Why JEE Main is a total farce?
Prabha Dhavala, 18 May 2018, #JEE Main
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April 30 was a big day for most engineering aspirants. CBSE had released the results for JEE Main and also the cut offs for appearing in JEE Advanced. It is this cut-off that is widely misunderstood by students and parents. Many count this as a qualifying cut-off and assume that if they have not got the marks equal to or above it, they have not qualified in the exam. This is the biggest myth of JEE Main.  So is there a cut off to get rank in JEE Main?

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How it began?

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 It started with an innocent query, “How much should I score to pass JEE Main”? We searched for an answer and were surprised to discover there were no qualifying marks. We filed RTIS to find out the corresponding marks for JEE ranks. This is what we found:


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JEE Main 2017 statistics

JEE Main Paper I






Last rank


Marks obtained by Last rank

Physics -29, Maths - 25 and Chemistry -30

No. of candidates who got 0 marks


No. of candidates who got -ve marks


What does this mean?

As the table above shows of the 11.34 lakh students who appeared for JEE Main 2017, about 11.22 students got a rank. And this includes about 96 thousand students who got both zero and negative marks (Column 6 and 7 respectively). In other words every student who appears for the exam and is not debarred will get a rank.  THERE IS NO QUALIFYING MARKS FOR THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS ENGINEERING ENTRANCE EXAM IN THE COUNTRY.


What is the result?

And this has resulted in many NITs especially in North East actually admitting students who have either obtained less than zero or around single digit scores into engineering courses.

Institute Name



Opening Rank

Closing Rank

National Institute of Technology Sikkim

Civil Engineering




National Institute of Technology, Manipur

Mechanical Engineering




National Institute of Technology Sikkim

Electrical and Electronics Engineering




National Institute of Technology Sikkim

Electronics and Communication Engineering




National Institute of Technology, Mizoram

Computer Science and Engineering




National Institute of Technology, Mizoram

Electrical and Electronics Engineering




What is wrong?

Every prestigious exam in the country has a minimum qualifying percentage or percentile. In case of NEET, it is the 50th percentile for general category and 40th for reserved categories. But here there is none.  How can CBSE not have a minimum qualifying criterion? Protecting the state’s interest may be fine but doing so at the cost of allowing undeserving candidates admission is detrimental to the national interest.  It also does nobody good especially the student who will be left coping up with a difficult and competitive environment and is patently not qualified to enter in.


What does this mean for students?

This is a matter of serious concern. It is seen that 25,220 seats are in totality available to students across categories in all the NITs, IIITs and CFTIs and the total number of students who appear for the exam are around 12 lakhs. Without a qualifying cut-off, anyone can apply and get a rank. This means that in spite of bad marks, zero marks or minus marks; a student can participate in the counselling for admissions.

In the normal course, every exam including a class test in school has a certain pass mark that is used as a benchmark for qualifying or moving to the next step. Even JEE Advanced has a certain qualifying cut-off as does GATE, NEET, .NET and every other exam that is conducted by CBSE. It is only JEE Main that doesn’t have one. Therefore, if there is no qualifying mark to determine if a student should stand a chance of applying for admissions, it means that the exam is completely pointless as there is every chance of misuse by students who vie for admissions in spite of being ineligible in every sense.

Now by applying a cut off there is a possibility that some NITs do not find qualified candidates for all the seats in their home state quota. And this is a good sign because such seats then can then revert to the national pool and more qualified candidates would get the seat.

Otherwise a minus 2 marks candidate who has been given an All India rank of 1009588, will get a civil engineering seat in NIT, Sikkim under state quota while as a 20000 rank holder with say 280-300 marks who does not belong to Sikkim will be left to fend for himself or herself. And that is a farce!

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