Rohini LakshaneJan 29, 2013 18:08:54 IST
Examinations for Class 10 and 12, more commonly known as the ‘boards’, are around a month away and synaptic activity is high. Examify is a new platform for students to take tests for free and hone their skills to crack the next big exam of their lives. Examify, which is currently in beta, predicts questions and patterns for upcoming exams. Predictive algorithms trawl questions from previous years’ examinations and determine the questions and topics that are "trending". So users can choose to view and answer, say, diagram-based questions in the IIT-JEE that were allocated the highest marks or subjective questions for the CBSE Class 10 Geography exam sorted by their difficulty level. The website supports exams for up to Class 12 for the CBSE, ISC, ICSE, IGCSE, SSC and IB. The only competitive exams supported yet are the CLAT and the IIT-JEE. Access to the website is free-of-cost, but users need to request an invitation to register an account.
Dashboard with search and sort fields
According to 18-year-old Angad Nadkarni who founded Examify along with Samudra Neelam Bhuyan, the deal maker in such exams is not merely aptitude, ability or skill, but the methodology used to study and practice what students have learnt. He says Examify has been structured to sift out the noise and enable students to focus on the areas most crucial for them to obtain their desired scores. It can determine that your strength area is algebra of complex numbers, but you need to do better at trigonometry. Examify has a database of around one lakh questions for 19 exams, sorted by many parameters: the name of the exam, its year, the type of question, its difficulty level, the number of marks assigned to it (weightage), the popularity rating of a question, the most answered questions and so on. Students can answer questions by setting a timer and later assign difficulty ratings to questions. They can also verify answers, view entire question papers, view similar questions and bookmark questions.
Question from the IIT-JEE exam (Chemistry), difficulty rating, timer, popularity rating etc.
At the back end, Examify employs natural language processing algorithms and crowdsourced data obtained from users to analyse trends. The predictions by the algorithms get better with use.
Nadkarni reveals that the website launched this month is likely to stay in beta for a few months more, until the database becomes comprehensive and more features are added. The team – Nadkarni, a student of BITS Pilani and a white hat hacker and Bhuyan, an IT engineering graduate and a former GMAT tutor – is collecting old examination papers and crunching the data derived from the questions. They plan to run Examify on a freemium model. The data and major features will remain free, but services such as getting answers verified by an evaluator and asking a teacher a query will cost some moolah. Tutorials come expensive, mock tests aren’t cheap either, and some students just do not have access to the right guidance. Nadkarni says Examify will act as a leveller as the website is based on the user community. Crowdsourced data and trends help keep the service free of cost. “A forum or a chat room for the community to interact or post its queries can become distracting. We intend to have a system in which the query can be answered on the very page where the relevant content is present," he adds. Also in the offing are questions for the AIEEE, BITSAT, AIPMT, NEET and CA exams. Examify has a few thousand users and receives numerous requests for invites everyday. The start-up has received angel funding from Vishal Gondal who also acts as mentor to Nadkarni and Bhuyan.
Public examinations and competitive exams in India are big business built around a culture of expensive private coaching classes and extensive, arduous training. These exams, conducted across the country or in designated states, are taken by a whopping number of students. The IIT-JEE, the gateway to the IITs, is taken by roughly half a million aspirants every year. A website such as Examify that taps into the power of the crowd may change the face of our testing-grading system.
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