Engineering aspirants have started registering online for JEE (Main) while aspiring teachers have submitted forms for this year’s second UGC-NET, part of an estimated 20 lakh who appear every year for a number of competitive exams. Year after year, for candidates left wondering which of the objective-type questions they got right, there has been little help from the authorities conducting the exams. Some put only the questions online, some don’t do even that, and few upload both questions and answers. The result has been a number of RTI queries for answer keys, and the mushrooming of private publications and coaching centres.
A look at key competitive exams, and how much information on questions and answers is available after they have been taken:
The country’s highest examination authority organises the Civil Services Exam, besides Combined Medical Service, Combined Defence Service, Indian Engineering Service, Indian Forest Service and various other exams. After a number of court cases, the UPSC has posted online the question papers for the 2009-12 exams — except those for the Civil Services mains. And even for the Civil Services prelims (now called CSAT) and all the other UPSC exams, the answers are not yet being provided. This is despite repeated RTI applications, Central Information Commission orders and court cases. The UPSC is, in fact, fighting disclosure orders in higher courts.
The UGC is inconsistent between two key exams it conducts. For UGC-NET, held twice a year for aspiring university teachers, the UGC has put online all question papers since 2009, but the answer keys have not been provided. For CSIR-UGC NET, on the other hand, both the question papers and the answer keys for the June 2012 exam are on the website.
It is organised by Agricultural Science Recruitment Board. Neither the question papers nor the answer keys are available in the public domain. Close to 25,000 students candidates appear every year and many of them are fighting for this information under the RTI Act.
JEE (Main) has become the first-level eligibility test for admission to undergraduate courses at IITs, apart from NITs, IIITs, government-funded technical institutes, and several others. In its previous format, it was known was AIEEE. The CBSE is the authority and till last year it had not been providing either the question papers or the answer keys. The CBSE once informed an RTI applicant that it “has made provision to provide the answer keys