The guy at the counter called out to me, “Come forward and stand against the wall”. He was arrogant and I was afraid. I was photographed from three different angles, my fingerprints were taken and my credentials were verified. The only thing that didn’t happen was a full body check. (Thank God! I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to think straight during the papers.) I thought,” What have I gotten myself into??? You could walk out of a bank with lakhs without undergoing so many formalities.”
This was moments before my Online Entrance test, ENAT for Manipal Institute of Technology which coincidentally turned out to be my last and only hope to get into a decent college.
During the wait outside, when the previous batch was giving its exam (from 9 am to 12 noon), my friend (for now let’s just call him Unlucky C) and I were standing outside the exam centre and were damn nervous. But always an optimistic, we looked at the positive side…NO NEGATIVE MARKING. While the others had some book in their hands trying to mug up formulas at the last moment, we on the other hand were anxiously deciding which option to mark as the answers to the questions we did not know (all the questions are MCQs). After a long debate we decided on which one of the four options we would mark for all the answers we did not know, and soon we went inside.
All of us were now seated in front of a computer screen which now displayed the score of the candidate from the previous batch… my screen showed 161 out of 240 (which I later came to know was very good). On my left was a dark-complexioned boy with specs who looked like the studious types…On my right, an even more studious looking fat girl. I became more nervous.
After being told all the rules (which included asking if anyone in the room did not know how to use a computer and then instructions on how to use a mouse and keyboard (even though there were no raised hands) and given rough sheets (unlike the other online exam we were encouraged to use as many number of sheets as possible) the exam began. And I desperately tried to see the computer screen of the students sitting next to me but the designing of the exam was one step ahead, everybody got the same but random questions so you cannot copy unless you have a very strong memory. Damn!
The first ten questions, all Physics. Well I could answer only one question which was on velocity and acceleration. Disappointed as I was I attempted random questions and I was able to answer a few… only to realize moments later that most of them were English. Never the less I was proud of myself. I moved forward with renewed vigour answering even more random questions, but still trying to peep into the screen of the girl beside me who was writing on the sheet very vigorously ( if she was a little faster the paper would have caught fire) but alas, different questions.
Everybody used to say that one cannot complete the 240 questions in the given 3 hrs and one should be ready to just randomly mark the answers, but I managed to finish the paper half an hour before (finish the paper here meaning reaching the end with lots of questions left unmarked in the middle). I managed to recheck my answers and was very surprised to know that many of answers were option B. I thought, “Should I mark the remaining questions (about 50) as what my friend and I had decided outside the centre before the exam, or should I go with B, the more popular answer on my computer. Hmmmm….. and B it was.”
The time got over and finally the scores were displayed on each individual screen…I got 164 which I though was pretty decent until I saw the 84 and 124 on my left and right. Well I actually wanted to laugh at the person who said, “I fully agree with the claim that there is no correlation between success and luck.”
I was the last one to leave the centre after completing all the unnecessary formalities and then I realized that my friend had already left and so I decided to call him. He sounded pretty happy as he had got 124 and it is then I realized that we both had decided to mark a certain Option C.
Well all I can say is that he still can’t seem to forgive me , but how is it a big deal…just 40 marks and a difference of 4000 ranks….Yes I was the AIR 352 for MIT that year and I am proud of it…or was proud of it.
If you are reading this and you are in the same position of Cracking Manipal ENAT in which I was two years back, please pay heed to my advice and don’t repeat what I did…Well I opted for Electronics and Communication and you may talk to some ENC seniors to know what that feels like or doesn’t feel like. I’m not sure.
Lucky B signing off!!