Central University Entrance Test (CUET): A logical Extension of the new National Education Policy (NEP) | Expert Speak

CUET is a redesigned version of CUCET that is now mandatory for all central universities. This follows the roadmap in the new National Education Policy (NEP), which envisages the use of an entrance exam for university admissions.

Central University Entrance Test (CUET)
Central University Entrance Test (CUET)

The University Grants Commission announced, on March 21,  that it has introduced the Central University Entrance Test (CUET) for admissions in the undergraduate courses in all UGC-affiliated central universities. The entrance exam is expected to be conducted in the first week of July. 

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has madethe Central University Entrance Test (CUET) mandatory for undergraduate admission at any of the central universities in the country. The National Testing Agency will conduct theCUET 2022.After the results of the CUET is declared, each Central university will admit students based on a merit list prepared by NTA.

National Testing Agency was,in fact,established in November 2017 to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions. It was established to meet the goal of ‘one India one test’ in any field.


Though CUET is not a novel concept, this time it is coming with more teeth and may become a game changer. Under the UPA-II Government, it was introducedas the Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET) in 2010, but it failed to gain traction because only14 central varsities had implemented it till last year and not any of them has been a frontline Central University like DU, Jamia Milia, BHU or JNU. As it will be bindingoneach of the Central Universitiesthis time, the importance and credibility of the Test will be immense.  CUET is a redesigned version of CUCET that is now mandatory for all central universities. This follows the roadmap in the new National Education Policy (NEP), which envisagesthe use of an entrance exam for university admissions. The day is now about to arrive when Indian students will have an equivalent of SAT and GRE for Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate studies respectively.

Like it is in the colleges taking JEE (Mains) and in NEET score/ranks for the admission in their courses, the Class 12 marks will no longer be considered important for admissionin undergraduate courses at central universities in India, according to the order released by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The Common University Entrance Test (CUET) will be conducted in the first week of July from the 2022-23 academic session for admission to undergraduate courses across all central universities including Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Indira Gandhi National Open University, among others. Private universities, state-run universities and deemed-to-be universities can also use the UGC as the admission criteria if they want to.
The CUET is also applicable to PG programmes, but not mandatory at least for the 2022-2023 session.

Impact on the Students

This is definitely a good news for students, who used to fill multiple forms for admission in the multiple University/Colleges. It may mean there is no more sky-high cut-off marks based on class 12th result,although a minimum eligibility on board marks can be established by a college and university.

On the flipside, every student who is looking for admission toany of the Central Universitieswill have to prepare for one more additional exam for their undergraduate career.  This may be seen by some as additional burden to their existing study load. Moreover, there may be some who are already going through the grind since they may be preparing for Entrance exams for many other professional courses (JEE, NEET, CLAT, MH-CET, WBJEE, VITEEE etc).

However, the move is intended to adjust for the diversity of boards and the difference in evaluation systems, much like JEE scores are considered for admissions into NITs, IITs and GFTIs. UGC chairman Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar told “That is the reason, why we are giving one standard, NCERT syllabus, so everybody can prepare from there, and have a common reference" .

Central University Entrance Exam (CUET) Process decoded:

According to the discussion in various sources and forum, it is learnt that the Central University Entrance Exam (CUET) will have the following:

  1. It will bebased on the NCERT syllabus for class 12 in the respective stream/domain
  2. The CUET will have Section 1A, Section 1B, General Test & Domain specific subjects.

Section 1A is a language paper and will be available in 13 languages and candidates can choose a language of their choice. Section 1B will be optional and students can opt for another language of their choice from the available in 13 languages apart from the one chosen in 1A. Under domain specific subjects, candidates can choose upto a maximum of six domains that they wish to pursue at UG level. Finally, there will be general test. The score in general test may or may not be essential in every university (some may require it as an essential). But general test is an essential and integral part of the CUET.

  1. It will be conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) in two shifts. The first shift includes one language test with 13 language options to choose from(Section 1A), two subject-specific tests, and a general test. In the second phase, candidates can choose to write the remaining four domain subjects along with a language subject (Section 1B).
  2. There will be practical exams in some courses in some universities.
  3. Admission for the foreign students will not be under CUET. For them the existing admission process will continue.

CUET: UG Exam Pattern in nutshell

CUET 2022 will be conducted in an online mode this year, earlier, the exam was offline. NTA will conduct CUET Exam in 13 languages [12 scheduled languages apart from English and these are Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, and Punjabi]. The exam pattern for CUET 2022 may be as given below:

  1. CUET will consist of Section 1A, Section 1B (optional), General Test & Domain specific subjects. Section 1A and 1B are test of language.
  2. The CUET Exam will be two shifts.
  3. The question paper will be MCQ type only and each question is likely to carry 1 mark each.
  4. There will be a negative marking (1/4thofthe mark allotted) for each wrong answer.
  5. For certain courses like the Integrated Programme or LLB or MBA or other such programs, there may be only general aptitude section.

Note: With the official notification by the NTA, it will be clear what will be the details of domain-specific section in the CUET 2022.

Some key points of the new UG admissions entrance test-CUET. 

  • Marks secured in class 12 board exams will not carry any weightage in university admissions

From this year, admissions to undergraduate courses in central universities will be solely based on the CUET score. As a result, marks secured in class 12 board exams may not carry any weightage in university admissions. The universities, however, can use the Board exam marks as an eligibility criterion for CUET.

  • No changes in the quota of reserved seats

Even though the CUET score is compulsory for all Central Universities,the quota of reserved seats at minority institutions like AMU and Jamia will not be affected.But they will also have to adopt the entrance test criteria for admissions required by other Central Universities. The UGC Chairman M Jagdesh Kumar clarified that CUET will not affect the quota of reserved seats at such institutions, but they will have to mandatorily admit all students through the common test.

  • International students exempted from CUET

International students seeking admissions in Indian universities are exempted from CUET.Their admissions will be carried out on the existing supernumerary basis.

  • CUET to be conducted in 13 languages

With reference to the new National Education Policy (NEP), encourages the use of regional languages in education, the UGC has decided to offer CUET 2022 in 13 languages. These are Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Urdu, Assamese, Bengali, Punjabi, Odia and English.

The test will be administered in two shifts. Candidates will take Section IA (languages), two chosen domain subjects, and the general test during the first shift. They will appear for the remaining four domain subjects, as well as an extra language test (1B), in the second shift.

  • CUET syllabus to be based on Class 12 NCERT textbooks

The UGC chairman said that the three-and-a-half-hour computer-based entrance test will only have multiple choice questions based on the content of class 12 NCERT textbooks. CUET will essentially have three parts. Students will be marked negatively for incorrect answers.

About the Expert

Falguni Goswami Sh Falguni Goswami is the Founder and Head of Careerbandhu Education. Apart from being an expert in the Testprep industry, he is a renowned Career counsellor as well.He is an Indian Air Force veteran with long experience as a senior faculty in coaching institutes like T.I.M.E and Career Launcher.

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