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What Is the JEE Main Exam?

What Is the JEE Main Exam - magoosh

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The JEE Main exam is one of the toughest competitive exams in India. It is an All-India engineering entrance examination conducted for admission into undergraduate programs in various engineering colleges of India. So if you wish to pursue your career in engineering, you need to appear for the JEE Main exam.

What Is the “JEE” in JEE Main?

JEE stands for “​Joint Entrance Exam​”. It has two parts –​ the JEE Main and ​JEE Advanced​. The JEE Main exam is needed to gain admission into National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), and Centrally Funded Technical Institutes (CFTIs). So if you clear the cut-off score you can appear for the JEE Advanced. The Central Board of Secondary Education(CBSE) conducts the JEE Main​. Around 1.2 to 1.5 million candidates appear for this exam every year.

JEE Main Exam Structure

JEE-Main consists of 2 papers:

  • Paper-1 (for admission into B. E./B. Tech courses)
    • It consists of 90 multiple choice questions, that each have a single correct answer.
    • There are 30 questions each of Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.
    • Each correct answer is awarded 4 marks, and 1 mark is deducted for each wrong answer.
    • An unanswered question gets 0 marks.
    • Filling up more than 1 response to any question is treated as a wrong answer and marks are deducted accordingly.
    • The maximum marks you can get is 360.
    • The duration of the exam is 3 hours, and the exam is held in bothonline and offline modes.
  • Paper-2 (for admission into B. Arch courses)

JEE Main Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria for the JEE Main are important because only eligible students can gain admission into NITs, IIITs, and CFTIs. Also, the application fee is not refunded if it’s discovered that a candidate is ineligible after they register for the JEE Main exam.

  • Age Limit: Your birthday must be on or after 1st October 1993 if you wish to take JEE Main exam in 2018. However, a relaxation of 5 years is granted to students from the SC, ST, or PWD categories. In other words, to appear in JEE Main 2018, an SC/ST/PWD candidate’s birthday must be on or after 1st October 1988. The date of birth used to determine this is the one listed in the Secondary School Certificate.
  • Aadhaar Card: If you’re applying for the JEE Main you need an Aadhaar Card. You must fill in your Aadhaar Card number in the application form. If you do not have an Aadhaar Card, you aren’t eligible to apply for JEE Main.
  • Number of Attempts: The maximum number of attempts allowed for clearing the JEE Main exam is 3.
  • Qualification Criteria:
    • You need to pass the class 12 board examination (or any other equivalent qualifying examination) in order to qualify for the JEE Main. The exam must include no less than 5 subjects (counting Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics) in the year 2016 or 2017.
    • Likewise, you can apply if you’re showing up in the class 12 board examination, or any other equivalent qualifying examination in 2018. The qualifying exam must have no less than 5 subjects including Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.
  • Eligibility criteria for admission in IITs, NITs, IIITs, and CFTIs:
    • You need at least 75% marks in your class 12th board examination if you wish to go to one of the IITs, NITs, IIITs and CFTIs. Alternatively, you must be among the top 20 percentile in the class 12th examination of your respective board to gain admission into these programs.
    • The SC/ST candidates must obtain at least 65% marks in their class 12th board examination.

JEE Main 2017 – Important Dates

JEE Main exam conducted in offline mode2 April 2017
JEE Main exam conducted in online mode8 April 2017 and 9 April 2017
Release of the Answer Key by CBSE18 April 2017
End of challenge of the Answer Key released by the CBSE22 April 2017
Release of JEE Main 2017 results27 April 2017

JEE Main Cutoff Marks

You need to score at least the cutoff JEE Main marks for that specific year to qualify to appear in the JEE Advanced exam. In the year 2017, the top 2,20,000 candidates of the JEE Main were eligible to take the JEE Advanced exam. The following trend of the cutoff marks has been observed over the years:


JEE Main Ranks

Up until 2016, the JEE Main rank was calculated by giving 60% weightage to the JEE Main score and 40% weightage to the class 12 board examination results. However, starting in 2017 this practice stopped. Now, the JEE Main ranks are calculated solely based on the candidate’s JEE Main score.

JEE Main ranks are allotted to the candidates in decreasing order of their aggregate score of the three subjects–namely Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. However, if multiple candidates obtain the same aggregate marks, a tie-breaker mechanism is used to allot them their JEE Main ranks. The following steps (in the given order) are taken for breaking the tie:

  • The candidate scoring higher marks in Mathematics gets a better JEE Main rank
  • A candidate scoring higher marks in Physics gets a better JEE Main rank
  • The candidate having the higher absolute value of the ratio of the positive marks to the negative marks gets a better JEE Main rank
  • If a tie still persists, the candidates get the same JEE Main rank

To know more, you can check out the Magoosh blog post titled “2017 JEE Main Result”.

Seat Reservation in JEE Main

As per the rules of the Government of India, candidates belonging to any reserved category will be allotted the seats that are reserved for them. The reservation rules of the state apply for all candidates who applied for admission in State Engineering colleges through the JEE Main. The reservation benefits are given to the candidates only if their castes, classes, or tribes are in the respective central list for admission into the NITs, IIITs, and CFTIs, as published by the Government of India.

The various “reserved” categories for admission into the institutes through the JEE Main exam are as follows:

  • Other Backward Classes – Non-Creamy Layer (OBC-NCL)
  • Scheduled Castes (SC)
  • Scheduled Tribes (ST)
  • Persons with Disability (PwD)

JEE Main Counselling

You can participate in the JEE Main counseling process once you qualify for the JEE Main exam for admission into the National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), and Government Funded Technical Institutes (GFTIs).

The Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA) conducts JEE Main Counseling. This counseling process takes place online and consists of six rounds.

The JEE Main Counseling steps are:

  • Online registration
  • Online choice filling and locking
  • Seat allotment
  • Seat acceptance and fee payment
  • Reporting to the final allocated institute

Hopefully, you now have a fairly good idea of what the JEE Main is. If you are preparing for the JEE Main exam, you should work hard and give it your best shot. Choose the right books for your JEE Main preparation — it is really very important. And stay tuned to the Magoosh JEE blog to learn more about the JEE!

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