Is the NEST exam tougher than JEE Mains?

Is the NEST Exam Tougher than JEE Mains?

Short Answer- Yes, NEST is much harder as compared to JEE Mains. Generally, the level of questions in NEST is close to JEE Advanced level. The NEST marking scheme is much harder than JEE mains, especially because of -1 marks on 2.5 marks, and multiple options correct questions in each subject.

Here’s the long and detailed discussion-

The National Entrance Screening Test (NEST) and the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main are two of the most competitive entrance exams in India for admission to undergraduate science programs. While both exams test students’ knowledge of science and mathematics, there are some key differences between them.

But how does the NEST exam compare to the JEE Mains? Is the NEST exam tougher than the JEE Mains? Let’s find out all these answers in the blog post. Well, the answer is not so simple, as both exams have their advantages and challenges. In this blog post, we will compare the difficulty level of NEST and JEE Mains, and provide some tips for preparing for both exams.

Understanding the Basics: NEST vs JEE Mains:

NEST is your ticket to some of the premier institutes like NISER (National Institute of Science Education and Research) and UM-DAE CEBS (University of Mumbai – Department of Atomic Energy Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences). It is a gateway to the 5-year Integrated BS-MS program in basic sciences and research. NEST primarily focuses on evaluating your understanding of subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, and Environmental Science. 

On the other hand, JEE Mains is the key to entering different engineering institutes around the nation. It’s a more comprehensive test that evaluates your knowledge of mathematics, chemistry, and physics. The score from JEE Mains also acts as an essential requirement for JEE Advanced, which leads to admission to esteemed institutes like IISc, IISERs, and IITs. If you wanna compare IISER and IIT, then read this blog:

Now, let’s get to the big question: Is NEST tougher than JEE Mains? Both exams cover different academic domains, and the difficulty level is subjective.  Let us look at some of the factors that make the NEST exam different from the JEE Mains.

Exam Pattern:

NEST Exam-

The NEST exam is a computer-based test of 3 hours 30 minutes duration. There are 4 subject sections of 50 marks each, containing subject-specific questions from biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Each subject section has 17 questions, out of which 12 questions are Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), and 5 questions are Multiple Selection Questions (MSQs). For every MCQ, each correct answer fetches 2.5 marks, while each incorrect answer has a penalty of 1 mark (-1 mark). The medium of the question paper is English only. In MSQs you get +4 marks for correct options, there is no partial marking or negative marking.

The Good news is that  Math + Bio is not compulsory for CEBS as well as for NISER. Only the best 3 section scores are counted for evaluation and merit list preparation.

As you can see, the NEST exam has a more flexible and balanced pattern, as it allows the candidates to choose any 3 subjects or all 4 subjects in the test. It also has a mix of single and multiple correct answer MCQs, which test the candidates’ conceptual understanding and analytical skills. 

One must need clear cut-offs for getting admission into premier institutes like NISER or CEBS. Cut-offs are estimates and can vary depending on several factors each year.

NEST 2023 Cutoff-

Category NISER CEBS
General 80-90 85-95
EWS 80-90 75-85
OBC 70-80 75-85
SC 50-60 55-65
ST 30-40 35-45

For more details and information about NEST last year’s cutoff, visit our blog: NEST 2023 Cutoff

JEE Mains-

The JEE Mains exam is also a computer-based test, but it has two papers: Paper 1 for BTech/BE and Paper 2 for BArch/BPlan. Paper 2 has two parts – 2A for BArch and 2B for BPlan. While most of the exam is online, the drawing section in Paper 2A is offline.

Paper 1 has 3 sections of 100 marks each, containing questions from physics, chemistry, and mathematics. 

For BE/BTech, there are 90 MCQs worth 300 marks. BArch Paper 2A has 82 questions for 400 marks, and BPlan has 105 MCQs for 400 marks. The exam supports 13 languages, including Hindi, English, and others. For MCQs, each correct answer fetches 4 marks, while each incorrect answer has a penalty of 1 mark. For numerical value answer type questions, each correct answer fetches 4 marks, and there is no negative marking. The duration of the exam is 3 hours for each paper. 

The JEE Mains exam has a more rigid and skewed pattern, as it requires the candidates to attempt all 3 subjects in Paper 1, and has a separate paper for architecture aspirants. It also has numerical value answer type questions, which test the candidates’ calculation and accuracy skills, and a drawing test, which tests their creativity and visualization skills.

Therefore, if you want to take NEST along with JEE Mains, you must familiarize yourself with the different patterns and formats of both exams. You can practice some mock tests of NEST Here to get a feel of the exams and improve your speed and accuracy. 

Syllabus:

Let’s understand the similarities and differences between NEST and JEE Mains so that you can tackle both confidently.

Similarities-

  • Core Subjects: Both exams focus on Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics emphasizing problem-solving and analytical abilities.
  • Topics Covered: You’ll come across similar core concepts in both exams. From mechanics and calculus to electromagnetism and organic chemistry, you’ll be strengthening your science knowledge overall.
  • Preparation Overlap: Studying for one exam can be beneficial for the other. It’s like learning a new martial art; the basic skills are essential for any style.

Differences-

  • Additional Biology: NEST has a dedicated Biology section, which covers topics like cell structure, genetics, and evolution.
  • Conceptual Depth: NEST goes deeper into core concepts, often going beyond the JEE Mains syllabus. It’s like advanced science whose difficulty level is higher.
  • Real-World Application: NEST questions are known for their real-world application. They test your ability to connect the dots and use your knowledge in practical situations. 

The NEST and JEE Mains exam includes topics from the science syllabus of classes XI and XII, which are almost the same as those in the NCERT/CBSE syllabus. However, the NEST syllabus is a bit wider and more in-depth. In other words, while they cover almost the same things, relying only on NCERT might not be sufficient for NEST preparation because the topics are broadly based on the fundamentals of each subject and also expect the students to have a good understanding of the basic concepts and principles of the subjects, as well as their applications and implications in the real world. Therefore, if you want to take NEST along with JEE Mains, you must study some extra topics and go beyond the NCERT books. 

You can also refer to SciAstra for the detailed syllabus and important topics. You can also check out some PYQs and mock tests to analyze the exam pattern and difficulty level on free study material from the SciAstra app. Also, there are so many books available for the NEET examination in the market, but for the first time, SciAstra launched books specifically for IAT & NEST preparation. 

Difficulty Level:

In general, the NEST exam is much harder than JEE Mains, especially because of the above marking scheme and more than 1 option correct questions.

NEST-

The NEST exam is designed to test students’ conceptual understanding of science and mathematics. The questions are often more challenging and require more critical thinking than those on the JEE Mains exam. The NEST exam is considered to be a moderately difficult exam, as it does not require the candidates to memorize a lot of facts or formulas, but rather to understand the concepts and apply them to solve problems. The questions are also based on real-life situations and phenomena, which makes them more interesting and relevant. The NEST exam does not have a fixed difficulty level, as it varies from year to year depending on the performance of candidates but it is generally close to JEE Advanced level. 

JEE Mains-

The JEE Mains exam is designed to test students’ broad knowledge of science and mathematics. The questions are often more straightforward and require less critical thinking than those on the NEST exam. The JEE Mains exam is considered to be a highly difficult exam, as it requires the candidates to master a vast syllabus and solve complex and tricky problems. The questions are designed to test the candidates’ speed, accuracy, and precision. The questions are also based on theoretical and abstract concepts, which makes them more challenging and demanding. The JEE Mains exam has a fixed difficulty level, as it follows a standardized and normalized procedure to evaluate the candidates. 

As you can see, the NEST exam and the JEE Mains exam have different difficulty levels, as they have different objectives and expectations from the candidates. The NEST exam is more conceptual and analytical, while the JEE Mains exam is more calculative and technical. Wanna need help in preparation for the NEST 2024 exam, click here.

Therefore, if you want to take NEST along with NEET, you will have to familiarize yourself with the different patterns and formats of both exams. You can practice some mock tests of NEST Here to get a feel of the exams and improve your speed and accuracy.

Conclusion:

To summarise, while both the NEST and the JEE Mains measure students’ knowledge of science and mathematics, the NEST stands out for its depth and conceptual complexity. NEST consists of a variable exam schedule, incorporation of biology, and real-world application questions. JEE Mains, on the other hand, emphasises a broad syllabus with calculative and technical problems. The levels of difficulty vary, and applicants must adjust their preparation tactics accordingly. Finally, success in these exams requires an in-depth understanding of fundamental concepts as well as consistent practice.

About us:

SciAstra is a team of scientists and research scholars from the top research institutes around the world like Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge, and so on. Our vision is to promote critical thinking and scientific temperament by helping students pursue careers in science.

We offer many free and paid courses where our mentors from the top research institutes like IISER, NISER, IACS, CMI, ISI, IISC Bangalore, etc teach students in live classes, with study materials,  mock tests, books, and everything needed. We have taught more than 10,000 students already since 2021 and achieved over 1000 selections with AIR 1, 7,10, 12, and 13 in  IISc Bengaluru, IISERs, NISER, IACS, and so on.  If you are looking to prepare for IAT / NEST 2024, you can check out our courses and get access to live classes, recorded lectures, study material, mock tests, doubt-clearing classes, and much more!

To know more about us, click here OR download the SciAstra App from the Play Store and App Store!

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