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Online Courses and Mock Tests - The Secret to Success in GATE, NEET and More!
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Nov 27, 2019 0 Likes 0 Comments

Online Courses and Mock Tests - The Secret to Success in GATE, NEET and More!

Into the Career Game: The Rise of Online Coaching Classes and Mock Tests for Competitive Exams

The Indian education system is in an extremely transformative stage presently. The Indian education structure can be aptly divided into two categories - formal and informal. The formal education branch consists of primary and secondary schools as well as colleges for graduation, post-graduation, degrees, and diplomas. Informal education, on the other hand, complements formal education with pre-primary and vocational education as well as coaching classes.

The informal education sector in India is one of the largest in the world. With the entry of online education, the supplementary education sector is only set to grow in the future. For example, a study by KPMG and Google has found out that the online education market in India is expected to grow from USD 247 million in 2016 to around USD 1.96 billion in 2021. The online coaching and test preparation segment is one of the fastest-growing in India. This category of online education is expected to grow USD 43 million in 2016 to USD 515 million in 2021 at a CAGR of 64%.

Online education in the form of coaching classes and courses have been positively welcomed by aspiring students and they form a major source for preparing students for competitive exams. Previously, private tuitions were a major form of dispensing preparatory courses for competitive exams. However, presently, online coaching classes and courses have shown a great potential for growth with the most number of students opting for this medium of learning. This can be understood from a survey conducted on around 10,000 students who appeared for competitive exams such as GATE, JEE, and NEET for over a period of three months. The survey revealed that around 90% of students preferred online coaching classes and courses as opposed to offline ones. Moreover, among the ones who prefer online coaching, 63% were discovered to prefer live classes to recorded lectures.

Looking back, the test prep industry has seen major growth from the times of unregulated home-tuitions. Several factors have led to the rise in the number of aspirants opting for competitive exams:

  • Employment growth
  • Higher educational and professional channels
  • More corporate and private institutions
  • Technological advancement

Some of the major disruptions in the test preparation sector are:

  • Introduction of mobile learning - Many content providers have launched mobile applications to meet exam-specific needs and provide modular content for students who prefer using mobile devices.
  • Rise of online platforms as content providers - Previously while online platforms formed a liaison between students and content providers, presently the online platforms themselves act as content providers.
  • Rise of courses in regional languages - Students who are more comfortable in regional languages demand online courses offered in regional languages.
  • Diverse range of online mock test series - These online test series allow candidates to compare their marks with others to help measure their comparative performance and realise the areas of improvement.
  • Individualisation - The online coaching classes and courses are customised to meet the individual learning needs of each student. As per research, one-to-one coaching provides better results than group instructions.
  • Accessibility - Course content is no longer limited to the students attending private tuition but available online to all leading to the globalisation of education.
  • Two-way learning - In the social learning era, both students and instructors interact with each other online. The students can ask questions and doubts and instructors can offer feedback.
  • Combined competitive exams - Similar exams on one broad subject are brought under one common platform. For example, various state-level engineering tests and high school board exams conduct a common exam known as JEE.

In India, there are about 50 major competitive exams offered by several renowned institutions for admissions. Each student on an average prepares for around half a dozen exams starting from their +2 stage. The number of these tests have risen in the last decade with several students from one academic field sitting for exams of a different academic field.

All competitive exams can be classified into two categories - aptitude and knowledge-based exams. The primary difference between the two lie in their subject matter. While aptitude exams such as CAT, CLAT and GMAT test the application of students' knowledge from school, knowledge-based exams such as IIT-JEE, GATE, and PMT test the students' depth of knowledge on a particular subject.

To prepare for these competitive exams, many students opt for online test series which helps them in a lot of ways:

  • Provides good practice
  • Gives a real feel of the exam
  • Helps understand individual capability
  • Improves speed
  • Boosts confidence
  • Helps in better time management

List of the Major Competitive Entrance Exams

GATE

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is a nationalised computer-based examination for recruiting undergraduate subjects in the departments of engineering and science. After passing the GATE exam, you can get a Masters of Engineering (ME), Masters in Technology (M.Tech) and direct PhD admissions to prestigious institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), and Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs). On behalf of the National Coordination Board (NCB - GATE), Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource & Development (MHRD), Government of India, the exam is conducted by IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur, IIT Guwahati, IIT Delhi, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Roorkee, and Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bangalore.

GATE can help candidates seek admission to various programs in Engineering, Architecture, and several other branches of science. Qualifying for GATE is a compulsory process to get admitted to the courses by MHRD-affiliated institutes such as IITs, NITs, IIITs, IISC, and Government-Funded Technical Institutes (GFTIs).

Apart from local students, GATE has now opened its doors to international students too, from countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Apart from getting admission in ME, MTech, and PhD programs, GATE can also help you with the following:

  • M.Tech/M.E./ M.S. - Acing the GATE can help you get you a UGC scholarship which can help you get placements in national and international private and public organisations.
  • PhDs - It can also help those interested in research and development to do their PhDs from IITs and NITs.
  • NITIE Mumbai - You can also get admission to  NITIE Mumbai, known for Industrial Engineering, Manufacturing Management, and Project Management and get PGDM/PGDIE diplomas.
  • PSUs - Public sector undertakings such as HPCL, BPCL, IOCL, NTPC, GAIL, BHEL, BEL, and NALCO
  • Junior or Senior Research Fellow - You can be a JRF or SRF in reputed places such as ISRO, DRDO, BARC, IITs, and CSIR.
  • Fellowship programs in IIMs - It's similar to PhD and can earn you stipends or grants in specialisations such as Economics, Behavioural Sciences, Finance, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Operations Management, Strategic Management, and Public Policy and Management.
  • Study Abroad -  Since the GATE score has global appeal, you can use it to opt for an overseas education program in Singapore and Germany.
  • Foreign Universities - You can also get admissions in foreign universities such as  National University of Singapore or Technical University of Munich.
  • Research - You can opt to do research in India in organisations such as DRDO.

You can opt for an online GATE test series to help you prepare for cracking the final exam.

NEET

The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is a national examination conducted by the National Testing Agency for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH, veterinary and other medical and paramedical courses in India. NEET is conducted yearly in around 154 centres in India and is given by around 15,00,000 people. Considered the bedrock for future doctors, NEET is one of the most important medical entrance examinations in India.

NEET can help you with the following admissions:

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) - This 5-year course comprising Basic, Pre and Para medical subjects is one of the most important graduate courses to become a doctor. It's a combination of medicine and surgery degrees.
  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) - This 5-year degree with a compulsory one-year internship is regulated by the Dental Council of India (DCI).
  • Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) - This professional medicine course after +2 focuses on ayurvedic medicine. It's a 5.5-year course with a one-year internship.
  • Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS) - This too is a 5.5-year course with a one-year internship and focuses on homoeopathy.
  • Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) - This undergraduate program focuses on Unani medicine and surgery and is for a course of 5.5 years with a one-year internship.
  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT) - This is a 4.5-year course with a 6-month internship that focuses on physiotherapy.
  • Bachelor of Veterinary Science (B.VSc.) - This 5-year undergraduate course focuses on imparting academic and practical knowledge in veterinary sciences.
  • Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yoga (BNYS) - This degree focuses on integrative medicine that covers both naturopathic medicine as well as modern science.
  • Bachelor of Siddha Medicine and Surgery (BSMS) - This 5.5-year course with a one-year internship focuses on Siddha medicine and is governed by the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM).

Before the final exam, you can take NEET online test series and mock tests which will keep you equipped for the final exam. 

IITJEE

Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), popularly known as JEE Main is a national exam conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) to provide admissions to BE/BTech, BPlan and BArch for IIITs, NITs and other Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs) across India. You also need to qualify the JEE to sit for JEE Advanced, the exam for undergraduate programs by IITs.

The benefits of attempting the JEE are:

  • NITs - Qualifying the JEE Mains can help you get through any of the NITs.
  • IIITs, GFTIs, and Government Colleges - The next best set of institutes after the IITs and NITs are the IIITs, GFTIs, and the Government Colleges.
  • Other Engineering Exams - Apart from the JEE Mains, you can also sit for other state-level tests such as WBJEE, KCET, COMEDK.
  • B.Tech Programs - You can join a B.Tech course after the B.Sc. course from any university such as Manipal or Calcutta University.
  • Reappear for JEE Mains - The exam can be given twice so you can attempt the exam again.
  • Apply to private universities - You can also apply to some of the private universities which may have their own entrance exams.
  • Opt for other fields - You can choose any of the upcoming industries such as nanotechnology and business analytics. 

To help you prepare effectively for the final exam, you can enroll for an online JEE Main test series.

IBPS

The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) are entrance exams conducted to recruit probationary officers and management trainees for the public sector banks in the country. The IBPS exam comprise two phases - Prelim and Main. The candidates who clear both these rounds are eligible for a Common Interview (CI) round.

Once selected, the IBPS Probationary Officer (PO) holds the designation of an Assistant Manager at a Junior Management Grade 1 (JMG - Scale 1) also known as Scale 1 Officer or Asst. Manager. After joining, there is an initial induction training program by the Management Training Academies of the bank. The Asst. Managers can be posted at different branches, Head Offices, Corporate Offices, or Zonal Offices, or in specialised branches such as treasury branches. They are in a probation period for 2 years during which they may get several postings and transfers. Once the probation period is completed, they get their permanent postings as Assistant Managers or Deputy Managers.

Taking some IBPS test series can help you confidently perform well in the final exam.

IBDP

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) is an internationally recognised program conducted for students aged between 16 and 19. The IBDP is a two-years program that can be taken up in the final two years of high school to allow students to apply for university and higher education.

The program has 6 groups from where students can choose 6 subjects, with 3-4 higher-level subjects and 3 standard-level subjects. The divisions are as follows:

  • Group 1 (Language and Literature)
    • Literature
    • Language and Literature
    • Literature and Performance
  • Group 2 (Language Acquisition)
    • Language Ab initio
    • Language B
    • Classical Languages
  • Group 3 (Individuals and Societies)
    • Business Management Economics
    • Geography
    • Global Politics
    • History
    • Information Technology
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Social and cultural Anthropology
    • World Religions
  • Group 4 (Experimental Sciences)
    • Biology
    • Computer Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Design Technology
    • Physics
    • Sports, Exercise and Health
  • Group 5 (Mathematics and Computer Science)
    • Mathematical Studies Standard Level
    • Mathematical Studies Higher Level
  • Group 6 (Arts)
    • Dance
    • Music
    • Film
    • Theatre
    • Visual Arts

The IBDP curriculum consists of 3 components - Theory of Knowledge, Creativity, Activity and Service, and extended Essay. The assessment process comprises of an Internal Assessment and an External Assessment.

APPSC

The Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) conducts a number of entrance exams for recruiting eligible and qualified candidates for state and other administrative services.

The exam is conducted in three stages - Prelims, Mains, and Interview. Qualifying the APPSC exam is a great opportunity for becoming civil servants and earning positions such as Deputy Collector and Assistant Commissioner (Tax) in the Andhra Pradesh government.

IES

The Indian Engineering Services (IES) exam or the Engineering Services Exam (ESE) is a national level entrance exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). It's mainly conducted to recruit for engineering positions for several departments under Govt. of India for the following branches:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering

It's conducted in three stages - IES Prelims, IES Mains, and Personality Test. Qualifying the exam can earn you prestigious positions in the Union Government such as:

  • Civil Engineering
    • Indian Railway Service of Engineers
    • Central Engineering Service
    • Indian Defense Service of Engineers
    • Central Water Engineering
    • Border Roads Engineering Service
  • Mechanical Engineering
    • Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers
    • Central Power Engineering Service (Central Electricity Authority)
    • Indian Navy
    • Indian Supply Service (Directorate General of Supply and Disposals)
    • Indian Naval Armament Service
  • Electrical Engineering
    • Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers
    • Electrical Appliance
    • Central Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Service (Central Public Works Department)
    • Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)
    • Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME)
  • Electronics and Communications Engineering
    • Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers
    • Indian Inspection Service
    • Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing
    • Indian Telecommunication Service
    • Indian Naval Armament Service

Online Vs Offline Coaching

Most of the coaching classes or courses for entrance exams are either online or offline. Offline coaching refers to a traditional classroom while online coaching is a simple, computer-based approach.

Here are the major differences between online and offline coaching:

Parameters

Online Coaching

Offline Coaching

Time

Can be accessed at any time. This flexibility helps students to schedule classes at a convenient time.

More time-consuming and less flexible since travelling to attend classes takes time.

Cost

Online course materials are mostly available free-of-charge or at a minimal cost. Moreover, students have the choice to buy only the resources they need.

The fees for offline courses are higher since they have to include location, space, materials, and human resource costs.

Access to resources

Students can access the online resources from anywhere on their computer at just the click of a button.

Printing a huge number of resources is a hassle. Moreover, they are bulky and difficult to update.

Self-Study

Online coaching promotes self-study since each student has their own unique journey and can follow their own schedule.

Offline coaching mostly happens in a classroom format which fails to give personal attention to each student and offer quality teaching.

Updation of resources

Online course resources can be easily updated and made available.

Updating offline coaching materials can take a lot of time and printing them to make them available is cumbersome.

Quality

It's easy to offer quality lectures and videos from experts in different geographical locations.

The quality of lectures can take a toss because it may be difficult to rope in experts from different locations all the time. Moreover, the experts can vary from one centre to another causing a lapse in consistent coaching.

Online Mock Tests and Courses

GATE

To qualify for the GATE you can give some GATE mock tests after studying the question patterns.

The eligibility factors for applying for the exam are:

  • Final year in Bachelor's Degree in Engineering/Technology
  • Final year in Bachelor's Degree in Architecture
  • Final year in Bachelor's Degree of Four-Year Program in Science
  • Final year in Master's Degree of Science/ Mathematics/ Statistics/Computer Applications
  • Second or higher year in Four-year Integrated Master's degree in Engineering/Technology
  • Fourth or higher Five-year Integrated Master's degree in Engineering/ Technology
  • Final year in Five-year integrated M.Sc.
  • Professional qualifications equivalent to B.E. and B.Tech from societies recognised by UPSC/AICTE/ MHRD

The exam pattern is as follows:

  • There are two sections - General Aptitude (10 questions with total 15 marks) and Technical (25 questions with total 25 marks) + Engineering Mathematics (30 questions with a total of 60 marks).
  • The total number of questions is 65 and the total marks is 100.
  • There are two types of questions - multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and numerical answer questions.
  • The various subject streams are:
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Electrical Engineering
    • Electronics and Communications
    • Computer Science and IT
    • Civil Engineering
    • Instrumentation Engineering
    • Aerospace Engineering
    • Agricultural Engineering
    • Architecture and Planning
    • Biotechnology
    • Chemical Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Geology and Geophysics
    • Mathematics
    • Mining Engineering
    • Metallurgical Engineering
    • Petroleum Engineering
    • Life Sciences

NEET

The eligibility criteria for the exam are:

  • The nationality of candidates should be Indian nationals, Non-resident Indians, Overseas Citizen of India, Persons with Indian Origin, and Foreign Nationals.
  • The minimum age for sitting for the exams is 17 years.
  • The candidates must have cleared +2 from a recognised institute or an open university or are appearing for the same that year
  • The mandatory subjects include Physics, Chemistry and Biology in +2 or Biology as an additional subject.
  • The minimum marks are 50% for general category, 45% for PWD category, and 40% for SC/ST/OBC.

The exam pattern is as follows:

  • There are a total of 180 questions and the total marks are 720.
  • The number of questions in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology are 45, 45, and 90 respectively.
  • The questions are in the multiple-choice questions (MCQs) type.

APPSC

For qualifying the APPSC test series, you can examine the question pattern and give the online mock test.

The eligibility criteria for the exam are:

  • For post codes 01 to 04, 06 to 08, 10 to 12 & 14 to 19, Bachelor's Degree from a recognised Indian University incorporated by or under Central Act, Provincial Act, or State Act or an Indian Institution recognised by the UGC or an equivalent qualification.
  • For post code 05, A Bachelor's Degree in B.E. (Fire) in the absence of whom candidates from any degree will be considered.
  •  For post code 13, Bachelor's Degree from a recognised Indian University incorporated by or under Central Act, Provincial Act, or State Act or an Indian Institution recognised by the UGC or an equivalent with special preference to people holding degrees in Sociology.
  • For post code 09, a Degree in commerce or economics or mathematics of a university recognised by the UGC with a second class in the subject or a CA of UK or India or an Incorporated Accountant (London).

The exam pattern is as follows:

  • The Prelims exam comprises two papers - General Studies and General Aptitude
  • Both have 120 objective-type (MCQ) questions
  • The Mains exam comprises seven papers out of which 2 are qualifying papers and five are papers counted for merit ranking.
  • The questions are of essay descriptive type and the maximum marks are 150 each.

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