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Gurjap
Gurjap • May 6, 2012

Do engineering entrance exams really test aptitude in engineering?

I want to discuss this, because it is of utmost relevance.

How does being able to mug the Canizzaro reaction test my aptitude at engineering in the AIEEE/IIT-JEE exams? Maybe if I wanted to be a Chemical Engineer, yes, but if a situation arose that I had to know this reaction, would my employer want me to apply that from memory?? Hell no, he would just want me to get it right!

I read a piece in Mechanical Engineering Magazine (published by ASME) in which they tested the engineering aptitude of some students enrolled in an engineering course. One question was something like, "if you apply a push in a straight line on a rectangular body on a frictionless surface, when the push is offset from the center of mass, how will the body react?" And the options were like, the body will move in a straight line, the body would rotate, the body would move in a straight line AND rotate.... and so on.

Only ONE guy gave the correct answer. How did he do that? He pushed a paper on his table, like the problem said. Is this, *gasp*, "cheating"?
The question is indeed relevant. Actually you have already answered it in affirmative while actually the post seems to be prejudiced against the exams.The three basic qualities required to be a professional are - Attitude, Aptitude and Analytical Skills (a.k.a. Intelligence). Attitude is a tendency or orientation particularly of mind, classified mainly as negative or positive; is the main driving force behind progressive thinking when positive. Aptitude is summarized term for quickness in learning and understanding. Analytical skill is the ability to reasoning and acting from a perception of parts of problem and their interrelations. (I'm sorry, I am in habit of giving definitions of every term I use, technical or otherwise). Given now your perception that you may mug up a few technical definitions and get through the exam may be probably incorrect. However you may answer a few straight forward questions like that if asked in the interview or test, but certainly not those questions which may be based on analysis of the concepts. Now you have given an example of test conducted by asking a question on application of the force on a body. There lies the attitude, aptitude and analytical skills of the person who passed this question since he tried it on a piece of paper; the others did not since they did not show any of these qualities. So the test did succeed, in my opinion, to choose the most eligible of the candidates for engineering profession. To answer you another question, that it hardly matters whether you memorize something like a particular chemical reaction since in actual life you may not be required to pull it from your memory; I would say if you have learned the basic principle of laying down the equations of chemical reaction, you would not require to memorize it. And that is the test when you are asked about the reaction, you have memorized or you can draw it yourself. However, agreed that there may not be a fool proof method or pattern of conducting the tests and eligibility exams, but that does not mean the examinations may be totally eradicated. They have worked to the extent of about 70-80% in the test of eligibility and that's enough.
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • May 15, 2012
I had a similar question in my mind when I began preparing for Management Entrance exams. Obviously I was only following the crowd and 'PG is a must' was the advise everyone gave me. But then, doing probability related questions, distance-time, DI/DS questions made no sense given that they were meant to see whether I am eligible for a seat in management institute.

It turned out that I was completely wrong. Management now looks like a completely different problem to me now that I'm practicing it. You don't need to be a quick-math genius to be a successful manager. No wonder I gave up the thought of getting into management institutes just a month before the CAT; and that decision was not at all harder after wasting 1 year studying things I'd never use.

I now firmly believe that the aptitude tests are just a mechanism of eliminating candidates who don't perform well during the exam hours so that the whole selection process is made simpler. That's all about it, it does not check your aptitude for engineering.

That's why we on CrazyEngineers consider that engineering is more about 'attitude' than a formal degree in engineering or certificate in technical course.
The_Big_K
I had a similar question in my mind when I began preparing for Management Entrance exams. Obviously I was only following the crowd and 'PG is a must' was the advise everyone gave me. But then, doing probability related questions, distance-time, DI/DS questions made no sense given that they were meant to see whether I am eligible for a seat in management institute.

It turned out that I was completely wrong. Management now looks like a completely different problem to me now that I'm practicing it. You don't need to be a quick-math genius to be a successful manager. No wonder I gave up the thought of getting into management institutes just a month before the CAT; and that decision was not at all harder after wasting 1 year studying things I'd never use.

I now firmly believe that the aptitude tests are just a mechanism of eliminating candidates who don't perform well during the exam hours so that the whole selection process is made simpler. That's all about it, it does not check your aptitude for engineering.

That's why we on CrazyEngineers consider that engineering is more about 'attitude' than a formal degree in engineering or certificate in technical course.
If it is not an examination then what it could be to test your aptitude for a professional course, so that the capacity of the professional colleges may be effectively utilized. I think there has been a effort by everybody to draw a connection between the those eligibility exams and their utility in life. There is no such utility you will find. So this may be wrong. If we look at most successful scientists who have contributed to the field of science or even engineering like Issac Newton, T A Edison, Albert Einstein or likes did not even attend the formal school. Those examples don't prove that every single person is eligible, but they are exceptions, or then educational institutes would have existed and then let any one to get admission and only to find that it is beyond the apprehension capabilities of the individual, high drop out ratio and hence reduced effective utilization of the capacity.

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