After passing the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations, the next big thing for students is university admission tests. With admission test season knocking at the door, several important questions pop up in the students’ minds. Tahmid Ul Islam discussed with university teachers and students to find answers to 10 Frequently Asked Questions about admission tests.
1. Is coaching mandatory?
Students are often concerned about the necessity of joining university admission coaching centre. Some questions found to have frequented admission seekers’ minds are -- Is coaching mandatory? Which coaching centre should one join? Should preference be given a good coaching centre or to one nearest home. We wanted answers to these questions from Jawad Abdullah who stood 5th in the BUET admission test in 2016.
“It is not obligatory to get admitted to a coaching centre. It’s enough if anyone can study diligently at home. Getting admitted even in a lot of coaching centres won’t help if you don’t study regularly at home. But the model tests of coaching centres are really helpful. I think it is best to select the coaching centre nearest your home considering the perennial traffic congestion of Dhaka city,” Jawad said.
2. Text book or admission coaching guide—which should be prioritised?
This is an easy question to answer. You’ve to keep in mind that the examiner would pick questions from the text book, not from the guide books. Successful students of previous years suggest not spending too much time on guide books. “It’s prudent to give preference to HSC text books. Things become easier if you take a certain text book as a reference. Guide books can work as supplement for additional information and practice. Always keep in mind that there are incongruities and mistakes in those guide books,” said Swapnil Abdullah, who stood second in 2017 medical college examination test.
3. Which documents would be needed?
Some documents should be kept ready beforehand so that you don’t have to worry during applying or on the test day. Main copies of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and HSC certificate, admit card, registration card, mark sheet, birth certificate, testimonial certificate from college and recent photographs (better if attested by a class-I gazetted officer) —all these documents should be kept in a file. Also the admission test’s admit card should be kept cautiously. It is better if you keep xeroxed copies of these documents.
4. Where to get information of different university’s admission tests?
Daily newspapers and websites of related universities are reliable source for all the information needed for admission test. Also keep an eye on Swapno Nie’s Facebook page (www.fb.com/Swapno.Nie) . Do not trust news from any unauthorised source. Never take it for granted that the rules and regulations would be the same as previous year. Make sure you check any information related to admission tests so that you do not have to regret because of a minor mistake.
5. Where to stay while attending exams at different cities?
Admission seekers have to go to different cities for tests in different universities. Staying at an unknown city often becomes a big challenge. ‘I contacted seniors of respective universities before going there. They arranged for my stay,” said Chattogram University of Engineering and Technology’s second year student Sirazam Munira. Residential students of universities always arrange accommodation for admission seekers at residential halls.
6. Subject or University- what to prefer?
This is a tough question as preference varies from person to person. What should a student do if he does not get chance in the subject of his choice in the university of his choice but get the subject of his choice in less preferred university ? What does Robi Ten Minute School’s founder Ayman Sadiq think about such a puzzling question? “I might get a bit emotional answering this question. I gave importance to the subject rather than the university when I faced this dilemma. But, now after my university life I understand that sometimes environment or context of a university can play a bigger role than the subject. So I would rather suggest preferring a university. But if you have immense ‘passion’ for any particular subject, you can go for that.”
7. I’m preparing for a certain faculty in a certain subject- is it ok?
‘I think it’s not wise to apply for only one discipline. There should be at least one alternative. Uncertainty is very common feature of university admission test. Anything can happen. Exams can be bad due to illness or any other accident even though you are very well prepared. So, I think there should be an alternative. Question patterns of different university admission tests are sometimes very similar. So a student can take this chance,” said SM Hossain Ahmed, a sophomore of Dhaka University’s Institute of Business Studies. He maintains that taking more than one admission tests is not a waste of time, rather it gives a student a good chance to practice.
8. What if test dates of more than one university collide?
Students often get confused when two or more university fixes same date for admission test. Naznin Islam, a third year student of Cumilla Medical College, said she faced same problem. “I’m sufferer of this problem. I’ve seen a lot of my friends get confused over this type of problem. Under such a circumstance, a student may take into consider facts such as which subject, university fits him/her better or which test he/she is better prepared for.”
9. What if I fall short of eligibility in my preferred university?
It is not uncommon to fall short of requirement sought in circular at the university you have taken preparation for. Do not let yourself down in such case. Remember there is always an alternative option. Dipankar Talukder wanted to study at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) but failed. He then studied physics in Dhaka University and became a renowned scientist. He is one of the team of scientists who detected gravitational waves with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in the United States. Such examples are not uncommon at all.
10. Is it possible to study at a good private university with lower cost?
Private universities provide various scholarships for the students with good results in SSC and HSC. Scholarship information is available on their websites. Some universities also provide scholarships to students with achievement in extracurricular activities. Also, universities offer tuition fees waiver for good academic results after admission. Many universities provide stipends for students with financial problems. To get detailed information on it, students can directly go to universities and get hands-on information.
*This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo’s weekly supplementary Swapno Niye on Sunday, has been rewritten in English by Galib Ashraf.