Board exam marks will be a main component of the proposed single entrance exam for admission to top engineering institutes in the country. A look at what's on offer for the students.

Sleepless nights spent over juggling between cracking multiple entrance examinations and preparing for the board examinations for Class XII is likely to be a thing of the past. Getting to the top engineering institutes in the country will be determined by one examination — JEE.

Beginning next year, a single examination for admission to engineering programmes in the IITs, NITs and IIITs and by any other institution in the States wanting to be part of it will be held and referred to as the ‘Joint Entrance Examination' (JEE).

According to MHRD sources, Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal has in principle agreed to the new pattern that was arrived at by the Ramasami Committee and experts from ISI Kolkata.

The MHRD concept paper says new JEE will be held at least twice a year to enable students make more than one attempt. The first JEE will be held in April 2013 and the second in November/December 2013.

With the new JEE, for the first time, the marks obtained in the Board examinations will be considered for engineering admission. The percentile rank, not the absolute marks, of a student in the science stream in the Board that he or she appears in, will be the marks for the Board evaluation component. The rank should be given up to nine decimal places to enable tie-breaks, according to the concept paper.

The formula to be used for the percentile rank is (cl+0.5 fi)/N x 100, where cl is the count of all scores less than the score of interest, fi is the frequency of the score of interest (the number of students with the same score) and N is the number of examines in the sample.

JEE will consist of two papers — main and advance — each of 3-hour duration. The main paper, to be held in the morning, will test the foundational understanding of students in physics, chemistry and mathematics in school. The question paper will be designed not only by domain experts but also involve psychometry experts. The advance paper in the afternoon will have the same syllabus as the main paper with questions testing the problem formulation as well as problem-solving skills and incisive thinking.

A CFTI (Centrally-Funded Technical Institutions which includes IITs, NITs and IIITs) rank will be provided to each candidate. The rank will be based on the weightages of board marks - 40 per cent, main test - 30 per cent and advance test - 30 per cent. Tie-breaks will be handled in the order of board percentile rank, main test marks, advance test marks, and marks in the subject with the lowest, second lowest and third lowest, average marks of the advance test.

The JEE result will specifically mention the students' performance in the three components. For final admissions, the CFTIs will have online counselling through a single window system based on the rank.

“The new pattern is yet to be finalised. The institutes have to review the examination model and get back within a month's time. The final decision will be made next month,” says IIT-Madras Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi.

A JEE Apex Board, Academic Group, Delivery Group and Interface Group will be in place by the end of this month.

Students will have to submit separate application forms, one for the JEE and another for admissions to the institutes that will use the examination scores. It would be open to States and engineering institutes to use the JEE results and to adopt the same pattern of admission, giving appropriate weightage for State Board results.