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While AIEEE, IIT-JEE, state CETs will coverge, A student must crack the Mains in one attempt

THOSE aspiring to study at premier engineering colleges like IITs, NITs and IIITs in 2013, have braved much uncertainty in the last few months. Now, with the IITs and NITs announcing their admission procedure, there is partial relief in sight.

Under the new format, IIT-JEE, AIEEE and some state CETs would all converge into a single exam, which would be conducted in two phases, with the engineering colleges having the discretion of assigning weightage that they deem fit for their respective selfs.

Idea behind change
This new admission process, is of course, way off the one originally proposed by Prof. Acharya and Dr. Ramasami, which has gone through many amendments that the original objective has been lost ie, to test engineering aspirants  thrice in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics at different difficulty levels (scroll to box at end of article for details). All the talk of it being stress-free and reducing the hassle of taking multiple tests might not be true in both letter and spirit. As a single exam also increases one’s stakes and if not provided with an opportunity to improve will be highly stressful.

At a glance


Conducted by

Weightage in NIT

Weightage in IIT


Respective Boards, who in turn provide both the score and the percentile ranking of the students to CBSE and IITs.

40% of the normalised scores

Top 20 percentile of the respective boards




Screening Test


Joint Committee of IITs


100%; subject to qualifying the admission criteria of top 20 percentile

New exam format
a. The test will be conducted in two phases, - the Mains and the Advanced.  All students will have to appear for the Mains, to be conducted by CBSE. In all probability it will be a Multiple Choice Question paper.

b. Admission to NITs and other centrally-funded institutions would be based on one’s score in the Mains and performance in the Boards,  with Mains having 60% weightage and balance for class XII boards.
c. As was recommended by the Ramasami Committee, to address the variance across the 42 boards in India, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata would provide a formula to normalise the scores across all boards.

d. IITs will use the Mains as a screening test, and only the top 1.5 lakh performers of the Mains will be eligible for the Advanced Test. This will be conducted by the IITs for admission to the  IITs, and it might be a subjective paper, as was the case till few years back. Here the boards will be eligibility criteria and only those who are in the top 20% in their respective boards would be considered for admission. The minimum score in the board exams for eligibility will vary across boards and states.

e.  States like Maharastra, Gujarat, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh are expected to join this single exam from 2013, and hopefully other states would also be a part of this single examination if not in 2013. The weightage however would be decided by each state and not necessarily the same as that of NITs and other centrally-funded institutions.

Study tips

  1. Plan studies giving due attention to all the three exams.

  2. Focus on school curriculum and try to maximise scores in the board examinations; poor grades here would certainly be a disadvantage.

  3. Understand one’s capabilities so as to make a choice of what is within reach and what is a stretched goal.

  4. Keep track of new developments with respect to test dates, pattern, through the  CBSE and IIT website. 

Ramasami Committee’s original plan

Under the leadership of Prof. Acharya Director of IIT – Kharagpur and Dr Ramasami Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India,  the committee recommended a common exam that was to:

  • give weightage to Boards, Aptitude (raw intelligence) and knowledge of subjects. The suggested ratios were 40:30:30.

  • They also recommended that the test be conducted more than once in a year, so as to reduce the pressure on students. In the new system, in all likelihood students will be  evaluated on the same three subjects (PCM) in both Mains and Advanced tests.

Is this change for the better?
The new test continues to check the aspirant’s preparedness and competitiveness instead of raw intelligence, logical reasoning, aptitude and general aptitude, the objective of the Ramasami Committee. Indian technological institutions are probably the only ones globally, to use such a complex assessment.

It  might be prudent for them to look at the selection procedure being practised by some of the top 50 tech colleges of the world, of which many are in Asia.

Arun Mittal is VP, CL Educate.

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