The National Testing Agency (NTA) will conduct the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main four times in a year in as many as 13 languages, including English, starting with first round of the test from February 23 to February 26 next year, Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank announced on Wednesday.
“The schedule of the examination has been decided based on the suggestions from the students,” he said while addressing the students on Twitter.
While the online application process began with immediate effect and will continue till January 16, 2021, the NTA will hold the second round of the entrance test from March 15 to March 18, third from April 27 to April 30 and fourth from May 24 to May 28, according to the JEE Main information bulletin.
The students will have the option to take the test in Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu besides English. Until now, the NTA held the test in English, Hindi and Gujarati only.
“This will benefit students who have studied in the mother tongue. They can also appear for the test, qualify in it and become engineers,” Pokhriyal said.
The move to conduct the test four times a year seeks to provide multiple opportunities to the candidates to improve their scores. It also seeks to ensure that a candidate does not wait for a full year if she or he misses the test due to reasons beyond control. The NTA conducted the entrance exam twice a year so far.
“In case a candidate cannot appear for the test because of the board examination in a particular month or there is the fear of coronavirus, he can take the test in the month that suits him,” Pokhriyal said.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has cut the syllabus of classes 9 to 12 by 30 per cent due to the coronavirus pandemic, but many of the secondary school examination boards have not done so.
Given the scenario, the NTA has decided to prepare the JEE Main question papers in such a manner that they match the level of preparation of students of all school examination boards.
“There will be a total of 90 questions. Of them, students need to answer 75 questions. There will not be a provision for negative marking in 15 optional questions (for incorrect answers),” Pokhriyal said.
The testing agency will prepare the all India merit list taking best of the NTA scores of the students and announce the results of each of the sessions soon after the exams. It will compile and release the all India rank list of the qualified candidates after the conduct of the fourth session of the JEE Main in May.
The NTA conducts the JEE Main for admission to undergraduate engineering programmes as well as architecture and planning courses at the National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and other centrally funded technical institutions. Several other engineering colleges and universities also accept the JEE Main scores of admission in various States. The JEE Main is also an eligibility test for the JEE Advanced which is conducted by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) for admission.