Engineering and medicine aspirants will have to prepare themselves for some major changes likely in the national-level entrance tests for engineering and medicine in the next couple of years. Before taking the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for engineering, aspirants will have to appear for an online aptitude test which will determine whether they are fit to take the JEE. From 2016, the top two lakh students will be eligible for the JEE (Advanced) instead of the top 1.5 lakh. Joint counseling will continue to be done for NITs and IITs.
“In future, Class 12 Board exam marks may not be considered. But students should not neglect Board exams. The changes are aimed to bring down the number of vacant seats which will have a positive impact on aspirants,” says PV Balaji, former chairman, JEE.
There are changes in store in the medical entrance too. Those aiming to pursue medicine may get only one chance to prove themselves as there are plans to have a common entrance test for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses across the country. The Medical Council of India (MCI) has given its nod to a proposal that supports the idea of a common medical test. Experts say the expected changes will have a lot of impact on the student intake quality and will also reduce burden on students.
The Committee of Eminent Persons (CEP), constituted by the IIT Council, has recommended major changes in the JEE structure with effect from 2017. While the exam will continue to be held in two stages, online aptitude tests to check the scientific aptitude of candidates will be held several times a year.
In a report submitted to the Centre on November 5, 2015, the CEP has proposed setting up a National Testing Service (NTS) by 2016 to conduct the aptitude test.
About four lakh candidates will be shortlisted for the JEE which will be on the lines of the current JEE (Advanced) by the IITs and will test the candidates in physics, chemistry and math. On the basis of their ranks more than 40,000 students will be able to apply to the IITs and NITs after common counselling.
Another recommendation by the CEP is that the IITs should set-up a system for developing mock JEEs to better prepare candidates for the exam. “The objectives of the proposed changes include conducting a single entrance test for all Centrally-funded technical institutions and reducing financial and mental burden on the candidates and their parents,” says Professor KV Krishna, member, Joint Admissions Board of IITs.
The two-tier JEE will continue in 2016 and 2017. From next year, the top two lakh students from JEE (Main) will be allowed to appear in JEE (Advanced). Joint counselling for IITs and NITs will continue (as was done last year). Board marks will not be counted when determining the rankings (likely from 2016) for NITs and Centrally-funded technical institutions. Weightage for Board marks would be given in JEE (Main) in 2016. Medical aspirants can expect a common entrance test in the next two years.
“In the October general body meeting of the MCI, the Council has backed the proposal for holding a common entrance test for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses in colleges and deemed universities across the country and has sent its recommendations to the health ministry,” says Dr Jayshree Mehta, president, MCI.
State governments currently conduct their own entrance tests. Also, candidates wanting admissions to private medical colleges and deemed universities have to take their tests, besides the AIPMT.
Impact of exam reforms
Elaborating on the impact of other changes in the engineering entrance exam, Professor Krishna says, “I do not find much use of introducing a two-stage exam for admission to the IITs. The common counselling, however, is one of the very good things that ever happened for the institutes and candidates. This has reduced the number of vacant seats in the participating institutes. However, there should be more number of rounds of allotment so that the candidates can get better seat preferences among their choices.”
A National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical colleges has also been scrapped. After several petitions that challenged MCI’s notification on NEET, the Supreme Court quashed the notification for holding common entrance tests for MBBS, BDS and postgraduate medical courses.
“NEET was a great way to screen aspiring doctors. A single entrance examination will reduce the harassment caused to aspirants who have to travel from one city to the other and spend money to appear for multiple entrance examinations all over India,” says Dr Arun Agarwal, professor of excellence, ENT, Maulana Azad Medical College.
Key changes likely to happen
# From next year, the top two lakh students from JEE (Main) will be allowed to appear in JEE (Advanced)
# An online aptitude test will be held several times a year to check the scientific aptitude of candidates from 2016
# Board marks will not be counted for giving rankings (likely from 2016) for NITs and Centrally-funded technical institutions
# Weightage for Board marks would be given in JEE (Main) in 2016
# A common entrance test for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses in colleges and deemed universities across India soon
Candidates to be shortlisted for JEE which will be on the lines of the current JEE (Advanced)
Candidates will be able to apply to IITs and NITs, based on their ranks