The second edition of the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) began on Sunday, with over 14 lakh candidates set to appear for the crucial exam for undergraduate admissions.
Unlike last year, the exam is being conducted in three shifts this time. Earlier, the exam was scheduled to be held from May 21 to May 31 but the National Testing Agency (NTA) decided to extend the schedule by at least four days to accommodate the higher number of candidates. University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar advised the students to answer questions only if they are confident about the correct answer.
“Read the questions carefully. Answer the questions only if you are confident about their correctness, as there will be negative marking. Remain calm and focus on your efforts without worrying about the outcome. Even if you cannot do the test well, remember there is always a tomorrow and another opportunity to do well,” he said.
Over 14 lakh applications have been received for the CUET-UG this year, registering a 41 per cent increase from the debut edition last year. CUET-UG remains the second-largest entrance exam in the country in terms of applicants. In the debut edition of CUET-UG, 12.5 lakh students registered themselves and 9.9 lakh of them submitted their applications.
“About 8 lakh students students are appearing in the first phase – May 21 to 25. Almost equal number of boys and girls will be writing. Nearly 750 centres spread in all states and UTs are being used. Exams are being conducted in this phase in nearly 200 paper combinations,” Kumar said.
The UGC, in March last year, announced that undergraduate admissions will be conducted in all central universities through a common entrance test and not based on class 12 marks. The debut edition of the CUET-UG was conducted in July last year and was marred by glitches, prompting the NTA to cancel the exam at multiple centres.
While several students were informed about the cancellation a night before the exam, many of them were turned away from centres. The UGC chairman had then said the exam at certain centres had been cancelled following reports of "sabotage".
“NTA has taken all measures to test the readiness of all centres regarding computers, network infrastructure, and security.SoPs are given to observers and invigilators for all centres. Dummy tests have been conducted to check for any possible issues. “Extra computers have been arranged at each centre. In case of any unforeseen problems with computers, students can be quickly shifted to these computers,” he said.