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Entrance tests for medical and engineering schools will offer candidates 20% more questions to choose from to make up for the learning losses of last year.

Authorities have also waived the 75%-mark eligibility criteria in school board examinations for admission to central technical and engineering schools.

The education ministry on Tuesday said both the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical colleges and the Joint Entrance Examination (Main), or JEE (Main), for top engineering schools will have 20% more questions to choose from this year.

“The exact pattern for NEET (UG) 2021 is yet to be announced. However, in view of the reduction of syllabus by some boards across the country, the NEET (UG) 2021 question paper will also have options on the lines of JEE (Main)," the ministry said.

Currently, neither NEET nor JEE (Main) give candidates any options to choose from and thus they have to attempt all the questions.

The government said JEE (Main) will have 90 questions instead of 75, with candidates required to answer only 75. Medical college aspirants will get 216 questions and need to answer 180. The details will be unveiled in coming weeks.

“The syllabus for JEE (Main) 2021 will remain the same as in the previous year. However, students will be given the choice to answer 75 questions (25 questions each in physics, chemistry and mathematics) out of 90 questions (30 questions each in physics, chemistry and mathematics). In JEE (Main) 2020, there were 75 questions all of which had to be answered by the candidates (25 questions each in physics, chemistry and mathematics)," the ministry said.

Nearly 3 million aspirants sit for JEE and NEET examinations every year.

The ministry also said it has waived the 75%-mark eligibility criteria in school board exams for all students seeking admission to central technical and engineering schools via JEE Main.

IITs have already decided to relax this criterion for admission. Centrally-funded technical institutions include the National Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Information Technology, and the Schools of Planning and Architecture.

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