Getting into DU is easier and more accessible than you think
So you completed your A-Levels exams and have decided to try getting into DU.
You may have heard people saying that it is tough for English Medium (EM) students to get into public universities like DU, some may have even told you that you are most likely to end up in private universities because of the short amount of preparation time and extremely competitive nature of the exams.
Although there might be some truth to what they are saying, it is NOT impossible. One of the main reasons why you don't see a lot of English Medium students in DU is information asymmetry.
In this article, we shed light on everything you need to know to have the best DU admission preparation and be aware of all the opportunities available for becoming a DU student. Moreover, we have incorporated the insights of English Medium DU students as well as exam toppers to make the guide more holistic.
A (Ka) Unit
This unit is very popular among English Medium students even though arguably, it is the hardest to pass. Most students head to Sunrise Coaching Centre to prepare for both BUET and A unit exams. Arpan Saha and Aryan Mahmud (EEE Department), shared how they prepared for the entrance exam:
"First of all, Sunrise helped a lot. Beyond that, solving the practice problems from the HSC syllabus books helped me get a feel for the equations and also made it clear what I didn't know", Aryan said. Additionally, he pointed out that students must be mentally prepared to memorise a lot of formulas, equations and definitions and get used to making approximations to answer questions quickly.
Arpan Saha had the following tips and some of these are applicable for all the other exams as well.
- Create a study plan. You have to allocate equal time for each subject. This will ensure you do not lag in any particular subject.
- A unit questions follow a very similar pattern, if not repetitive. So solve as many past papers as possible. This will not only increase your problem-solving skills but also your chances of getting very similar questions in your exam.
- Time management is a big challenge. To practice, take a stopwatch and challenge yourself on how fast you can finish a complete paper.
- Remembering the endless list of formulas is another difficult task. Take a page and note down all the important formulas from all chapters, especially in physics.
- Many of you might wonder which subject you should attempt first. Answer the subject you are best at. If you do this, you will save a great amount of time, which you can transfer to other subjects which you find difficult and time-consuming.
- Most importantly: never panic.
B (Kha) Unit
If you had both Economics and Maths in your A-Levels (or two humanities subjects like Law and English) then you might be able to sit for this exam (see table). Since you can get into Economics, Law, or IR departments through this exam with the same preparation as the D unit exams, it's definitely worth applying for.
C (Ga) Unit
This is arguably the easiest unit through which English Medium students can get into DU. If you are interested in studying Marketing, Finance, or Accounting this the unit you sit for. We spoke to two English Medium students from the Faculty of Business Studies to learn about how to prepare for the exam in an organized manner.
Economics/ Accounting and Business Studies: Since you have to answer any two of the aforementioned three topics in the exam, you'll have a huge advantage if you took any of these subjects in your O and A levels.
- If you have decided to answer the Economics section of the exam, make sure to retain all your Economics notes from AS and A2 because the economics questions can include anything from there.
- For the Accounting section, you should have at least O-level knowledge. Most of it is basic O-level questions so try to get your hands on old theory notes if you can. According to Fariha Tabassum (Finance), you can also try solving the MCQs from the RABS accounting book two weeks before the exam for improving time-management and getting practice.
- For Business Studies questions, Shadman Showmick (Marketing) argues that simply revising your old A levels notes and having a general understanding of business is good enough. Moreover, he said that the question patterns from the DU admission mock exams at Mentors' were good practice for the main exam.
English/Advanced English/Elective English (B, C and D Units): The English and/or Advanced English sections of B, C and D unit exams are probably the easiest section for English Medium students to handle because of their curriculum. There isn't any meaningful difference between English and Advanced English so you can prepare for them simultaneously.
Still, if you want to prepare for it, you can try consolidating your vocabulary by learning new words from WordSmart 1 and 2. Similarly, if you think your grammar and comprehension are rusty, you can read and practice the exercises in the CLIFFS TOEFL preparation guide. Expect to face Comprehension, Fill-in-Blanks, Bangla-to-English Translation, Sentence Rearranging, explanation and vocabulary questions.
D (Gha) Unit
If you are interested in studying Law or Economics at DU, this unit offers a great opportunity for English Medium students. Although the Advanced English and English sections of the exam are relatively easy to answer, most English Medium students fail to get enough marks to pass the General Knowledge (GK) section of the exam because it isn't a part of their curriculum. However, the following suggestions may shift the odds in your favour.
General Knowledge (B and D Unit): Starting as early as possible, 3-4 months is the key here. Begin reading the newspapers daily, both local and international, to stay in touch with current affairs. Similarly, acquire and study the latest 'Jubayer's capsule' and 'Samprotik capsule' that are released frequently during exam season.
According to Munem Al Azad (Economics), who ranked 1st in the D unit exams, learning about national history (Liberation War, the life of Bangabandhu), Bangladesh (literacy rate, Padma Bridge, Metro Rail) and international affairs (Rohingya crisis, US-China Trade war, COVID-19, Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, etc.) will be crucial for admission success.
Additionally, if you are going to sit for the D unit exams, it is best to register as a Science student as there are more seats up for grabs.
E (Cha) Unit
To prepare for the admission exam to the Faculty of Fine Art (a.k.a Charukola), Redwan Ahmed Kiron (Drawing and Painting), recommends focusing on Art and History when studying for the General Knowledge MCQ. He suggests reading up on famous art movements around the world, the art and culture of South East Asia, renowned Bangladeshi artists and Bangladeshi history.
Redwan also mentioned that he started preparing for the exam four months before it began while concentrating on learning history. Moreover, since the second part of the exam takes place around two months after the General Knowledge exam, he was able to focus solely on practising drawing human figures from scratch. Although for convenience, Redwan studied General Knowledge by himself, he also thought the admissions preparation course offered by Charukola might be useful for examinees.
Useful Resources and links:
The author is a student at the Department of Economics, University of Dhaka (99th Batch) and passed both the C unit (543rd) and D unit (196th) exam in 2020.