Get SET, NET ready

Highlights: 
Till now, UGC and CBSE conducted NET on only one day throughout the country and for all subjects, and also for all papers. However, NTA will conduct NET in two shifts, this year.

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has established the National Testing Agency (NTA) for the purpose of conducting tests in an efficient and a transparent manner to assess the competency of candidates for admissions and determining their eligibility for Assistant Professorship and Junior Research Fellowship (JRF). 

Till now, the National Eligibility Test (NET) was conducted, on behalf of the University Grants Commission (UGC), by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Now, this task is entrusted to the NTA and this agency is making necessary preparation to conduct the first test (NET) in December 2018. The NTA has retained major components of the test as designed and implemented by the CBSE. However, it has made certain changes which will be effective from December. 

The basics

NET comprises two papers. Paper I is common and compulsory for all applicants. The syllabus of this paper comprises 10 units drawn from different disciplines – teaching, research aptitude, reading comprehension, communication, reasoning (mathematical, logical), data interpretation, information and communication technology, environment, governance and polity etc. From each unit, five questions are asked and therefore, the question paper comprises 50 questions. All are compulsory multiple choice questions (MCQs), each carrying two marks. The duration of this paper is one hour. 

Paper II is based on the subject selected by the candidate. The NTA will be conducting NET in 101 disciplines, across the faculties of Arts, Commerce, Education, Law, Languages and so on. This is also common and compulsory for all candidates from a particular discipline. For example, all MCom degree holders have to appear for Paper II in Commerce. Paper II comprises 100 MCQs of two marks each. 

All questions are compulsory and the duration is two hours. Copy of the syllabus of both the papers and also the old question papers are available on the UGC website and can be downloaded. 

For each correct response, the candidate gets two marks. There is no negative marking and marks will not be awarded for questions that are not attempted or ‘marked for review’. If a question is found to be incorrect, the marks will be given to those candidates who have attempted it. There is no provision to challenge or re-evaluate answer scripts, but the candidates can challenge the answer key published on the NTA website. 

With regard to the eligibility, the criteria are the same with the upper age limit for JRF being not more than 30 years as on December 1, 2018 and there is no limit for Assistant Professorship.

The application must be submitted online and students in the final year of the postgraduate studies are eligible to apply. The last date for submission is September 30, 2018. However, the application fees for all categories has been reduced, with Rs 800, Rs 400 and Rs 200 for general, OBC and SC/ST/PWD respectively. 

What’s different 

Till now, UGC and CBSE conducted NET on only one day throughout the country and for all subjects, and also for all papers. However, NTA will conduct NET in two shifts, this year. The exam will be conducted between December 9 – 23, 2018. The NTA has notified that the exact date will be announced by October 21, 2018 on its website. 

Earlier, the candidates were required to mark the responses to questions on the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) sheet provided along with the test booklet. Now, the NTA has notified that the test will be Computer Based Test (CBT), an online examination – the candidates are required to appear for the online examination on the specified date, shift and examination centre.

The NTA has identified about 264 cities and towns in the country for conducting the test and the candidates are provided with an option to specify four cities of their choice. In Karnataka, it has identified 17 cities as test centres. As NET is proposed to be conducted online for the first time, NTA is planning to arrange for sample exams at Test Practice Centres (TPCs) near the location of the candidates. Besides this, NTA has already notified the results date, January 10, 2019.  

State level tests

University of Mysore has also invited applications from eligible candidates for KSET scheduled for  December 16, 2018. As far as KSET is concerned, there is no change in the eligibility, mode of submission of application, scheme of test, syllabus, question paper pattern, etc, from the earlier KSET. One of the important differences between KSET and UGC-NET is the method of conducting the test. In KSET, the candidates are required, as in the past, to mark the answers in the OMR sheet. The last date for submission of online application is September 22, 2018. KSET is conducted in 39 subjects at 11 nodal centres across Karnataka.

This year, the candidates have an advantage as they have two opportunities and similar question papers. This will make preparation convenient. So, study well.

(The author is dean at Akshara
Institute of Management Studies,
Shivamogga)

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