Several students oppose the JEE Main, NEET, and CUET merger proposals.

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The recent suggestion by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to combine the JEE Main, NEET, and CUET exams was undoubtedly not well received by students, parents, or academics. The concept of combining engineering, medical, and undergraduate entrance tests into “one nation, one entrance exam” has drawn criticism and scepticism from a number of students.

UGC Chairman Jagadesh Kumar stated on Tuesday that “the plan is to establish a common entrance exam to alleviate the strain on students of sitting in many entrances,” adding that the details are still being worked out. We won’t rush to launch it, though, as we need to make a good plan first. It is a significant exercise.
While the UGC chief asserts that the proposal to combine all three national-level exams is intended to lighten the workload, students on social media contend otherwise, particularly in light of the fact that all three exams—JEE Main 2022, NEET 2022, and CUET UG 2022—were plagued by administrative and technical difficulties.

Students are also demonstrating outside Jantar Mantar in Delhi over the issues encountered during this year’s most important entrance exams and calling for further chances and “justice.” Additionally, they said that neither the National Testing Agency nor the ministry of education had addressed their issues (NTA). The proposed exam will be administered using computers twice a year, according to the UGC chairman (CBT). Let’s look at how these tests are now administered.

NEET UG 2022

The single largest entrance test in the nation is the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET UG 2022), which receives an average of 16 lakh registrations annually. For admission to MBBS, BDS, and other undergraduate medical programmes, the medical entrance test is still administered using the conventional pen-and-paper format in 13 languages.

JEE Main 2022

With around 8 lakh registrations annually, the engineering entrance exam Joint Entrance Exam (JEE Main) is the third most popular test. There are two papers on JEE Main. NTA administers Paper 1 for admission to UG engineering programmes (BE/ BTech) at participating state governments, NITs, IIITs, other Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs), and other institutions. JEE Advanced, an exam required for admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology, is also an eligibility test for JEE Main (IITs). For entrance to BArch and BPlanning courses, Paper 2 is administered. The NTA held JEE Main 2022 in two sessions this year, as opposed to last year when candidates had four chances and the best of those four results was used to determine admission.

 The exam is a combination of multiple choice questions (MCQs), and numerical questions and also has an aptitude test for paper 1. The JEE Main exam mainly tests students’ knowledge of mathematics, chemistry and physics.

CUET UG 2022

The Common University Entrance Test overtook JEE Main to claim the second-largest entrance exam in the nation with an average of 9.2 lakh registrations in the first exam. For the academic year 2022–2023, CUET UG 2022 was implemented for admission to all UG programmes at all central universities. The test is being given in computer-based format and in 13 regional languages. There are three sections in the CUET UG 2022: section 1A has 13 languages, section 1B has 20, section II has 27 domain-specific subjects, and section III is a general test. In order to be considered for admission, candidates must receive at least 60% of the possible points.

It will be a significant undertaking to administer a single entrance exam in all of these regional languages, particularly if the UGC plans to do so in the following academic year. By the end of this month, a group of experts will be formed. It will research all significant admission tests taking place both domestically and internationally. Given the extensive exercise and the several disciplines involved, preparation must begin immediately if the exam is to be introduced the following year, according to the UGC chairman.

Students’ concerns

Why administer multiple tests for the same topic matter? Answer. Doctors need to respond quickly, thus neet is conducted in 3 hours with 720 marks. Engineers must have the mental capacity to think deeply about a certain issue because the exam is 300 marks long and contains challenging questions. With JEE and NEET, CUET is ineffective.

“This idea about merging JEE and NEET with CUET is senseless rather it’s a distraction to overcome the huge blunder done by NTA this year. And these YouTubers are falling into this trap and also engaging students with it,” another student said.

One Twitter user wrote, “Imagine what would happen if they allowed millions of students to sit for the same exam. Technical issues and malfunctions have been a complaint for cuet, jee, and neet even though the three were/are being conducted independently.”

I oppose the UGC’s move to combine the NEET and JEE main exams because they focus on separate skill sets, another student remarked. Physics and chemistry are ubiquitous disciplines, however, the difficulty levels vary between the two streams. UGC should consult experts in these domains for advice.

As they have already begun to prepare for the JEE Main and NEET tests, students have also asked for clarification on the date the UGC will introduce the integrated exam. “Pls request UGC to tell whether the CUET merged test would be offered in 2023 and 2024, to minimise confusion for JEE Mains and NEET preparation.”

“Do you believe that students who are simply studying for the CUET will be able to answer questions from the JEE?” I am aware that only a small number of people are preparing for both JEE and NEET, but what about those who are only doing one? JEE and NEET have radically different question difficulty levels. I realise,” a student replied.

Mayank Tewari

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