Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar announced on Saturday that NEET and JEE exams will now be held twice a year starting 2019.

In a press conference at New Delhi, Javadekar said that the two entrance exams for national level medical and engineering institutions will be conducted by the newly constituted National Talent Agency (NTA).

The agency has been entrusted with conducting of various other examinations such as UGC NET, Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) and Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test (GPAT).

He said that candidates appearing for NEET and JEE will have the option of appearing in either exam or both, and the best score of the two will be considered from admission into the prestigious colleges and universities.

“The main feature is that student will not lose one year because there will be 2 examinations before admission. He/She can appear in either of the two or both. The best score will be taken into account for the result,” Javadekar said on Twitter.

JEE (Mains) will be held in January and April and NEET will be held in February and May. UGC NET is already held twice a year.

“The exams will be more secure and at par with international norms. There will be no issues of leakage and it would be more student friendly, open, scientific and a leak-proof system,” Javadekar told reporters.

He said that the NTA will conduct computer based test which will make exams safe, leak proof, scientific and transparent.

“The syllabus, nature of questions, choice of language & exam fee will not change .It will remain as it is,” said the Union Minister on Twitter.

“The exams would be held over a span of four-five days and students would have the option of choosing the dates,” he said.

The minister said that practice modules will be at the official website of the NTA from 1 August and students can practise, if needed, at any nearby engineering college, CBSE/KV schools, etc.

The time table of the exams to be conducted by NTA would be uploaded on the ministry’s website. The IITs would continue to conduct Joint Entrance Examination-Advanced exam.

The NTA is Centre’s one-point agency for conducting all entrance examinations. The Union Cabinet had approved setting up of NTA in November 2017 to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.