diploma holders including those having  less than 60% marks in aggregate from SCTE&VT, Orissa or equivalent are eligible for admission to 1st year Engg. / Technology courses and they  have to appear in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics paper in the Joint Entrance examination.

There is no age limit for admission to B.Tech course.

Medical Stream  (MBBS/BDS)  :

Pass in 10+2 or appearing in 2009 examination of CHSE, Orissa or equivalent, with Physics, Chemistry & Biology (Botany and Zoology) with at least 50% marks in aggregate (Physics, Chemistry & Biology taken together) for general category candidates and 40% marks in aggregate for SC/ST candidates. For candidates seeking admission through JEE to Govt. / Private Colleges the candidate must be a permanent resident/native of Orissa. They are to submit the Permanent Resident Certificate (Appendix – I in the JEE-2009 Information Brochure available in this website) at the time of counselling. However, outside state candidates may apply for admission to MBBS and BDS courses in Private Medical /Dental colleges. There will be two separate merit-list i.e. one for Orissa State and another for Outside state candidates.  After exhausting the merit-list of the Orissa State candidates then outside state candidates could participate the counselling. This is subject to the decision of the Government of Orissa.

The merit-list would be prepared as per norms of the Medical Council of India / Dental Council of India.

AGE : The lower age shall be 17 years as on December 31, 2009 . The upper age shall be 25 years as on December  31,  2009 . The upper age limit may be relaxed by three years for SC/ST candidates.

Pharmacy :

Pass or appearing in 2009 in 10+2 examination with Physics and Chemistry along with   one of the following subjects : Mathematics/Biotechnology /Computer Science/Biology. 


Diploma holders including those having  less than 60% marks in aggregate from SCTE&VT, Orissa or equivalent are eligible for admission to 1st year Pharmacy and they have to appear in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology  or Mathematics(or both)paper in the 2nd Joint Entrance examination.

There is no age limit  for admission to B. Pharm course.


Pass or appearing in 2009, for the Bachelor’s Degree Examination of three years duration in any discipline from any University or equivalent recognized by UGC and having passed in Mathematics at 10+2 level. Business mathematics at +2 level are not permitted.



Pass or appearing in 2009, for the Bachelor’s Degree Examination of three years duration in any discipline from any University of Orissa or equivalent recognized by UGC with mathematics as one of the subject.

There is no age limit  for admission to MCA course.


M.B.A. :
  Pass or appearing  in 2009, for the  Bachelor’s Degree examination of three years duration in any discipline from any University of Orissa or equivalent recognised by UGC. There is no age limit for admission to MBA course.


Note : Candidates are to produce their complete result along with original mark sheet of the qualifying examination at the time of counselling for admission.



The online application form is available in our website Read carefully the instructions given to fill up the online application form. A bank draft of Rs.500/- (from any nationalized bank) in favour of “JEE-2009, Orissa” payable at Bhubaneswar has to be prepared towards examination fee before submitting the online application form. Fill out the application form correctly and take a print out of the Acknowledgement card. Download the Admit Card from our website during September 02-04, 2009.  Candidates are required to carry three documents to the examination hall: (i) Admit Card, (ii) Bank draft of Rs.500/- and (iii) Two recent pass port size photographs. Candidates are required submit the draft to the invigilators at the examination hall before start of the examination failing which they are not eligible to appear the examination.

  CHAIRMAN, JEE-2009, Orissa


23 comments August 31st, 2009

Regular JEE counseling starts with Womens categories; IIIT, Silicon West, Parala Maharaj and Govt. Engineering College Bhawanipatna are in

Regular JEE counseling started yesterday with Women’s categories. In addition to the colleges that were listed for the AIEEE round of  Orissa JEE counseling,  the list of colleges also includes IIIT, Silicon Sambalpur, Parala Maharaj and Govt. College Bhawanipatna. This does not yet appear in the Orissa JEE web site, but I was told by a friend that this is the case. So the complete list of new colleges is:

  1. Aryan Institute of Engineering and Technology, Mouza: Barakuda, Post Panchagoan, Bhubaneswar-752 050
  2. Bhubaneswar Institute of Technology, Plot No 4, Village Harapur, Khurda, Pin- 752 054
  3. Einstien Academy of Tech. & Management (EATAM) Bania Tangi Bhubaneswar
  4. Eklavya College of Tech., and Sci., At Kusumati PO Jatni Bhubaneswar Khurda
  5. Gandhi Academy of Tech. & Engineering At/PO Golonthara Konisi, Berhampur, Dist Ganjam Orissa
  6. Gandhi Institute for Education & Technology, At Banlatangi, P.O. Bajpur, Dist : Khurda-752060
  7. Government Engineering College, Kalahandi
  8. Gurukula College of Engineering for Women (GCEM) At- Jamuhari Chhatabar, Bhubaneshwar Dist- Khurda Odisha
  9. Hi-Tech College of Engineering, Rasulghar, Pandara Bhubaneswar
  10. Indotech College of Engineering, Plot No. 144, AT/PO Mallipada, Via Pallahat(Khurda-2) Dist-khurda,Orissa-752056
  11. International Institute of Information Technology, Plot No – 570(P), Gothapatna, Khandagiri, Bhubaneswar – 751030
  12. KMBB College of Engineering and Technology AT-Daleiput, PO-Talahat Dist. Khurda,Orissa
  13. Parala Maharaj Engineering College, Berhampur
  14. Rahul Institute of Engineering & Technology, Govindapur JN Tata Dapalli, Village Konisi, Berhampur, Ganjam (DT) Orissa-761 008.
  15. Shibani Institute of Technical Education , At-PO-Chhatabar,Via, Hanla, Bhubaneswar – 752054, Khurda, Orissa
  16. Silicon Institute of Technology, Sason, Sambalpur -763 200, Orissa.
  17. Sophitorium Engineering College, Baniatangi, Khurda
  18. Spintronic Tech. & Advance Resarch At.Po Taraboi P.S. Jatani Dist Khurda, Orissa
  19. Srinix College of Engineering College At-Ranipatna, Dist Balasore-750001 .
  20. Suddhananda Engg. & Research Centre, Phulnakhara Cuttack At Anchhipur P.O. Bhatapatna Orissa
  21. Synergy Institute of Technology, At : Bhimpur,P.O. Jagannathpur, P.S. Balianta, Dist:Khurda, Orissa
  22. Vedang Institute of Technology, Durga Prasad, P.O. Ramachandi, Dist. Khurda, Orissa
  23. Vikash College of Engineering for Women (VCEW) plot No. 2766, P.S. Dist- Baragarh, Odisha
  24. Vivekananda Inst. Of Tech., at Chhatabar Dandi, Chaatabar, Orissa
  25. Xavier Institute of Tech., Princess Avencue Ghangapatna Bhubaneswar Dist Khurda Orissa

Among the above Silicon Sambalpur, IIIT, and Bhubaneswar Institute of Technology (BIT) are colleges which I would recommend the most. As I wrote earlier, I would even say that students with good enough ranks to get CET or UCE may also consider BIT and IIIT seriously. (Disclaimer: As far as I can recall, I am in the advisory board of BIT, Centurion, JITM and was in the advisory board of Silicon some years back.)

13 comments July 25th, 2009

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