The National Eligibility Test (NET) is conducted by the National Educational Testing Bureau of University Grants Commission (UGC), which is to determine the suitability of candidates for lectureship. It is also the basis for the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF), which determines the eligibility of applicants for teaching research. The subjects of the test include Humanities, and Social Sciences, Environmental Science, Electronic Science, Computer Science and Application, and Forensic Science. The UGC-CSIR NET is held by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for the other Science subjects.
The NET takes place in the months of June and December every year, to enable suitable and eligible candidates to teach as lecturers in UGC sponsored colleges, institutions and universities.
Those who have completed their Master's degree course are eligible to apply. A candidate of the general category and OBC category should have a minimum of 55%, and Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Physically challenged (visually challenged and hearing impaired only), should have minimum 50% in Master's. Those who are going to appear for the final year test can also apply. Also only those who have done or are pursuing a UGC recognized degree, can apply. The subject of the test should be the subject of post graduation.
The application form should be completed and sent to the respective test center specified by UGC. And the form should follow the prescribed format to be accepted.
The NET format comprises of three papers, to be attempted on the same day. Only those who give the first are eligible for the other two.
The first is the General Paper on Teaching & Research Aptitude, a compulsory paper. It is 100 marks paper, to be completed in one hour and fifteen minutes. It is to test the basic teaching and research skills of the candidates, which include reasoning ability, general awareness and divergent thinking. The paper consists of 10 sections, 5 questions in each section, with 2 marks allotted for each question. The segments are – teaching aptitude, research aptitude, reading comprehension, communication, reasoning, logical reasoning, data interpretation, information and communication technology, people and environment, and higher educational system.
The second paper – Subject Specific, has an objective type format, on any one of the subjects chosen from the list of approximately 90 subjects, in which the candidate has completed Master's. If the list does not feature the subject of PG, then another subject can be chosen. It has 50 multiple choice questions. The total marks is 100, and the allotted time is one hour fifteen minutes.
Third paper – Subject specific, is subjective or descriptive. It has 200 marks, and the given time is two and a half hours. The paper consists of 4 sections, and 26 questions in all.
The first section is a critique of a given passage by a known writer, and questions are based on it. There are 5 questions, each of 5 marks, totaling to 25 marks. Answers to the questions should be within 30 words. If the subject is a science one, then a theoretical problem is given to be analyzed.
The second section is based on definitions, facts and particular information seeking questions. Answer to each question should be of 30 words only. There are 15 questions, 5 marks for each, and thus a total of 75 marks.
Third segment comprises of analytical and evaluative questions, 5 of them, to be attempted in 200 words each. Marks for each question is 12, and the total is 60 marks.
The fourth and last section is an essay, to be written on a relevant subject related topic. The marks for it is 40.
UGC has set definite marks to qualify in the NET. In Paper 1, it is 40 marks for the general and OBC category, 35 for the SC and ST, and 35 for the physically challenged.
For Paper 2, the passing marks is 40 for general and OBC, 35 for SC and ST category, and 35 for the physically challenged.
In Paper 3, it is 100 marks for the general and OBC categories, 90 for the SC and ST categories, and 80 for the physically challenged.
Preparation for the NET exam has to be intensive. Practice has to be thorough and the papers in post graduation should be studied in detail. Solving previous year papers and sample test papers, available online and in the market, helps in preparation. So does the test preparation material that is made available.