UGC NET, also known as NTA-UGC-NET, is a national level test conducted by NTA (National Testing Agency) on behalf of UGC (University Grants Commission). It is held twice every year – in June and December. NET serves as a gateway for students aspiring to become a Lecturer, Assistant Professor, or JRF (Junior Research Fellow) in India’s government-recognized colleges and universities. In each session, the exam is held for 84 different subjects and taken by almost 8 lakh candidates. As per the analysis of the last few years, it has been observed that over 50,000 candidates qualify for UGC NET at one time.



Eligibility Criteria for UGC NET 
Although the eligibility criteria for the applicants of lectureship slightly differ from that of JRF, yet the candidates must fulfill the following conditions for either of the two positions:
·       The candidate should have completed a Master’s degree with at least 55% marks (general category)/ 50% marks (reserved category) from a UGC-approved institute or university. The candidate must have pursued masters in any of the subjects mentioned on the official website of UGC NET.
·       Students in the final year of their master’s degree are also eligible to apply. However, they need to complete their degree within two years of the UGC NET 2021 result announcement.
There is no maximum age limit for the post of assistant professor, but the candidates cannot apply for JRF if they exceed the age of 30. In the case of women, transgenders, and reserved categories, age relaxation of five years is provided.
UGC NET Exam Pattern 
UGC NET is an online exam that is carried out at various test centers across 200+ cities. The paper consists of 150 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) of total 300 marks. All the questions are mandatory and need to be attempted. Each correct answer is awarded two marks, and there is no deduction for incorrect answers. Given tables illustrate the detailed exam pattern of UGC NET 2021:


Parts No. of Questions Marks
Paper 1 50 100
Paper 2 100 200
Total 150 300


The duration of the exam is 3 hours. Candidates can take the exam in their chosen language (mainly English or Hindi). Paper 1 is standard for all candidates; paper 2 is based on the particular selected subject/ specialization.


UGC NET Syllabus 
UGC NET syllabus for paper 1 comprises topics related to research and teaching parameters. The purpose of the first part is to evaluate the general mental abilities and awareness of the candidate. Questions of paper 1 feature from the following major topics:
·       Teaching Aptitude
·       Research Aptitude
·       Higher Education System
·       People, Development, & Environment
·       Communication
·       Comprehension
·       Logical Reasoning
·       Data Interpretation
·       Mathematical Reasoning & Aptitude
·       Information & Communication Technology (ICT)
The syllabus for paper 2 varies as per the subject opted by the candidate. The specific topic-wise syllabus of paper 1 and 2 is available on the official website of UGC NET.
Preparation Tips for UGC NET 
If you want to score well in UGC NET, you must follow a well-structured preparation strategy. Keep the following things in mind while devising your preparation plan:
·       Thoroughly check the detailed syllabus of UGC NET. Even though the syllabus of paper 2 includes topics that you have studied in your master’s degree, you need to utilize a more focused approach while revising the same.
·       Practice the previous years’ papers as well as the sample papers for UGC NET 2021. This way, you will get to identify the most important and recurring topics of the exam.
·       Make notes for the concepts and facts you find difficult to remember. And revise them more frequently.
·       Stay disciplined during your preparation period and stick to a definite study schedule.
Career Opportunities after UGC NET EXAM 
After passing UGC NET, candidates can apply for the post of Assistant Professor/Lecturer at government colleges and institutes across the country. The starting pay scale of an assistant professor ranges between Rs. 35,000-40,000 per month. NET-qualified people are also preferably recruited by PSUs across several departments.
In addition, if the candidate has cleared for JRF, he/she can enroll in Ph.D. courses offered by IIMs and universities. Thereby, the candidate is given a fellowship of five years. The stipend extended to JRF is generally Rs 31,000-35,000 per month.
FAQs regarding UGC NET
1.     How is UGC NET different from CSIR NET?
While both the UGC NET and CSIR NET are conducted for JRF and assistant professor posts, they mainly differ in terms of subjects. CSIR NET is held for only five subjects of core science stream whereas UGC NET is open for the students of the remaining 80+ non-science, arts, engineering, and technology fields.


2.     What is the cut-off for UGC NET?
The minimum passing marks is 40% for paper 1 and 2, in case of general category, and 35% for reserved category candidates.
3.     How many times can I appear for UGC NET? There is no limit on the number of attempts for UGC NET.