IOQB 2022 Analysis
Tl;dr: Moderate difficulty but minimal effort was put into making both the exam and the answer key with several questions being verbatim from research papers.
IOQB Part 1 served as a substitute for NSEB (National Standard Examination in Biology). Candidates had 1 hour to answer 32 questions. 24 of those carried a +3/-1 score (only one of the options was correct) and 8 carried a +6/0 (More than one option could be correct. There was no partial marking.
The +3/-1 section: It was pretty doable if you had studied Campbell alone (but thoroughly). Some questions required analytical skills but that is something obvious considering the fact that this is Stage-1 for the IBO and you can’t expect a cakewalk. (One question was controversial but they had picked it up from a research paper without thinking much so it was not worth challenging it.)
The +6/0 section: Here is where things get a little murky.
a) Partial Marking with a negative for marking wrong options should have been there (but that is not a major issue as it was the same last year as well and although we did not know the pattern of the exam, we had an idea of what to expect.
b) Some questions were picked up verbatim from research papers which involved several experiments. Adequate details to decide whether or not the given statement (in the option) was provided.
Take this one for example:
This question was picked up from here here. There were several experiments performed by the researchers and it was only then that the researchers came to the conclusions. The statements were not related to the options at all. The question was later dropped. But it did consume a lot of time as any sane person would try to get these 6 markers right.
This question again has been verbatim picked up from here. But this time it is doable. Try solving it on your own. If you do, the answer most people came up with was that statements in options a), b) and c) are correct. But, the ATBS, for reasons best known to them, gave the answer as only a) and c) to be correct. Here’s the catch though; if you read the research paper (available on ResearchGate), the scientists came to the conclusions same as statements in the first three options. Don’t believe me? See for yourself. Here’s an email that I wrote to the IAPT, the ATBS and the HBCSE but no explanation was offered. My email to the HBCSE after emails to the IAPT and ATBS elicited no response.
Another question on Nematode physiology required factual knowledge beyond the scope of any book (Campbell, Life, Raven etc.).
To give you perspective about how just this one error had a major impact on the dynamics of the exam, here are some stats. The MI was 61 (to the best of my recollection). Brilliant students scoring 60 marks in cities like Delhi could not make it through. Similar instances were observed in other states as well.
In my humble (probably, worthless) opinion, ATBS should have been more meticulous in designing the question paper when you have students who did not get selected due to just one or two marks.
When you have such a responsible task at hand, I think there should be some accountability and responsibility.
I’ll come up with the analysis of Part 2 (which was wonderfully designed) in some time.
Edit: Part 2 Analysis
Here are the cutoffs of INBO from 2016-2022
(This is copied from somewhere. Please highlight if there is a mistake)
The cutoff suggests that the exam was on the easier side and it actually was.
There are a few notable things (analyzing Section-B first).
- An overwhelming majority of analysis questions in Ecology and Ethology were asked. One could easily have got them correct but they consumed time. I distinctly remember one question which was a table from Krebs and Davies. It was high weightage.
- Plant physiology was of a high level (I struggle with Plant Physiology, so maybe I felt that). There were high scoring questions which required prior knowledge. Most books mention only loss-of-function mutation in the ABC model of development of the flower. But the question in INBO was about gain-of-function mutation (4\times3=12) marks. The only book that I read which mentioned this was Life by Sadava (Special credits to @Dhiren Bharadwaj bhaiya) One question was a direct figure from Taiz and Zeiger.
- Cell Biology was on the easier side.
- Genetics had some high-quality numericals which I am sure any person selected for OCSC can solve if given unlimited time. I could barely try to attempt those in th given time frame.
- Animal Physiology was nice as well. One question was quite interesting and I want your help.
If you look at Row I the answer should be decrease and decrease according to me. Here’s why:
It was doable. But prone to silly mistakes due to lack of time. Nothing special to highlight
Special thanks to Priyanshu Jaseja bhaiya and Dhiren Bhaiya who reached out themselves to a nobody (if you see their stature).
Here’s something both of them told me; I want all of the other aspirants to know
Don’t study for this exam like you have to score marks and crack the exam. Study for the exam as if Biology is your passion.
This may sound cliché but it is a fact. You will crack INBO if Biology is your passion. This is not NEET.
Best of luck