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The Common University Entrance Test (CUET)-UG will be conducted in three shifts this year instead of two and plans to merge it with essential entrance exams like JEE and NEET will be announced at least two years in advance, according to UGC chairman M. Jagadesh Kumar.
Kumar said that the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the National Testing Agency (NTA) are ready to ensure that the second edition of CUET-UG is glitch-free.
“I agree that there were several difficulties during the exam last time but this year all the issues have been resolved. Keeping in mind the experience of the students, a plan has been shaped out and we are ready to ensure that the candidates have to worry about the exam and not any glitches,” he said.
“Additional computers and additional centers have been arranged as plan B so that in case of any defects, the candidates can be moved there and the examination for a particular shift will not be cancelled,” he added.
Kumar said, deviating from the usual pattern, the examination will be conducted in three shifts from this year onwards.
When asked about the proposal to merge CUET with the engineering entrance exam JEE and the medical entrance exam NEET, Kumar said, “It is definitely feasible. The details are being worked out but whenever the merger takes place, an announcement will be made at least two years in advance so that the students can prepare accordingly.”
The UGC had announced in March last year that undergraduate admissions will be conducted in all central universities through a common entrance test and not on the basis of class 12 marks.
The first edition of the CUET-UG was held in July last year and was marred by glitches, prompting the NTA to cancel the exam in multiple centres. Although many students were informed of the cancellation the night before the exam, many were turned away from the centres.
The chairman of the UGC had then said that the examination in some centers had been canceled following reports of “sabotage”.
With 14.9 lakh registrations, the CUET, the common gateway for undergraduate admissions in all central universities, became the second largest entrance exam in the country, surpassing JEE-Main’s average registration of nine lakh.
“We have already received over 11.5 lakh registrations this year. The deadline has been extended till March 30 and we expect the applications to cross last year’s number,” Kumar said.
When asked about the “normalisation” of scores which left many candidates disappointed as they found their marks had dropped from their original scores, making it difficult for them to get the college of their dreams, he said efforts had been made to minimize any errors during the process.
“The examination timetable has been compressed this year to 10 days instead of over a month and a half in order to reduce any errors in the normalization as the variation is greater when the examination is held over a longer period of time,” he said. .
A panel comprising professors from the Indian Statistical Institute, IIT Delhi and Delhi University has decided on the normalization formula using the “equivalent method”.