UGC's NET: Only objective papers from 2012

UGC's alters either eligibility criteria or pattern almost every year

UGC in a marked departure from the existing pattern has redefined the way it will test one’s teaching aptitude, knowledge of a subject and analytical skills. From June onwards the new pattern of the National Eligibility Test (NET) will rely completely on objective-type questions for the purpose. NET is the nation-wide test used to determine eligibility for lectureship and award of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) . With this step, the third and only subjective paper in the exam has been turned into an objective one.

NET is generally held in the months of June and December. The current system has two common objective type tests, and a subjective section to test in depth knowledge in the specialised subject. Every time more than five lakh candidates appear for the NET, and evaluation of the subjective paper proved to be a huge task.

Sources at UGC said that due to the subjective paper, results were delayed and instances of candidates being unhappy with evaluations have increased. But this reason does not seem logical because UPSC has successfully handled nine subjective papers in the Civil Service exam! Dr. Om Mahala of Rajasthan University shares, “This tendency in exam pattern to shift focus to objective type questions is not a healthy sign for achieving academic excellence.”

Some students who find it difficult to write lengthy answers are happy with this change in pattern. However, by relying only on objective-type questions it will be a difficult task for the UGC to assess teaching aptitude and in depth knowledge of one’s respective subject. 

Not everyone agrees with an entirely objective type test. “In languages and Social Science subjects it will be unfair to judge students without the writing skills,” says Prof. Anup Beniwal of GGS Indraprastha University of Delhi.

 “In languages & Social Science subjects it will be unfair to judge students without the writing skills”

Prof. Anup Beniwal Indraprastha University, Delhi

Frequent changes in NET
Almost every year UGC is either changing eligibility criteria or exam pattern. In December 2009 negative marking was introduced in Paper I & II. But next year’s change did away with this. Until 2011, physically handicapped candidates were kept in the category of OBC for criteria of minimum qualifiing marks but now they are considered among the SC/ ST category.

For NET aspirants it is very important to keep in mind the minimum passing marks, which are separate for different categories and test papers. An entirely objective test is a relief, especially for candidates who find it difficult it to write a 200 marks paper in two-and-a-half hours. Elaborating on shifting goal posts Sudeep, who cracked NET in  2010, says that in his first attempt he got 89 in the third paper and a total 225 marks, but could not succeed. In 2011, the eligibility criteria was changed and he cleared the NET with only 81 marks in the third paper and scored a total of 197 marks.


New NET pattern
The test will comprise three papers - all objective in nature. They will be held on the day of examination in two separate sessions. Paper - III will be of 150 marks instead of the earlier 200 marks. The candidates are required to obtain minimum marks separately in Paper-I, Paper-II and Paper-III. Only such candidates who obtain the minimum required marks in each paper separately, will be considered for final preparation of result. The syllabus of all papers will remain the same.

Paper-I: Will test the teaching and research aptitude of the candidate. It will test reasoning ability, comprehension, divergent thinking and general awareness. 

Paper-II: Will comprise questions based on the subject selected by the candidate. The level of this test is generally of graduation level.

Paper-III: Will comprise 75 questions,  all of which are compulsory. This paper is of postgraduation and advance level. It will test deep understanding and knowledge of the subject.

The candidates may carry the carbon printout of the OMR Response Sheets with them on conclusion of the examination. For more information you can log on to the UGC website

Snapshot of NET’s new format
Number of Questions
60 out of which 50 questions are to be attempted
50x2 = 100
1  Hours (09.30 a.m. to 10.45 a.m.)
50 questions all of which are Compulsory
50x2 = 100
1  Hours (10.45 a.m. to 12.00 Noon.)
75 questions all of which are compulsory
75x2 = 150
2  Hours (01.30 p.m. to 04.00 p.m.)



Minimum marks (%) to be obtained
40 (40%)
40 (40%)
75 (50%)
35 (35%)
35 (35%)
67.5 (45%) rounded off to 68
35 (35%)
35 (35%)
60 (40%)