CUET will be the only entrance test for all undergraduate and postgraduate courses
and there are aspects of the exam that can be handled better.
Students find senior secondary school study as stressful and crucial as they have to prepare for
their board exams and also think about gaining admission to colleges. The admissions to central,
state and private universities were largely based on merit till 2021 with a few exceptions.
However, in March 2022, the National Testing Agency (NTA) introduced the Common
University Entrance Test (CUET) which is a standardized test for admissions to undergraduate
and postgraduate courses, diplomas, certification courses, and research programs.
Admission to undergraduate courses in 90 universities, including 21 private and 12 state
universities take place through CUET-UG 2022 for the academic year 2022-23.
The introductory year of CUET-UG saw 14.9 lakh registrations and has become India\’s second-
biggest examination. Even though CUET has eliminated the limitations of merit-based
admissions for students from different boards, it hasn’t been a smooth ride for students so far.
CUET is being conducted in six phases between July 15 and August 31. However, students who
have taken the exam are unsatisfied due to multiple last-minute changes to test centres and
timings, technical glitches reducing the time available to students, lack of clarity on the
examination pattern and an uncertainty of how and when the admission process will end and
when the academic year would begin.
The National Testing Agency offers 27 domain-specific subjects and 33 languages in CUET and
according to their preference for college and course, a candidate can choose a maximum of nine
subjects creating over 45,000 unique subject combinations.
CUET creates fresh opportunities for offline coaching centres and edtech players to tap into a
larger student base. New courses specific to CUET preparations have been introduced by Edtech
players which have seen a rise in enrolment of students.
CUET has delayed the admission process by months which has led many aspirants to give up on
their preferred choice of college. Many students have enrolled themselves in private universities
due to the uncertainty of losing their choice of course.
The introduction of CUET is set to have a two-fold impact, i.e., it will reduce the significance of
Class 12 board exams and increase the dependence on coaching classes for preparation.
The goal of CUET is to remove the disparity between students from different boards along with
reducing the hassle of multiple examinations and bias in evaluations. This increasing
significance of CUET will push the students more towards online or offline coaching options.
There is a high demand for CUET courses amongst Class 12 students across various boards and
for several Edtech platforms, CUET has been a new addition to the product portfolio in the last
four to five months which has also led to attractive numbers.
Students who are likely to take the CUET in future will increase exponentially if the recent
proposal of the UGC to merge it with NEET and JEE Mains is implemented. Nearly 16 lakh
students applied for NEET in 2021 with around 83,000 MBBS seats and 27,000 BDS seats.
Moreover, more than 22 lakh students applied for the IIT-JEE examination for a mere 16,000
seats in the Indian Institutes of Technologies.
With the government considering merging JEE and NEET with CUET, the landscape would
change rapidly and the number of universities that depend on CUET is expected to double in
Common Entrance test assesses the aptitude of students with different skill sets from different
boards and bringing them all together on a singular platform raises questions of equitable
opportunities. However, it is necessary to understand that getting into college, irrespective of the
background, requires some fundamental skills.
Following complaints of glitches in the conduct of CUET, the National Testing Agency is
considering changes for next year’s exam by including a reduction in the number of subject
combinations and reviewing the number of cities in which exams are conducted.
CUET is likely to be the only entrance test for all undergraduate and postgraduate courses and
there are aspects of the exam that can be handled better including pattern and structure.
However, CUET should have a promising future.