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The IIT-JEE (recently called the JEE ADVANCED) commenced since 1960 is considered the toughest Entrance Exam in the world and is the criterion for admission to undergraduate courses in the world-renowned tech-schools viz. the IITs. Though the syllabi of the IIT-JEE has undergone very little change since 1960, the format and exam pattern have undergone major changes every 2-3 years since the past 2 decades.

A brief history of the various formats and exam patterns of the IIT-JEE is as under :

  • 1960 – 1989: IIT-JEE was an exam having 3 Question Papers each one in PCM of 3 hours each. The exam pattern was Subjective.
  • 1990 - 2003: The exam format of the IIT-JEE had two stages viz. Screening & Mains. It was mandatory to clear the Screening Exam to be eligible for the Mains exam. The Screening was an Objective Test whereas the Mains was a Subjective Test.
  • 2004 - 2005: The IIT-JEE became a single-stage exam having 3 separate questions papers of PCM each of 2 hours each. All 3 papers were of Subjective exam pattern.
  • 2006 - 2012: The IIT-JEE became a Single-stage Objective exam having 2 papers each having PCM of 3 hours each. The exam had mixed question patterns.
  • 2013 - 2016: The IIT-JEE again became a two-stage exam viz. JEE MAINS and JEE ADVANCED. The JEE MAINS is an Objective exam with Single-Answer MCQs and the JEE ADVANCED is a mixed pattern Objective questions-based exam.
  • 2017-onwards: Format and exam pattern expected to change again! There is speculation that the IIT-JEE shall remain a 2-stage exam with an Online Aptitude Test to be used as a Screening for eligibility for writing the JEE which is expected to be Subjective in exam-pattern. This is as per the recommendations of an eminent Govt. panel headed by ex-Director of IIT Bombay, Prof. Ashok Misra.

It is the observation of IIT Professors in the past 2 decades that the students selected via a Subjective pattern of the IIT-JEE have been more suited to the level of academics taught inside the hallowed portals of the IITs as compared to students selected via a Objective pattern. This may be principally due to 2 reasons :

  • A Subjective pattern expects a student to “create an answer” rather than “choose an answer”. It is obvious that greater talent is required to create an answer and hence the Subjective pattern is preferable to an Objective pattern for selecting students.
  • A Subjective pattern based question paper has hardly 15 questions for a 3-hours paper and hence, the student gets enough time to attempt every question. However, an Objective pattern based Q. paper has 60 questions for a 3-hours paper which implies that time-management is very important and choice of questions to attempt plays a disproportionately crucial role in the eventual performance of the student. An Objective exam thus becomes more of a Test of nerves rather than a Test of Knowledge. This is not so in the case of a Subjective pattern and hence is preferable.
  • Since the number of students which is expected to appear in the JEE from 2017 is expected to be between 2-4 lacs, it is unreasonable to expect IIT Professors to correct so many Q. papers. Hence, an Integer-type pattern of asking Subjective questions which was first introduced by the IITs in IIT-JEE 2006 is likely to be administered from 2017 onwards. The Online Aptitude Test is expected to comprise of basic questions in PCM along with logical-reasoning based questions along the lines of SAT exam.
  • We shall have to wait and watch for the precise details to be revealed in the coming months

Durgesh C. Mangeshkar

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