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Students use Facebook to help prepare for exams

10-December-2010
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Students use Facebook to help prepare for exams

The board exams for both class 10 and class 12 are a crucial time for students in India, one that can decide the rest of their lives. For students facing these exams, every little extra bit of information can make a difference to their careers and goals. Over the years, students have come to rely on past question papers to help them prepare for the exams, and it has been a longstanding ritual to collect papers from one’s seniors and neighbourhood stationary stores often sell collections of old question papers as well.

For a group of class 11 students in Karnataka though, this wasn’t the most satisfactory solution, and so they’ve set up www.copychit.com – a website which collects question papers and allows students to download them for free, or discuss strategies on the website.

Founder Vaishak VK says, “Last year, we were advised to work out the previous year’s question papers. It was really hard for me to get those question papers since I didn’t know many seniors and the ones I knew had given away their papers to someone else. The state education board had uploaded some model question papers they had made on their website. Whenever we went to see those papers, the server used to crash and the files were inaccessible.”

“I thought that a simple website that anyone could visit and gather papers from would be a useful thing for me and my friends, but I couldn’t find these resources, so with a few friends, I got together and bought a domain to start the website. I scanned the few papers I had, and sent an SMS to all of my friends, telling them to see the website,” Vaishak says.

That’s when things started to grow. Other students in the school also had papers and they started mailing in scans as well, so that instead of the usual army of photocopies that floats around schools at exam time, people were visiting the website whenever they wanted to check things. At that point, the school got involved in the project as well.

Vaishak says, “Our principal liked the idea and he started sending me papers as well, and helped us get copies of every paper that we had from 2005.” The idea is still nascent, just a month old, but friends have started writing to colleges and tuition centers and collecting papers from them as well. The response has been positive so far, and the site now boasts of school and college entrance papers being distributed for free, including entrance papers for popular engineering entrance tests, including the CET and JEE.”

He further says, “The goal of Copy Chit is to create this space where students will be able to share materials like notes and question papers. Right now, people are able to submit papers by emailing them to us, but in future we are thinking of re-modeling the site to host user generated content, something on the lines of Scribd, but only for academic materials.”

At the same time, they are also running features on teaching institutions in their vicinity, and also have content that discusses exam strategy and application guides for students. Since this is content that the people running the site need for themselves as well, users can be confident of getting the most timely information as well.

To make the site more useful for users the founders of Copy Chit also plan to start offering notes online. They say that they have already got a lot of the syllabus notes scanned and ready, but are focusing on papers for now to use up their server space. As Vaishak points out, the group is made up of students from class 11, and they need to watch their budget closely. Promoting the site through Facebook is the key to their growth plans, and the combination of papers, notes and discussions on a site which is free to use and quick to load is something which could help a lot of students, and if successful, is a great example of how the Internet is democratising content – this is not after all, something a group of schoolkids could have imagined doing even five years ago!
 

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