Exit Survey 2020: Academics

Design: Swati Sheenum, G Shreethigha, Shaurya Rawat, Abhiram Pavithran O, Rohit Gadarla and Hardhik Pinjala.

T5E’s Exit Survey 2020 was conducted in the month of july to study student’s perspective of studying at IIT Madras. The respondents of the survey were graduating students of the year 2020. The survey witnessed a total of 300 responses. The survey explored various aspects of a student’s life like Lifestyle, Personal, Career, Academics, Extra-curricular and Opinion.

In this article, we explore the last and the final aspect: Academics!


The majority of the responses for this survey were from Btech and Dual Degree students, who jointly amounted to 70% of total respondents.

Both these degrees had roughly 35% of respondents from the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering branches, with the remaining 65% split almost evenly among the other branches. 


A high number of students for both B.Tech and dual degree are from the Mechanical Engineering department. Electrical engineering was the next in terms of the number of respondents after mechanical engineering.

Branch Choice

Computer science was the respondents’ branch of choice (yeah yeah, we know, big surprise), with 37% of this year’s graduating batch choosing it over all other branches. EE and ME were a distant 2nd and 3rd respectively, with the overall trend of branch popularities suspiciously resembling the JoSAA counselling preferences. 

Branch Change

Now’s the time of year when insti would usually be crawling with BC enthus and the BC not-so-enthus (the “I’m not trying for BC, but I’ll apply for it just in case” folks). Under more favorable circumstances, the knowledge that only one out of 10 of people got a BC, out of which 28% claimed it didn’t live upto all the hype, might have sown the first seeds of doubt in their recently-traumatised-by-JEE minds. An interesting (or maybe not so interesting) trend to note here is that almost all of the people who did a BC and have CS as their current branch reported that the branch change helped them a lot. 

Time Spent on Academics

The infographic above seems more enough to shock people out of procrastinating acads, until you realise that this time was inclusive of time spent in classrooms, and all’s right and good with the world again. Now all of a sudden, the focus isn’t on the average time of 5.6 hrs, but on the fact that there were people who responded with answers varying from 0-1 hrs, to even 11-12 hrs. While the former is still somewhat believable (yeah, you know who you are), the latter seems almost too ridiculous to be true….right?

Studying Place

60% of respondents preferred the quiet cozy comfort of their own rooms as the ideal place to study, with the library being a distant 2nd option. Library was followed by department facilities 1.7% of the people felt that CCD was the most “convenient” place to study. 

There were not many interesting trends here, but well here’s one: about 66% of students who study or liked studying in the library have CGPA’s above 8.0 so library is not entirely filled with the so-called “maggus” apparently.

Academic Load

The graduating batch seemed evenly divided with regards to how constraining they found acads to be, with nearly equal number of people on either side. What is even more interesting, however, is how polarized the popular opinion was, with the relatively neutral option seeing very few takers.

Interest in coursework/projects and core branch

In what is perhaps the most uplifting piece of information this survey has unearthed, it was found that a majority of respondents took great interest in their courses and projects; and the fact that this is despite opinion being evenly split on how relevant their acads was to their eventual job, speaks volumes about how unequivocally fascinating the academic opportunities are in insti.


The opinion was near evenly divided on this one, with seemingly no generalization possible regarding the helpfulness of TA’s. The average rating was about 3 (2.94 to be exact) for the overall helpfulness of TA’s. Well, they might have seemed more helpful to people who actually approached them, right? 


A high number of students reported to have CGPAs between 8.5-9.0 and around 46% of students had CGPA’s in the range 8.0-9.0. Also, a whopping 21.2% (that’s about 64 out of the 300 respondents) reported having 9.0+ CGPAs!

Satisfaction with CGPA and method of studying


In what appears to be yet another case of polarized survey results, a nearly equal number of people were satisfied/dissatisfied with their CGPA, with 14.3% wishing they had put more effort into acads (hindsight truly is 20/20 isn’t it 🙃). What is surprising, however, is the fact that out of the nearly 85% of respondents who claim to have made only last-ditch efforts at academics, very few actually went on to regret it, which makes the almost stereotypical senior’s quote of “Acads aren’t everything bRoO, there’s so much more to insti” seem a lot more sensible.

Non-Core Courses

HS was the most popular department for taking courses other than core courses, followed closely by CS (again, big surprise). The maths department stood 3rd in terms of popularity of courses. 

Department Facilities

About 54.5% of the respondents reported that the facilities at their department were enough to do project work. A point of concern here is the 6% of respondents reporting not enough resources to do project work. Though this is a very small minority and will depend on the nature of the project, these are some things that could be looked at.

PhD Questions 

Department Facilities

The responses seem to indicate a lack of sufficient resources for PhD students, or at the very least, issues regarding availability, with more than 50% of respondents facing some issue. Although 75% were able to deal with this issue without letting it affect their problem statement, it’s still something that ought to be looked into.  

Research Papers

Most PhD students had published 2 papers in their tenure here at IITM. The maximum number of papers published went as high as 8.

Research Guides

Research scholars seemed to have a much better opinion of the guides, as opposed to the available resources, and gave an average rating of 4.2 out of 5.

Research Experience

Most PhD scholars felt their research experience was very fulfilling in terms of the learning aspect with an average rating of 4.1. IITM is known for its research culture and well, the results seem to justify that.


Academics is the most important part of insti life (that’s what we are here for right? or not really?). And the results and trends didn’t disappoint either. Some of the interesting trends and results summarized:

  • 21.2% of students reported a CGPA of 9+ while 46% of students had a CGPA between 8.0-9.0.
  • 66% of students who study in library have a CGPA of 8.0+. Not all students at the library are “maggus”.
  • Overall, students rated interest in coursework on the high end with an average of 3.52/5.
  • CS was the most popular branch choice and was one of the popular choices of departments to take courses from after HS.
  • There were polarized opinions on satisfaction with CGPA and whether academics was a burden which prevented from pursuing other interests.

This marks the end of the Exit Survey 2020. We hope all the articles were interesting and provided some insight into the lives of the graduating students at IITM.

On this note, we wish good luck to the graduating batch of 2020! Insti will miss you!

Farewell, but not goodbye!

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