Hiring of one Software Developer at Publications Division Headquarters, New Delhi on contract. || Subscribe print version with complimentary e-version @Rs.530 per annum; Subscribe only e-version @Rs.400 per annum. || !! ATTENTION ADVERTISERS !! Advertisers are requested to give full details of job Vacancies/ Minimum size will now be 200 sq.cm for shorter advertisements || Click here to become an e-resource aggregator of Publications Division || New Advertisement Policy || ||

In-Depth Jobs

volume-31, 26 October-01 November 2019

How to Prepare for Online UGC NET 2019 Exam


Rruchi Shrimalli

The University Grants Commission (UGC) conducts the National Eligibility Test (NET) exam to screen Indian candidates who are eligible for:

  • Assistant Professor positions in government colleges and universities in India, or
  • Junior Research Fellowship (JRF), or

For JRD, the age limit is set at 30 years. But there is no upper age limit for becoming a college lecturer. If one has 55% in your Master's Degree (as a General Category candidate), he or she is eligible to appear for the NET exam.

Reserved category students or PhD degree holders can apply for the exam even if they have 50% aggregate marks at the Master's degree level.

With the 7th Pay Commission, the entry pay for the Assistant Professor position in government colleges is Rs 57,700 (excluding allowances like HRA, DA, and others). Those who love the stability of government jobs as a college teacher will need to clear the UGC NET exam first.

NET-qualified students are also eligible for lucrative jobs in public sector undertakings (PSUs, especially in the fields of:

  • Science (Research & Development)
  • Management
  • Corporate Communications
  • Human Resources, and

In June 2019, the newly-formed National Testing Agency (NTA) conducted the NTA UGC NET for the first time. Despite the change in the passing percentage, the results of the June 2019 exam was still abysmal - around 6%. No wonder, it is considered the second-toughest exam in India after the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) exams.

The NTA will again conduct the NET exam from 2nd to 6th December 2019- only in the online mode.

Since this is going to be a computer-based test (CBT), one will have to take both Paper 1 & Paper 2 in a single session. It means that candidates will not get any break between the two papers.

Paper 1 is of 1 hour duration. It has 50 questions with a total worth of 100 marks. 5 questions will be asked for each of the following categories:

  • Communication
  • Data Interpretation
  • Higher Education System: Governance, Polity & Administration
  • Information & Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Logical Reasoning
  • People & Environment,
  • Reading Comprehension,
  • Reasoning (including Numerical Reasoning),
  • Research Aptitude, and
  • Teaching Aptitude.

Paper 2 has a duration of 2 hours. It has 100 questions with a total worth of 200 questions. So, one will have to solve 150 questions carrying a total of 300 marks in the three-hour exam duration. All the questions will be of objective multiple-choice types. They will be related to the subject candidates have chosen.

There will be no choice in the exam. Each question is worth 2 marks. Fortunately, there is no negative marking in the exam. Hence, if a candidate gets stuck, he or she can use the elimination technique to choose an answer that seems most likely to be correct.

Some changes have been made to the UGC NET syllabus this year. So, it will be a wise move to check out the NTA UGC NET syllabus for December 2019 carefully while preparing for the exam.

Please note that there are no sectional cut-offs in the exam. It means that the total marks in the exam (including Paper 1 and Paper 2 marks) will be considered while declaring the NET results.

If candidates are not familiar with computer-based exams, they may access free practice sessions at the designated Test Practice Centres (TPCs) run by the NTA on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). One may also download the NTA app and hone his or her online exam taking skills right at home.

Review of the NTA UGC NET Exam conducted in June 2019

NET coaching experts believed that the June exam had a moderate to hard difficulty level compared to the previous exam. It was conducted in two shifts:

  • The morning shift was from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.
  • The evening shift was from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

Candidates were given rough paper and pen in the examination centre. They were not allowed to carry any gadgets or phone inside the examination hall. Only admit cards were allowed inside the examination venue.

In the Paper 1 exam

  • 10-12 questions were asked from the Teaching Aptitude, focussing on:
  • Evaluation of Learner's Ability,
  • Emotional Ability,
  • Discussion Method, and
  • Inclusive Education.

These questions were slightly difficult to answer.

  • 5 to 7 questions were asked from the Research Aptitude. They focused on:
  • Hypothesis,
  • Diagnostic Research, and
  • Research Ethics related to Plagiarism.

They had moderate to hard difficulty levels.

  • 5 questions were based on Reading Comprehension. The passage was on famous statue by Michelangelo called 'David'. They had easy to moderate difficulty levels.
  • 3 to 5 easy questions were asked from Communication. They were based on:
  • Communication Barriers, and
  • Mass Media & Society.
  • 4 to 6 questions were related to Mathematical Reasoning. They were easy to moderate and were related to:
  • Alphabet Series,
  • Simple Interest,
  • HCF & LCM,
  • Time & Work, and
  • Blood Relations.

Some of them were tricky.

  • 5 to 8 questions from Logical Reasoning hovered around:
  • Propositions,
  • Syllogism & Inference, and
  • Venn Diagrams.

They were moderately difficult.

  • 5 questions from Data Interpretation were quite easy. They were based on:
  • Table Charts, Interpretation of Table-based Data, and Percentages.
  • 2 to 3 easy questions were related to knowledge of computers or ICT. They were about basic concepts of:
  • Operating System
  • Virus
  • Storage Device
  • Memory, and Bluetooth.
  • 3 to 4 easy to moderate questions were related to Environment and Current Affairs. They focused around:
  • Rio Summit in Stockholm, Ozone Layer, and Tropical Cyclones.
  • 3 to 5 moderately difficult questions from Higher Education System focused around:
  • Articles
  • Higher Education Channels and MOOCs
  • Digital Initiative in Higher Education
  • Kothari Commission and other educational reforms in post-independence India, and Responsibility of UGC.

This exam analysis should give NET aspirants a fair idea of what to expect in the exam. One can choose to study the important topics first. Keep an eye on the latest news and developments in the education field, especially government initiatives.

How to Prepare for the NTA NET 2019 Exam?

  1. Devote 30% of your time to Paper 1 and 70% to Paper 2.

Paper 1's syllabus is endless. Now that candidates have less than two months left for their exam preparation, it will not be wise to pick up new topics at the moment.

Paper 2's syllabus is mostly related to what candidates have already studied in graduation and postgraduation. Devoting more time to Paper 2 will help them net more marks in less effort.

As mentioned above, the NET exam does not have sectional cut-offs. Hence, the overall marks matter most.

  1. Divide a day in 10-hours, 8-hours, and 6-hours slots.
  • 10 hours: for Study Routine.
  • Experts suggest NET aspirants to devote:
  • 3 hours to Paper 1, and 7 hours to Paper 2.

For Paper 1, dedicate at least one hour to revision and one hour to solving previous years' papers. Use the last hour to study the topics that are still unfinished.

For Paper 2, dedicate at least one hour to revision and one hour to solving previous years' papers. Take help of someone to correct the paper one has solved (using the answer keys available online) while the candidate finishes with his or her revisions. Candidates can then analyze their performance and find out where they went wrong. Some of the common reasons why candidates give wrong answers are:

  • They didn't read the full question.
  • They didn't understand the question correctly.
  • They made a silly mistake.
  • They had no idea about the topic on which the question was based.

Plug these loopholes to improve the exam preparation level in a short time.

  • 8 hours: for Sleeping. Sleep plays a crucial role in exam preparation. It consolidates the information one has studied during the day and cements it in the memory. It improves one's ability to concentrate and pay attention to what one is learning. And of course, it allows one to recover from the physical and mental stress one goes through during exams. It also regulates one's metabolism and keeps one's physical and mental health in the best shape. Don't skimp on sleep if you really want to succeed.
  • 6 hours: for doing your Routine Work. Many people who take UGC NET exam are already working or doing post-doctoral courses. Many UGC NET aspirants might also have families to look after. They need to be efficient to finish everything that needs to be done and cannot be avoided during these six hours.
  1. Paper 1 is Easy but it needs Consistency.

Despite what everybody says, the truth is that the Paper 1 of UGC NET exam is quite easy. One can easily score 80+ marks in this paper. Many of the questions asked in this paper are picked up directly from previous years. So, if a candidate solves papers from past years religiously and grasp the exam pattern, it should be easy for him or her to score well in the first paper.

Study for Paper 1 every day. Never skip it just because it's easy. Consistency is the key to score more in this paper.

One can start with easy units like:

  • Teaching Aptitude, Research Aptitude, Communication, and ICT.

Move on to other topics only when one has covered these important topics first. One may also start with Logical Reasoning, Mathematical Reasoning and Data Interpretation practice side-by-side.

Devote a few minutes (15 to 20 minutes) to:

  • Higher Education, Environment, and General Awareness everyday over the next month.

Some people may find that Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation as time-consuming portions of the UGC NET syllabus. But these sections also need regular practice. Hence, they will need to devote at least 15 minutes to them every day. Many apps and educational websites can help such people with Reading Comprehension in an interesting way. They can use them to introduce some variety to their study schedule.

It is always best to study in the time-bound manner. Once a person decides that he or she needs to finish a particular portion of study in a specific time period, his or her brain works in a more efficient manner.

  1. Use 10 Minutes a Day to reach your Prime state

Tony Robbins is a multi-millionaire and a self-made person. He follows a ritual that he calls 'Priming' which can be useful to you as a NET aspirant. It takes only 10 minutes to perform the ritual. It includes:

  • Meditation

Tony Robbins suggests a breathing exercise here:

  • Sit straight.
  • Close your eyes.


  • Inhale deeply through your nostrils. Simultaneously, lift your arms in a shoulder press motion. Then, exhale forcefully through your nostrils as your bring arms back to your body with your palms facing upwards.

Repeat it 10 times in quick succession.

Repeat 3 sets of the exercise.

  • Practicing Gratitude

Think of three things that you should be grate for. Tony Robbins writes that gratefulness drives away fear and anger. Oprah Winfrey agrees. Regularly practicing gratitude is a healthy practice to introduce more positivity in your life.

  • Visualization

You may choose to visualize a pure white light healing you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Or walking down a beautiful beach as sun is setting in the great vast ocean to de-stress.

Once you are relaxed, visualize your goals as if you have already achieved them. NET aspirants may try visualizing that they have already cracked the exam with good marks and feel the joy bubbling within them.

This technique can rewire your brain for success.

Once you finish these three steps, it is a good idea to set your target for the day. Write it down. At the end of the day, evaluate your progress.

  1. Get Free Coaching for the UGC NET exam

NTA offers free coaching and mock test series to all NET aspirants. Poor students and students in remote areas can also benefit from this scheme. To avail this facility, one has to:

  • Visit the official website of NTA. One can register on the website using your Gmail ID or Facebook ID.
  • Download the last years' UGC NET question papers & model test papers for free.
  • Candidates can also analyse their mock test results with NTA mentors.
  • The teachers will also help students with the subject-related problems at the test practice centres.

(Rruchi Shrimalli is a career counsellor e-mail: rruchishrimalli@ gmail.com.)

Views expressed are personal.