The logic of the common entrance test for central universities

In recent years, the high thresholds for admission to leading institutions such as the University of Delhi have underscored the need for alternatives. UGC hopes decision will create a level playing field

University of Delhi. UGC keen to integrate more central universities in the framework of the common entrance test of central universities | Photo file

From next year (2022-2023), a common entrance test (CET) will be implemented at central universities for admissions to undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) courses.

Last month, the University Grants Commission (UGC) wrote to rectors of 45 central universities that “after detailed deliberations” it was decided that the National Testing Agency would conduct the CET.

In recent years, the high thresholds for admission to leading institutions such as the University of Delhi have underscored the need for alternatives. UGC hopes its decision will create a level playing field.

The Common Central Universities Entrance Test (CUCET), a test for admission across India to various integrated, UG, PG and research programs at several central and public universities, was launched in 2010, a year after the creation of 12 new central universities. .


In the year of its deployment, seven new central universities adopted CUCET, for admissions to 1,500 places in 41 UGs, PGs and integrated courses.

Over the years the list has grown and this year 12 central universities organized CUCET with the help of the NTA, which reports to the Ministry of Education.

The UGC has been keen to bring together more central universities under CUCET since the National Education Policy, 2020, recommended it.

Last December, he set up a seven-member committee under the leadership of RP Tiwari, vice-chancellor of the Central University of the Punjab, to prepare a plan for the implementation of CUCET from 2021 to 222. The report of the committee gave the green light to the proposal, but the UGC had to put the plan on hold due to challenges posed by COVID-19. The latest push came on November 22, when the UGC held a meeting with the rectors of 45 central universities.

The tests will cover science, humanities, languages, arts, and vocational subjects, and they will likely take place at least twice a year.

At present, CUCET papers consist of two segments. Part A tests a candidate’s language skills, general awareness, mathematical skills and analytical problems; Part B covers domain knowledge. Both articles contain multiple choice questions. For admission to MBA, LLB, and MCA courses, there is an article comprising 100 multiple-choice questions covering English, Reasoning, Numerical Ability, General Awareness, and Analytical Skills.

The tests do not apply to engineering and medical courses offered by some central universities. These will also not be included in the new model.

Although the UGC has yet to announce the model of the exams once they are extended, the panel report indicates that the test for the UG level will be in two parts. Section A, a common aptitude test, will consist of 50 questions; Section B will be an area-specific test comprising 30 questions each from a selected combination of topics. The committee also recommended that, to begin with, a minimum of 50 percent of a candidate’s CUCET score be considered when entering UG courses.

In its new form, CUCET could also be referred to as the Common University Entrance Test.

The committee also recommended that existing policies regarding quotas, subject combinations, preferences, etc., that govern a particular university remain applicable even after the deployment of a common test.

The justification

The NEP, 2020 anticipates that TECs will test conceptual understanding and the ability to apply knowledge, and aim to eliminate the need for coaching for these exams. The flexibility of NTA testing services will allow most universities to use these CETs “rather than having hundreds of universities each designing their own entrance exams”.

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