Exam stress is very common among students and this is relieved as soon as it gets over. It doesn’t bother most students until the next semester begins. But if we view it from a teacher’s perspective, the real stress begins with evaluating these papers. Have you wondered how are OMR or MCQ sheets evaluated? We also saw a big shift in the examination pattern, from offline to online recently.
All we can say is that it is a tiring and tedious process. To help make a difference in this area, EZexam has come up with a very user-friendly solution for institutes and teachers. EZexam has an integrated online and offline software that enables students to take exams and review their overall performance.
Team Sociobits got in touch with Mr. Swaroop Roy, co-founder of EZexam, to know more about the inspiring journey of EZexam.
Team Sociobits: Could you tell us a little about yourself? And about your startup EZexam?
Co-Founder: Hi, I’m Swaroop Roy, co-founder of EZexam I have my B.Tech in Computer Science from IIT Bombay. Post this, I worked at ETH Zurich as a researcher and published a couple of research papers, and I also did my Master’s at the Technical University of Munich.
The first company I worked at was OpenCampus in Munich which provided educational systems to German universities and I was directly under the CEO. While working at OpenCampus, I realized that they are providing many solutions that can be used in India. This led to the birth of our startup, EZexam around five years ago with my roommate from IIT Bombay, Mr. Phani Kumar.
We provide Examination Systems for Educational & Training Institutes. We primarily provide it to the institutes and through them, students can use our systems for online and offline exams. They also get access to exam analytics which helps them to improve their performance and currently, we have 130K users on our platform.
We started off with purely offline systems which were used for OMR or MCQ exams. Later, we transitioned to an online system and now we have them integrated so that schools and training institutes can conveniently conduct exams and provide performance metrics to students.
Team Sociobits: How did you come up with the idea of EZexam?
Co-Founder: We saw similar systems being effectively used at OpenCampus and what impressed me about them was the small team size; about seven to ten people but they had modular, efficient, and automated systems and they could handle all the educational processes that begin from admissions until graduation for German universities. This was the major motivating factor for me to come up with this idea. We have implemented a similar technology according to the requirements of the Indian market.
Team Sociobits: How does opting EZexam benefit institutes or universities?
Co-Founder: Online exams were a bit of a niche about four or five years ago. Most examinations were conducted in the offline fashion and one of the pain points that especially training institutes faced was the tiring and tedious evaluation process. They had around a thousand students and their examinations had to be evaluated every week. So, we created a simple software that enabled them to evaluate around a thousand examinations within a few minutes.
we created a simple software that enabled them to evaluate around a thousand examinations within a few minutes.
Initially, this was only for offline examinations, which was our entry point and now we have integrated offline and online evaluation systems. The analytics will help you know how the students are performing and they can also track their progress. Students can log in from any device and get access to all these features. They can access data for all the years that they have been a part of this platform. These analytics are very much in-depth so students can really pinpoint where they are lacking.
Some of our biggest clients like Vidyalankar have been with us for over four years. We handle students spread across India and also started providing solutions to international clients.
Team Sociobits: How has your journey with EZexam been so far?
Co-Founder: Since we are a bootstrapped company, we needed a little time to get going in the beginning. It took some time to get bigger clients to trust us with thousands of students. Earlier, OMR examination papers were evaluated using bulky machines or scanners to help with this, we created an in-house app that can easily evaluate any paper in a second, using any mobile phone. This was our offline solution. But, depending on the market requirement, i.e. a lot of these exams shifted to the online platform we created an integrated system.
Slowly we have grown, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre-pandemic we had around forty thousand students and now we have more than one lakh thirty thousand students on our platform. It has been great so far and we want to use this momentum to reach one million students this year.
OMR examination papers were evaluated using bulky machines or scanners to help with this, we created an in-house app that can easily evaluate any paper in a second, using any mobile phone
Team Sociobits: Is there any major challenge that you faced during your journey?
Co-Founder: One of the major challenges was to convince big institutes to trust us to handle all their systems because some of the institutes have the budget to develop all these systems in-house. But there are institutes in between that cannot afford their own IT systems but at the same time, they want a very high-quality solution. But a particular place where we have an upper hand is that we provide solutions at a very low price. Generally, these solutions come at a very high price range but we are able to provide our solutions at 1/10th or 1/5th of their cost by making the system automated and efficient.
So initially, the challenge was to get institutes to trust us but now our major challenge is to create an automated system where anyone can sign-up and start using our platform. Our challenge right now is getting as many people on board by providing automated solutions and making the process so easy that teachers or institutes don’t need to rely on anybody. We aim to make it like a social media platform where you can do everything on your own and don’t need to constantly keep talking to someone for help.
Team Sociobits: During the pandemic, it became very easy for students to engage in cheating. How did you ensure institutes that the exams that your platform will conduct doesn’t give a chance to do that?
Co-Founder: Initially we had this concern but we have implemented proctoring in these exams. Since switching on your camera is mandatory during exams, we integrated AI-based facial recognition that constantly detects the student’s face. There is also a lot of AI running in the background that detects the IP addresses of the device that the student is using to give the exam. For example, It does not let two devices with the same IP address & device appear for the exam. There are multiple layers of security that tackle this issue of impersonation. On top of this, every student gets a different question paper from the question bank.
Team Sociobits: Does EZexam have any competitors? Why would institutes choose EZexam over others?
Co-Founder: There are a few competitors in this space but our solution beats them at pricing. Apart from this, our system is built in an extremely fault-tolerant way. It has been designed in a way that the question paper gets downloaded as soon as the student enters the exam, this way, the exam doesn’t stop even if there are any interruptions like a power cut, and students can resume the exam. The exam doesn’t stop even if the internet is lost. We tell our clients that internet is only mandatory when the student starts the exam and ends the exam. We also have a resume feature where students can begin their exam from a laptop and if there is any device malfunction, they can resume their exam from a different device. These are some of the features that are unique and we believe that they are our USP along with our pricing.
“The system has been designed in a way that the question paper gets downloaded as soon as the student enters the exam, this way, the exam doesn’t stop even if there are any interruptions like a power cut”– Swaroop Roy, Co-Founder of EzExam
Team Sociobits: What is your roadmap for the future?
Co-Founder: Right now we are focusing on geographic expansion. Till now concentrated on India and we look forward to expanding outside India in the U.S., UK, and Australian markets, primarily because they are English speaking.
We also want to hit the milestone of a million users on our platform. We could eventually become an acquisition target for big players like BYJUs. This is what we are looking forward to in 2022.
EZexam is set to revolutionize the exam evaluation pattern of the world. The company seems to take care of all the aspects that primarily matter while conducting online and offline exams. With its unique features and pricing, its journey ahead will be appreciated by teachers, institutes, and universities. EZexam wants to make exams easy not only for students but also for its evaluators.