The University Grants Commission – National Eligibility Test or the UGC–NET is a test conducted by the NTA (National Testing Agency) for determining the eligibility of Indian Nationals for the post of Assistant Professor and Junior Research Fellow (JRF) or the post of Assistant Professor alone, in Indian universities/colleges. The performance of the candidates in the test determines whether the candidate can be awarded the post of Assistant Professor and JRF jointly or the post of Assistant Professor alone. If a candidate qualifies for just the Assistant Professor post, he/she cannot be awarded a JRF. In addition, the scores in this test are also considered for some jobs in Public Sector Undertakings.
For appearing in this test, a candidate belonging to the general category must have secured at least a minimum of 55% marks in the Master’s or equivalent degree from universities/institutions recognised by the UGC. For candidates belonging to other groups like the Other Backward Classes (OBC) of the non-creamy layer/ Scheduled Caste (SC) / Scheduled Tribe (ST) / Persons with Disability (PWD), the cut-off is 50%. Candidates belonging to the OBC/SC/ST must submit an attested copy of their category certificate.
Candidates awaiting the results of their qualifying Master’s degree or the candidates whose qualifying exams have been delayed can also appear for this test. However, they will only be admitted provisionally. The test comprises of two papers. Paper–I is meant to test the candidates on their teaching skills and research aptitude. The questions in paper – I are generic in nature and aim at assessing the candidate’s reasoning ability, comprehension, and general awareness. This paper contains 50 objective type questions of 2 marks each. For paper-II, the candidates are given the option to select from a range of subjects which include Psychology, Political Science, History, Computer Science and several others to languages like Hindi, Bengali, Sanskrit and Tamil. This paper consists of 100 objective type questions of 2 marks each. Candidates are expected to attempt both papers within a duration of 3 hours.
The UGC-NET is a time bound examination. Candidates preparing for this test should aim at improving their time management skills by attempting a large number of mock tests. It is also imperative that candidates try and solve previous year’s question papers dating back several years. It would be better if the candidates attempt to solve these papers first-hand, enforcing a time limit on themselves. This will give the candidate a clear picture of where he/she must improve and do better. As mentioned earlier, Paper-I is generic in nature and includes reasoning skills and general aptitude. It would be a good idea to attempt many mock tests in the area of reasoning ability and general awareness to improve these skills.
Paper-II is mainly a test of subject knowledge. In general, it would be better for candidates to opt for the subject of their post-graduation for this paper. This would mean that he/she already possesses sound knowledge of the subject. Since paper-II is also based on objective type questions, it would be a good idea to concentrate on the specifics of the subject instead of the descriptive areas. The UGC-NET is an extremely coveted exam, which attracts talented people from all over the country. Keeping this in mind starting preparation as early as possible is a must.