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Understanding the OMR Sheet Format

OMR Sheet is not just a piece of paper. It is a technical format to be used in a technical process. The OMR test sheet has measured dimensions and many parameters which are important for the OMR sheet reading software to detect OMR bubbles and deliver OMR Test results accurately.

OMR Sheets are special printouts containing circles or elliptical bubbles or boxes used as marking areas where the candidate marks using a blue/black pen or pencil. Any sheet design just containing OMR bubbles can't be called an OMR Answer Sheet because it might not have correct parameters and dimensions as per OMR guidelines. An OMR sheet is a dimensionally measured technical format.

Let us have an understanding of the various components of an Optical Mark Recognition system based OMR Answer Sheet.

Index point or Timeline

These are some black marks on the corners or either side of the OMR sheet. These marks are crucial to the functioning and accuracy of the OMR Sheet. All OMR sheets either have index points or timeline.Any change in Timing Track and OMR sheet identification block will lead to rejection of the OMR sheet and no result will be generated for such OMR sheets.

Importance of Index Points:
An OMR sheet is not just a sheet with bubbles. There are many important components of an OMR Sheet that make it an Optical mark readable design. For optical mark reading, the scanned image must have some special reference points that mark the beginning and the end of the sheet. Corners of the OMR Sheet are most important. There are some special marks at measured distances on OMR Sheet which are critical to an accurate reading of the OMR Sheets. The software follows these markers to identify the required bubble at the referenced location. So these markers are really important.

Besides the circles used to collect OMR responses, an OMR based MCQ test answer sheet has very important measurement and guiding components like Index point, which are required by the software to read the answer sheet. Some important guidelines regarding use of Index points on OMR Test Sheet are:

We have generally seen people make designs with bubble and call it an OMR sheet. But any design with circles is not an OMR Sheet. There must be indexed points which mark the beginning and the end of the sheet reading area. Without index points the software cannot automatically read the sheet. So a sheet with only circles and not having index points cannot be called an OMR sheet.

Restricted areas of OMR Sheet

OMR Sheets have circles or elliptical bubbles or boxes where the candidates fill their response. But other areas on the OMR sheet are also important. Mark your response only in the space provided for the purpose. There are ‘DO NOT WRITE’ areas demarcated on some OMR Sheet. Please do not write or mark on the demarcated areas. DO NOT make any stray marks on the OMR Sheet.DO NOT write anything unless the "Rough Work" box is explicitly provided.

Important Fields on the OMR bubble answer sheet

Only The distinctly visible timeline or Index points and the Question option bubbles are not the only important components on an OMR Sheet. Besides the answer response bubbles there are other important fields like Roll No., Test ID, Test paper code, Question Booklet No., Answer Book Series etc. All the fields might not be available on all answer Sheets but some of these may be essentially present. Or maybe some other fields are present with some other names. But these are important information fields because these help to identify the candidate at the time of evaluation.

Roll No. or Unique Identification fields

Fields related to Roll No. Barcode etc. are required for candidate Unique ID identification to post marks entry into the database after evaluation. There are various types of fields used for unique identification. In most cases the OMR Sheet uses the OMR block to fill Roll No. but in some cases the examination body decides to preprint the roll no. on the sheet. This pre-printed roll no might be in the form of digitally printed numerical digits or manually ahand stamped numbers or digitally printed barcode.

In case your sheet is using the pre printed number for identification check that you have received the correct sheet which bears your number. Also check whether there is no scratch or cut mark disturbing the barcode.

Test Paper code or Set Identification fields

Most examinations shuffle the question papers to avoid any copying by the candidates. Many a times there are several distinct question papers being conducted simultaneously in the same examination hall for the different course entrances or different subject codes. So the question and the answer key is different for each test paper. But at the end of the examination al answer sheets are collected in a non sequential jumbled up order. The sorting of sheets is done automatically by the OMR Test Checker software at the time of reading of answer Sheets. It is thus important to identify the testpaper code for each sheet while checking. Fields like Test ID, Test Paper Code are required for identification of the test code and the corresponding answer key with which the candidate's answer sheet will be compared.

Other Information Collection fields

Besides the Roll No. and Test Code fields, some answer sheets contain other fields of information which are meant to collect information about the candidate. Mostly fields like Choice of Course, Post Applied for etc. are used to identify the test paper or corresponding answer key to apply for checking. But sometimes these are included just to collect information. However, technically these fields have no significance but maybe they are important for examination body.

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