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NLS press release on NLAT: All was well today • Its feedback form due by noon tomorrow (though categories vague) [UPDATE-1]

NLS press release (see PDF below)
NLS press release (see PDF below)

NLSIU Bangalore has made a press release about the National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT) that it concluded today for 24,603 registered candidates for its flagship undergraduate LLB programme.

According to its release, 23,225 of those - or 94.4% - actually appeared for the undergraduate exam in three slots (the postgraduate NLAT saw 2,846 out of 2,935 registered candidates appear, or 97%).

NLS touted that both of these numbers were higher than last year’s physical exam-centre based Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), which it claimed had seen 90.92% and 85.23% attendance.

That may not quite be a fair comparison to make however.

If we assume that 100% of registered candidates registered for the NLAT wanted to take the exam and were ready in time, and that 4% were not able to take the exam due to technical difficulties, in an offline physical test centre world this would be akin to an exam centre closing the door on thousands of candidates standing outside, saying: sorry, but the venue is full.

The 94.4% figure also does not specify how many of those actually completed the test: there are several accounts of candidates who claim they were kicked off the exam for no reason whatsoever before they had completed it.

We have documented many of candidates' problems on our live blog today.

Here's how to appeal by noon tomorrow

However, just in case all wasn’t well for some of those candidates (at least 1,600 if going by their metrics), NLS has said:

Despite these overall numbers, we are aware that some candidates may have faced technical difficulties during the examination.

NLAT 2020 candidates may login to the admissions.nls.ac.in portal and raise a query by 12 noon on September 13, 2020.

A thorough technical review will be carried out and candidates will receive a response.

What will happen after such technical review (another exam slot perhaps?) is not at all clear, however...

Update 23:46: Once logged in to the candidate portal, you can click on a link which opens a message pop-up, including a field for your email and a dropdown box with six possible options about “queries/topics”.

The top issues in NLAT, according to NLAT
The top issues in NLAT, according to NLAT

The following seem to officially be the top 5 issues that may have been faced in the exam:

  • “Login Issues”
  • “Issues during Exam” (which seems a little generic)
  • “Submission Issues”
  • “Forced Log Out”
  • “Exam did not commence on Time”

Some concerns: NLS seems to not have an option to select more than one issue. From what we understand, the number that faced “Issues during Exam” or for whom the “Exam did not commence on Time” might be far larger than the other categories, and potential supersets of the other three issues.

For instance, it is easily possible that some candidates had delays, login issues, submission issues, forced log out, as well as, simply, issues and other issues.

That’s not necessarily the best way of figuring out exactly what went wrong with the exam.

It is likely to be a busy Sunday at NLS and service provider Aon's Cocubes subsidiary.

No cheaters will get admission, says NLS

The press release also denied that cheating was possible, or, more precisely that cheaters could make it through to the merit list undetected:

We assure all candidates and their parents that the technological systems and proctoring of NLAT 2020 were fully operational during the examination. Comprehensive digital records and technological parameters will be rigorously assessed for examination malpractice before any admission list is prepared.

We are confident that the combination of human and Al proctoring will ensure that the exam integrity will be maintained.

No candidate indulging in examination malpractice will secure admission to the University.

Evidence from the exam today does suggest that this could be difficult: we were able to watch a live stream of a candidate's exam session over video conference app Zoom, which should not have been possible in other proctored exams but was for the NLAT and opens the door wide open to candidates to gain unfair advantages.

Detection of this or other cheating techniques that we had outlined earlier this week could prove to be impossible, , considering the lack of deeply-embedded software in the NLAT and other restrictions.

NLS post-NLAT press release (PDF)

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