NEET, JEE to be conducted twice every year: Javadekar

NEET to be conducted in February and May every year

NEET-makes-matters-worse-new Representational image | File

Ending days of speculation around the common entrance tests for admissions to undergraduate engineering and medical courses in the country, Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar on Saturday confirmed that National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and JEE Mains entrance examinations will now be held twice a year. He also announced that the National Testing Agency (NTA) will conduct NEET, JEE, NET exams from next academic session. Currently, these exams are being organised by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

NEET will be conducted in the months of February and May every year, Javadekar said. He said that while students can appear for NEET twice a year, the best score will be considered for admission. 

For engineering aspirants, JEE (Mains) would be conducted in January and April every year. Javadekar added that all the exams would now be computer-based tests (online tests).

Currently, the two popular entrance exams are held only once a year. The move is likely to benefit the students who have to rush through their preparations during April-May after appearing for board examinations in March-April. Most importantly, it will give them an additional opportunity for the students to appear for the exams without wasting a whole year.

NEET 2018 was conducted on May 6, while JEE (Mains) was conducted between April 8 and April 16 this year. 

From the next session, each exams will be conducted over four to five dates to accomodate thousands of aspirants. However, Javadekar assured that the syllabus, question format, language and fees will not be subject to any changes.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) is an independent body dedicated to conducting entrance tests for higher education. The NTA, approved by the Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2017, would work as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions. 

It is expected that with the entry of the NTA, the entrance examinations, especially NEET will become more poised to favour students from across the board. Currently, one of the main criticism is that the NEET exam curriculum favours only CBSE students, in grave disadvantage for students from other boards. 

Last year, Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development (HRD) Upendra Kushwaha had informed the Lok Sabha last year that NEET and JEE (Mains) might be conducted twice a year. "The exams will be conducted online at least twice a year, thereby giving an adequate opportunity to the candidates to bring out their best," Kushwaha had said.