New Delhi, Sept. 19: Aspiring engineers studying for the JEE-Main, the exam they need to crack for admission to the National Institutes of Technology, may get a second chance without losing a year.
If the plan — aimed at relieving students of “make-or-break” stress — is accepted, the new system could be implemented from 2015.
The JEE Apex Board that decides the joint entrance exam’s format met on Tuesday when it considered the idea of holding the JEE-Main twice with a gap of two months between the tests to help students improve their performance.
“We are considering the idea of holding the test twice a year. The first test may be held in January or February while the second one could be in April or May,” a source in the board told The Telegraph.
Sources said the idea was to reduce the “stress” on students for whom the JEE-Main was a “make-or-break” attempt to shape their career. Also, a second chance could help students avoid losing a year if they missed the first test because of illness or unavoidable circumstances.
Nearly 12.5 lakh students appeared this year for the test conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Around 4.5 lakh made it to the final merit list prepared on the basis of 60:40 weightage to the JEE-Main score and normalised board scores.
The top 1.5 lakh were allowed to appear for the JEE-Advanced, the test IIT aspirants have to clear.
If the two-exam suggestion is accepted, the result of the test in which a candidate performs better will be considered while preparing the final merit list.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the JEE Apex Board, however, raised several concerns, including the timing of the first test, which, if it is held in February, might coincide with board exams in several states. If the test is held in January, some boards might not be able to complete the full Class XII syllabus.
Another point that came up was that underprivileged students might not find it convenient to travel to state capitals again so soon after the first test. Exam centres for the JEE-Main are mostly located in state capitals.
Experts are divided on whether holding the test twice would reduce stress.
Mahamaya Technical University vice-chancellor S.K. Kak said two chances would help reduce stress. “Students will not feel hassled.”
An IIT teacher, however, said a repeat exam could increase stress as every candidate would try to improve his or her marks. “The second chance may prove good for students who have missed the first exam for a genuine reason. But it will encourage every student to take both the tests to improve their chances.”
The source in the JEE Apex Board said the CBSE would seek the views of all the stakeholders, including students, parents and the public.
“The final decision will be taken on the basis of the feedback received,” the source added.
The board decided to continue with the procedure for normalising board scores for the JEE-Main. “We may have a re-look at the procedure in 2015 based on the experience of the first two years,” the source said.
The procedure, which involves a percentile-based formula, drew criticism from several quarters this year.