During an interview with TechGraph, Nitin Godawat CEO and Co-founder of CREST Olympiads spoke about its innovative conventional scoring system and how CREST Olympiads’ online model and student-centric design transcend geographical barriers by setting global standards in Olympiad exams.
Read the complete interview:
TechGraph: CREST Olympiads has gained recognition in the competitive space of Olympiad exams. Can you highlight the key features that differentiate CREST Olympiads from other similar competitions? How do CREST Olympiads stand out in terms of content, format, and overall approach?
Nitin Godawat: Innovation plays an essential role in fostering every activity that CREST Olympiads has launched since its inception. CREST Olympiads was the 1st Online Olympiad Exam across the globe. Students can take exams from the comfort of their homes without having to worry about taking an exam imposed by the school.
Moreover, every student is given 2 practice tests before the actual exam. This helps students understand the pattern of the exam beforehand. Here are a few other unique features of this exam:
- Students have the flexibility to book slots for the exam on given dates
- It is the first exam that promotes the participation of Special Needs students
- One of the very few exams where students can individually apply
- CREST Olympiads are the only exam that allows students to challenge the questions or options after the answer keys are shown to students
- CREST Olympiads are among the few exams where 50% of students are recognized with certificates, medals, and trophies.
CREST Olympiads is also among the few Olympiad Exams to conduct Reasoning Olympiad to assess critical thinking, the Green Warrior Olympiad to create awareness about United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the IQ Challenge to improve IQ levels among students, the Mental Maths Olympiad to prepare students for future competitive exams focused on numerical ability.
For some of these Olympiad Exams, CREST Olympiads has associated with the Office of Principal Scientific Advisor, Govt. of India, IIT Kharagpur TechFest, Water Bank Foundation, EduFund, Association of Indian Principals and several international partners.
In a pioneering initiative, CREST Olympiads launched CREST International Teacher Olympiads (CITO). The purpose of this initiative is to assess teachers on subject proficiency and build a community of teachers who can more effectively guide students for Olympiad Exams.
TechGraph: Beyond the competitive aspect, how do CREST Olympiads contribute to the broader educational landscape? How does participation in CREST Olympiads enhance students’ learning experiences and academic development?
Nitin Godawat: At a broader level, some services fall under the “Schooling” purview, and the other part is “Beyond Schooling” purview. Though schooling is important it is losing its importance. The differentiation in school is almost non-existent. Almost every student these days scores more than 90% marks. A student scoring 60% will be frowned upon.
However, the reality is that students scoring 60% marks in JEE Advanced will get admission to IIT Bombay which is India’s best engineering college. That’s where Olympiad Exams like CREST Olympiads come in. Students scoring 60% may be getting awarded Merit Certificates. Moreover, CREST Olympiads focus only on practical applications of concepts. Students are encouraged to get their concepts strong as compared to rote learning.
TechGraph: How does the organization ensure that its exams resonate with students from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds? What steps are taken to maintain a global standard while catering to the unique needs of different regions?
Nitin Godawat: At the start, the CREST Olympiad syllabus was a combination of the CBSE and ICSE curricula. As CREST Olympiads became more popular outside of India, we have pivoted towards an international curriculum. In a way, this change has also been very well received by students in India. Since these exams are taken by students from 40+ countries and most of these students have no Indian background, scoring well in CREST Olympiads and getting recognized has become aspirational.
TechGraph: In the era of digital advancements, how has CREST Olympiads embraced technology to enhance the examination process? What measures have been taken to ensure a seamless and secure online examination experience for participants?
Nitin Godawat: CREST Olympiads was the first Olympiad Exam to be conducted globally. So most of the standards have been set up by us. We have also continuously been in touch with providers of online testing platforms to ensure that we aren’t missing any critical functionality. Moreover, we also conduct a year-end survey among our students asking for improvement ideas. This helps us to continue to improve user experience.
TechGraph: Educational trends are constantly evolving. How do CREST Olympiads stay ahead of the curve and adapt to emerging trends in education? In what ways does the organization align its offerings with the current needs and expectations of students and educators?
Nitin Godawat: CREST Olympiads started as a B2C platform wherein an individual student can register and attempt an exam. Hence, our engagement with end-users is very high. Due to this, we continuously get feedback and we try to incorporate that to improve our platform. Moreover, we continuously do a lot of surveys to understand our students’ expectations.
TechGraph: CREST Olympiads undoubtedly have a significant impact on students. Could you elaborate on the student-centric approach adopted by CREST Olympiads, focusing on how the organization supports and nurtures the intellectual growth and curiosity of participants?
Nitin Godawat: CREST Olympiads align itself with the future demands of competition and the environment around us. That’s why CREST Olympiads was the first organization to conduct the Reasoning Olympiad. Though reasoning is not taught in schools it is an important subject for all competitive exams including Engineering and MBA entrances. In the National Search Talent Exam (NTSE) which is the most sought-after scholarship exam, Reasoning constitutes 50% weightage.
Since these exams are being conducted globally, CREST Olympiads are considered to be tougher than other competitive exams. Unless the student is well prepared, he/she may not be able to do well – this brings a higher degree of competitiveness. CREST Olympiads launched the Mental Maths Olympiad. This is a critical skill that every individual needs to have and this is also important for every competitive exam.
We have also launched the Green Warrior Olympiad (GWO). The objective is to create awareness around UN Sustainable Development Goals and Green Initiatives. Every resident on this planet is responsible for saving Earth from further deterioration and hopefully, this exam should help this cause to spread awareness.