JEE Main – Online versus Offline

Since JEE has started both online and offline version of the test, students have been facing the big question. Which should they choose? This is not an easy decision. The doubt lingers whether one gets selected for IITs and top schools or not. If the student clears, the common doubt is whether he or she should have scored a better rank in the other version. If one is not selected then there is more doubt on whether the other version would have been a better decision. Let’s look at both the systems and discuss pros and cons.

OFFLINE TEST: Advantages

Familiarity: All of us are familiar with this test pattern. You are given a question paper, you go through it, select what is easier and start solving them first and then try the moderately difficult ones and then at the end, the hardest one. We are fed on this diet since our childhood.

Look and feel: Despite the widespread use of laptop, computers, tablets, and pads, we still feel more comfortable with paper. Paper doesn’t strain your eyes. It is easier, connects with your mind faster, and conveys the meaning without any nuisance such as glare of screen, time ticker, and myriad other images and icons.

Comprehensive view of the paper: You get to see all the questions at once which gives you a way to plan your time accordingly. You can select the easiest ones to start with and gain confidence and composure. The psychological part is also very important in any competitive examination.

Play with pictures on the paper: If you are given a diagram to work with in a question, you can simply put additional information in the same diagram. In case of online tests, you have to redraw the diagram and then put the additional information. Hence offline tests save time.

ONLINE TEST: Disadvantages

The only disadvantage I see is availability of papers for rough work. You have to do all your calculations in the question paper itself with whatever space JEE organizers relented to leave for you. The other one is filling the circles for your answer. This is time consuming and worse is that you can’t even change your answer if you wrongly fill another circle.

Now let’s look at online test in details.

ONLINE TEST: Advantages

More time for preparation: 1 week is the time lag between offline and online test. There is absolutely no reason to give this extra week. Only JEE organizers can tell you the reason for this. But the reality is that online test takers get one extra week.

Learn from the mistakes of your offline peers: This may sound unimportant or even trivial but it does help to know what to avoid in the actual test. For example, in JEE Mains 2017, mathematics was lengthy. Students who started with mathematics and did not keep track of time, lost on marks. The lesson learnt was that you restrict your time for each subject.

Availability of rough papers: This is where online test scores big time over offline. Plenty of rough papers are available for calculations and diagram. You don’t have to struggle between the texts to do your calculation as in the case of offline test.

Option to change answer: If you want to change your answer, just go to the question on the screen and select other answer. This is huge advantage over offline

ONLINE TEST: Disadvantages

Unfamiliarity is a big disadvantage. We tend to use screens for entertainment purpose mostly, like for light reading, chatting, looking for information etc. But looking at a question on the screen and solving it on the paper is not very user friendly. You have to move your head up and down and oscillate between question and your calculations.

Though there are pros and cons of both the systems, students should choose what suits their habit or comfort. However, when in doubt, go for paper test.

~ Pankaj Priyadarshi


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