The staff of Sankalp who visited us made their program seem really promising and were doing the job of explaining the program to us quite well. They used a lot of slides and there were quite a few video demonstrations, which was meant to display the infrastructure that they were providing to the participants of the exam. They showed us we would be working on decent systems/hardware that would run flawlessly for the participants of the contest. The exam had two stages, the first was to test the eligibility of the participant and the second was their final exam.
The staff of Sankalp had convinced us all to participate in the program and to me, they seemed to be very systematic at delivering. The next day some of us, my classmates including myself, filled the form to register for the exam and paid the fees. We were quite well prepared for the exam, as we had already learned the software as part of our college syllabus. We had applied for the Photoshop end of the contest. Some choose CS 6 the rest choose CC (Creative Cloud).
After registering for the exam the staff told us that the exam center will be chosen depending on the place from where they get the most number of participants. After a few weeks, we were informed that the exam won’t be held on June 6, but instead on June 30. The reason they cited for shifting the dates was because they did not find an appropriate center. Later they informed us that the exam will be held on June 17 – this was around June 12. I didn’t think too much of it at first, but a part of me felt that the staff of Sankalp were totally unsystematic and did not care about delivering as they had promised, which I wish were the only thing wrong with them. It became clear to me over time that all they wanted was a farm of cattle whom they would milk for money. Even after all this disappointment, I was eager to appear for the contest.
We visited the exam center. Turns out, it was a deserted mall. They did not have people to guide us to the exam center. All it had was mall staff who were aimlessly guiding participants to randoms shops, many of them not even aware that a contest was scheduled there. I walked up and down their three odd floors for nearly 25 minutes before I found it. It was a shop on the second floor of the mall with nothing pointing to it. There were absolutely no signs that showed us to the center. This shop was smaller than a classroom, with around 8 computers crammed in a small space.
The PC’s were over 10 years old and used peripheral devices that were either not responding or severely lagging. The mouse was a PS/2. The OS lagged like a grandma crossing the autobahn without any regard for the traffic – a grandma I wish had died 6 years ago when all grandmas, I mean computers, are supposed to be given up. The lag made it extremely difficult to answer the questions efficiently on time. The program that was supposed to serve us the questions kept freezing and crashing over and over. Most of us were losing our minds working on systems as outdated as those. My grandma has faster internet than they had provided us, and by grandma, I do mean grandma in this case. Due to the network lag, the timer we were on would make unexpected jumps. Sometimes I’d lose seconds and at times even minutes. Their system basically forced me to complete my test of 45 minutes in less than 25. After answering the exam we had the option to fill the feedback form. I choose to do it but like the exam itself, I failed on this one too as I had less than 20 seconds to do it. It was as if they knew they sucked at their job and didn’t want to risk a negative feedback going through.
I finally deiced to go online and check if there was a place where I could give some feedback to Sankalp. I discovered that their site keeps mentioning Adobe Certified World Championship, so I decided to look it up online. Those contest are managed by CertiPort which by the looks of it seems pretty legit. Sankalp is not at all registered there and neither does it seem to be authorized to have a contest like it claims to have. To me, the whole thing seems to be a scam.
My advice to you all, after having been through all of this, is that the next time you participate in an event, do whatever you can to verify their credentials.
I compiled a list of software and services that I use to improve my workflow, here is the link to the list.