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JEE twice a year but not NEET; Aspirants to disapprove NTA’s decision

JEE twice a year but not NEET; Aspirants to disapprove NTA’s decision

With the final release of the schedule for the gamut of the entrance examination to be conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA) in 2019, it is now official that NEET – UG, unlike JEE Main will remain an annual affair. Instead of being conducted twice prior to the admissions for the academic session starts, NTA has clarified that NEET – UG will be conducted only once a year. Further, the test will continue to be conducted in pen and paper mode only. NTA released its latest press release on its website to this effect on August 23, 2018. The press release lists the final official schedule of the 5 exams that NTA will be conducting– JEE Main 2019, NEET 2019, UGC NET 2019, CMAT and GPAT. The same schedule is an indication that NEET will not be conducted biannually and also will not be conducted in the computerized format.

NEET – UG 2019 will now be conducted on May 5, 2019, and the registrations for the same will commence from November 1, 2018. There will be no changes in NEET – UG exam pattern and will be delivered as a single exam in pen-and-paper mode, in the same number of languages as has been conducted over the past few years. On the other hand, JEE Main 2019 will be conducted in two cycles: Cycle I between January 6-20, 2019 followed by Cycle II, between April 6-20, 2019. The registrations of JEE Main 2019 Cycle I will start from September 1, 2018, and JEE Main 2019 Cycle II registrations are scheduled to start on February 8, 2019.

In several earlier communications from NTA, aspirants were led to understand that undergraduate entrance tests like JEE Main and NEET will be held twice a year, prior to the commencement of the admissions for an academic session. Students were also under the impression that all the national-level tests to be conducted by NTA will be in the computerized format. However, the recent communication from the NTA has off gear such an understanding and has largely aggrieved the concerned candidates.

The Ministry of Human Resource and Development –Government of India (MHRD-GOI), on the behest of Ministry of Health, has advised NTA to roll back the original decision to conduct NEET – UG twice a year in the CBT mode. It has been revealed that the Ministry of HRD had raised concern about rural candidates, in particular, is at a disadvantage in appearing for CBT along with the added pressure of taking the same test twice.

However, if the voices heard in social platforms and other conventional media are anything to go by, NEET 2019 aspirants are quite dissatisfied with this sudden change in events and rightly feel that they are being treated in an unfair manner. If anything at all, the concerned student community has expressed that they are desirous of reaping the same benefits that are being accrued to JEE Main candidates, namely:

  • Though exams will be conducted twice before the admissions for the academic session starts, it will not be mandatory to appear in both the rounds. So it is basically a choice for the students.
  • The best score of the student who appears for both the rounds will be considered for the final ranking purpose.
  • The pressure to make that one single attempt in one academic session count will be reduced considerably for candidates who appear for the test in both rounds.
  • Moreover, two rounds of testing would be helpful for candidates toggling between Board exam preparations alongside entrance exam preparations.
  • Computerized test, though widely accepted to be disadvantageous for the majority of students owing to unfamiliarity issues, would have reduced the logistics issues in exam delivery as well as streamlined the entire process.

As the scenario now stands, NEET – UG 2019 candidates will not be able to avail of any of the above advantages like their JEE Main counterpart. However, to give the government some credit in the matter, it goes without saying that since NEET – UG is the only national-level entrance test for medical studies in the country, bringing about major changes in the way it is conducted might back-fire in the long-run. Yes, the arguments for and against NEET – UG being conducted twice as a CBT are valid for JEE Main candidates as well. Also, the opportunity of free practice centers for medical aspirants could have been made available just like JEE Main candidates. However, this being the first year of NTA’s operation, JEE Main is being treated as an acid test before making the changes across all other entrance tests, specially NEET – UG.



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