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The MHT-CET for Engineering has been reintroduced from 2016 by the Govt. of Maharashtra after it was cancelled in 2014 & 2015. The MHT-CET is an Entrance exam in Maths, Physics & Chemistry for admission into the 4-years B.E. and B.Tech. Courses of all the 350+ engineering colleges in Maharashtra via the 65% State quota. The MHT-CET was first introduced hurriedly within 50 days in Maharashtra State in June 2004 following a shocking Supreme Court Ruling in April 2004. The introduction of MHT-CET replaced the importance given to XII Boards for admission to Engineering colleges from 2005-2013. The same system is now being implemented from 2016 onwards.

There are about 2.4 lac Engineering aspirants in Maharashtra to about 1.5 lac Engineering seats in 350+ Engineering colleges of which about 50000 seats remain vacant each year. It must be understood that out of these 350+ Engineering colleges in Maharashtra, hardly 50 colleges may be considered as A-grade colleges wherein quality of education, peer group and job + further studies placements are respectable. So, the competition is sharp for these A-grade seats.

The MHT-CET in its present form has 57 chapters in PCM strictly of Std.12 HSC syllabus. The MHT-CET has 2 papers viz. Paper 1 of 1.5 hours comprising of Physics & Chemistry each having 50 questions totalling 100 marks. Paper 2 has Mathematics having 50 questions for 1.5 hours and totalling 100 marks. All questions are Single-Answer Multiple Choice questions based and have NO NEGATIVE MARKING. MHT-CET is perhaps the only Entrance exam in India without negative marking.

It has been observed that there are fundamentally 2 effective methods to prepare for the MHT-CET. Both these methods compete with each other and it will be interesting to witness which of the 2 methods emerges more successful from 2016 onwards. The first method of preparation for MHT-CET comprises of studying from Std.11 onwards with gentle focus on Std.11 chapters which form the base for Std.12 syllabus. Then, the student studies Std.12 chapters and does practice of solving formula-based Objective questions i.e. of MHT-CET level of difficulty. Finally, a Crash course and Test Series for MHT-CET is taken by the student to improve exam strategies and exam time-management skills. Throughout the 2-years, the student focuses on college exams and mainly on the 57 chapters for MHT-CET. The student does not prepare for JEE and other National-level exams during these 2-years.

The second method of preparation for MHT-CET comprises of studying from Std.11 onwards for JEE and studying the 110 chapters of Std.11 & 12. The focus of such a student in the first 16-18 months from Std.11 onwards is to understand the concepts of every chapter deeply and learn to apply these concepts to diverse situations. Thus, the student focuses on developing problems solving ability in the first 16 months. If a student can solve JEE level problems in any chapter, then he can easily solve any MHT-CET level question too in that chapter. This is the principal idea behind this method of study. However, Test practice of MHT-CET is a must to build requisite speed and exam temperament. Therefore, the student practices many Mock MHT-CET Tests 4-6 months before the MHT-CET exam.

From 2005-13, both methods have reported many successful stories in the MHT-CET exam. So we have a fair basis to predict that both methods will be successful and effective from 2016 onwards as well and hence they shall compete with each other. However, there is one major negative point with the first method.

The MHT-CET is a significantly easier exam than the JEE or any other National level exam. Questions in MHT-CET are information-based or formula-based and thus based on the paradigm, “Known Concepts – Known Problems”. However, JEE exam is based on the paradigm, “Known Concepts – Unknown Problems” which is also the theme in all exams during the 4 years of Engineering and thereafter. Hence, a student who studies by the second method of JEE excels during the 4-years of Engineering since they have superior fundamentals. However, a student who studies by the first method of studying only for MHT-CET suffers from serious academic challenges (ATKTs etc.) during the 4-years of Engineering.

Hence, it must be understood that from the short-term point of view of getting admission in an Engineering college, both methods are effective. However, from a long-term perspective, students are advised to study by the second method of JEE only.

Durgesh C. Mangeshkar

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