What is the JEE Main?


The JEE Main is an examination conducted by the CBSE for admission to the Centrally Funded Technical Institutes (CFTIs) including the NITs and IIITs as well as Institutions funded by participating State Governments. It was conceived to be a single examination however it has not yet achieved that goal as several institutions including the IITs are yet to accept this as the exam that decides admission.


It is however a qualifying exam for writing the JEE Advanced and in order to be eligible to write the JEE Advanced Students must be in the top 150,000 performers in the JEE Main. Other Institutions such as the IIST, IISc and IISER also admit students using just a JEE Main or a JEE Advanced score/rank, so the JEE Main is slowly getting widespread acceptance as a common standard for Science and Engineering Undergraduate Entrance.

JEE Main Details:


The JEE Main is conducted by the CBSE once a year in April. There is a proposal to hold this more frequently, but this is yet to come to fruition. It is conducted in both the online mode as well as the offline mode. The Online Exam has to be taken at designated centres and is held on multiple days. The Offline Exam is conducted on a pre announced day across all offline centres. There is no evidence of any advantage to writing one or the other of these formats, however, it is important to emphasise that taking an online test necessarily requires some extra work in attempting the free online tests made available by the examining authority beforehand. Students who have omitted to do so have run into difficulties on the day of the exam.


The examination is a multiple choice paper with equal weight age to Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. The paper carries negative marking, which means that incorrect answers will invite penalty points.


Eligibility & Qualifying Examination:


Students have to be at most 23 years old at the time of application. Typically only three attempts are allowed for this exam, in the year that a student writes his Qualifying Examination and the two years immediately following that.

There are several Qualifying Examinations for the JEE Main. Any Indian Board is generally eligible as along as results are declared by a specified deadline (usually in the end of June). They should have taken five subjects at the Qualifying Examination.

State level examinations who have shifted to using the JEE Main as the exam are able to set eligibility criteria independently and students should verify this eligibility statewise.


How are Results of the JEE Main Used?


Each state has the ability to draw up a merit list based on its own formula. For CFTIs however, an All India Rank is prepared using a fairly complex normalisation procedure that includes two components

a. The JEE Main score [60% weight age]

b. The students performance in the board exams. [40% weight age ]

While the formula for normalisation is public, the 40% weightage for board exams has the potential to disrupt the predictive value of the JEE Main score for an All India Rank. Students who have done well in the JEE Main have been known to get a poorer than expected All India Rank and vice versa.


JEE Main Preparation: A tricky balance!


JEE Main Preparation therefore is best done in conjunction with Board Preparation. JEE Main Preparation on its own may not yield a good merit list positions for students if they badly in boards.