In 2013, students of class XII wrote the first JEE Main and JEE Advanced exams conducted by NCERT and IITs respectively. The aim of this paradigm shift was to reduce the number of examinations an engineering aspirant would have to take. To eliminate the strain caused by the numerous exams students attempted each year to enter professional universities, the central board decided to do away with all exams and conduct one central exam for admission to engineering colleges. Unfortunately, it was not as well-received by the states as the Center had hoped.
Some states still wished to continue their Common Entrance Test (CET); this meant that the students had to take the same number of tests as before. This led a lot of skeptics to assume that the only change this pattern brought about was the change in nomenclature. But that is not true. The change in the pattern has been a boon to the engineering aspirants in more than one ways:
- JEE Main gives weightage even to the board exams. If the student has performed well in the board exams, he/she stands a better chance at qualifying in JEE Main. By doing this, students are given a safety card just in case something goes wrong on the day of JEE Main and the student is not able to give it his/her best.
- According to the JEE Main ranking regulations, the top 20 percentile of the students writing the JEE Main will qualify for JEE Advanced. This mode of selection gives equal opportunity for students of all states to get into the IITs. In the past, the majority of the students who got selected for the IITs were from specific states where the focus on these competitive exams was higher.
- In the past, students were barely out of the board exam phase when they had to take up the toughest engineering exam in the country (IIT-JEE). But now, the first exam they will encounter is JEE Main, which is considerably less tough than JEE Advanced. Furthermore, they have an additional one and a half months to solely focus and prepare for JEE Advanced. Experts say that this can considerably ease the strain on students.