Most CUET toppers scored 95% plus in class XII, but for a few, a second chance

“A second chance to launch my career (to represent India as an IFS officer)…” is how 20-year-old Shayema, a resident of Batla House, New Delhi, sees her percentile score 100 in the recently conducted Common University Entrance Test (CUET) to degree programs.

He scored 83.8% in his Class 12 exam. It’s a score that, going through the traditional cut-offs, would have kept him out of what he wants to study: History in a Delhi University college. Now, as she says, she has a second chance and an almost certain shot.

Shayema’s case is a textbook example of what CUET was designed to do: to level the playing field for university applications across tables and regions and class XII notes. At the top of the pyramid, however, there are only a few like Shayema.

On September 16, the National Testing Agency (NTA) announced the names of 114 CUET toppers who scored in the 100th percentile in at least four or more subjects. The Indian Express interviewed 103 of the 114 toppers and identified two telling patterns:

🔴 Most of the toppers are mainly CBSE students and most of them had scored more than 95% in class 12 exams.

In fact, 100 of the top 103 are students from CBSE affiliated schools. Two had taken the Indian School Certificate (ISC) examination in class 12 and only one was not a student of a national board. None was a state board student. Incidentally, more than three-fourths of the total 14.9 lakh CUET examinees are from CBSE schools, followed by Uttar Pradesh Board, Bihar Board and CISCE.

🔴 Of the 103 leaders The Indian Express spoke to, only 16 had scored less than 95% marks in the Board exam and only one (Shayema) had less than 90%, which would have made his admission to a central university of first level like DU challenge in the cutting system.

🔴 Most of the top performers, 62 out of 103, are from New Delhi and the National Capital Region. The proportion of toppers from southern states is negligible. While Kerala had three candidates in the top 100 percentile and one from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka or even Maharashtra and Goa had none.

Significantly, Tamil Nadu had opposed CUET because it would put state board students at a disadvantage. The state’s contention was that the entrance test is based on the NCERT syllabus which would give CBSE students an edge. As CUET was announced, the Tamil Nadu assembly had even passed a resolution urging the central government to drop the CUET proposal, saying it would not give equal opportunity to students who have studied in different schemes state board studies across the country.

Among the top scorers, Shayema ​​is an exception: the only one among the 103 hundred percentile scorers who belongs to a local board and who has still managed to make CUET work in her favor.

“I can understand the objections of state board students because the entrance test is based on NCERT syllabus, so there is a natural advantage for CBSE students. Luckily for me, though I belong to Jamia Millia Islamia school board, the pattern they follow is CBSE and we studied NCERT books,” said Shayema.

Shayema ​​was born in Darbhanga, Bihar, from where she went to Kuwait as a child when her father found work. After three years, his family moved to Dubai where he studied at an ICSE school for six years before returning to India in 2017 when he was in class 8. The constant changes in schooling and his health they took their toll and he dropped out of school. for a year before enrolling in a school in Darbhanga the following year.

Shayema, who lives in Batla House, New Delhi with her younger brother, is a UPSC aspirant. “My father works in a private company in the administrative department and my mother is a housewife. They have dreamed of a bright future for us, that’s why they allow us to stay away from home and study. I want to be an IFS officer and represent my country to the world. I want to show that girls in my community can do well too,” she said.

“But at the same time, I will say this, had it not been for CUET, I would not have had the opportunity to study in the top institutions of Delhi University because my class 12 marks were only 83.80 per cent. CUET gave me a second chance to correct my mistakes,” he said.

Most of the students with relatively low class XII scores but toppers in CUET echoed their views.

“Because of my low marks in Hindi, I had a low overall percentage and my dream college is Hindu. If it wasn’t for CUET, I would never have been able to get into Hindu College. Thanks to CUET, I got a second chance to improve and help me. Now I have a good chance of getting there. I want to study history in St. Stephen’s College or Hindu College,” said Adarsh ​​Kumar Dubey (18), a student of National High School from Calcutta. He scored 92.4% in CBSE Board Exam.

Pooja Jain, 19, a student of Loreto House in Kolkata, who scored 97.6% in Class 12, is one of two ISC students among the top 103 CUET to score 100 percentile in four subjects .

“Was CUET helpful? Yes, because my class XII percentage was not enough to get into SRCC, Delhi University. But I also know some friends who scored 99% in boards but not they did so well in CUET, so they lost their place in the top colleges,” he said.

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