The Ultimate Guide To Different Competitive Exams

Competitive examinations are tests that help students plan their future path by selecting the right college, course, and field of study. Boards, universities, and educational organizations conduct these competitive exams at regular intervals. It can be at the state or national level.

In general, students often write entrance examinations in India after 12th grade. However, at times, students do not attempt these exams due to a lack of awareness. To help you out, here is a list of some of the most important competitive exams that every student should be aware of. 

Types of Competitive Exams

After completing 12th grade, students can appear for various competitive exams. The main aim behind this is to help students find the best college for them. Not only after grade 12 but after your undergrad, there are exams you can choose to write for higher education.

Students prepare for these competitive exams mostly through online coaching. Here are some important competitive exam names students must know and attempt.

Preparaing for  Competitive Exams

Joint Entrance Examination

This is also known as JEE. It is a competitive exam to be given after 12th grade. This examination is mainly for admissions to architecture and undergraduate engineering courses. This competitive examination has maths questions with an optional subject of the student’s choice.

It has two phases. One is JEE Mains, and the other is JEE Advanced. Once qualified for JEE Mains, you will be eligible to write the advanced exam. If you pass the advanced exam, you can apply for some of the top IITs or other institutions. Additionally, you should know the following about the exam:

  • Level of Examination: National-level exam
  • Pattern: 90 questions
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Subjects: Physics, chemistry, and mathematics/ planning/ biology.

Civil Service Exam

This examination is one of the most challenging and prestigious in India. This exam aims at recruiting officers for the following:

  • Indian Administration Services (IAS)
  • Indian Police Services (IPS)
  • Indian Foreign Services (IFS)

The Union Public Commission Service (UPSC) conducts this examination. There are three levels in the civil services exam. First is the prelims, followed by the mains, and then the final is the interview.

Students can find competitive exam coaching centers and other resources online for this easily. The preliminary level has two objective papers. One is general studies, and the other is an aptitude test. The main level has nine descriptive papers, which are four general studies, two optional subjects, one essay, one english, and one Indian language.

The interview level is a personality assessment exam to check the candidates’s suitability for the service. Additionally, here are a few details of the examination:

  • Level of Examination: National-level exam
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Subjects: General studies, english, and aptitude.

Common Admission Test

This exam is known as CAT. It is a competitive exam for candidates who want admission to postgraduate programs in the field of management. The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) conducts this exam. Students prepare for these competitive exams by mostly coaching. The CAT examination is a computer-based exam. 

Further, the CAT examination has three sections, and the score is in percentile format. 

  • Level of Examination: National-level exam
  • Pattern: 76 questions
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Subjects: Quantitative ability, data interpretation and logical reasoning, verbal ability and reading comprehension

National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test

It is a competitive examination in India conducted after 12th grade, commonly known as NEET. This is the examination that helps students choose undergraduate medical and dental colleges as well as courses in India. The National Testing Agency (NTA) conducts this competitive exam.

This is the only examination to choose courses like MBBS and BDS in India. These competitive exam study materials are widely available online but it is better to go for coaching always. Additionally, students can find the mock papers, previous year papers, and even online tests for this competitive exam online.

The further details of the exam are as follows:

  • Level of Examination: National-level exam
  • Pattern: 180 questions
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Subjects: Physics, chemistry, and biology

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering

It is commonly known as the GATE examination. All students who want admission to postgraduate engineering and other science programs in Indian colleges appear for this exam. The GATE score is valid for three years. It is also used for recruitment by PSUs (public sector undertakings).

The GATE examination is conducted by the Indian Institute of Science and other IITs. It has only one paper, which is a computer-based exam. You can further get the competitive exam study materials online and boost your preparation.

  • Level of Examination: National-level exam
  • Pattern: 65 questions
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Subjects: General aptitude and the chosen subject by the candidate.

National Defense Academy Exam

This is popularly known as NDA. The examination aims at recruiting candidates for the following:

  • Indian Army
  • Indian Navy
  • Indian Air Force.

The Union Public Commission Service (UPSC) conducts this exam twice a year.  This exam has 2 papers in total.

The mathematics test and the general ability paper. The general ability exam has two sections. The first section is English, and the second section is general knowledge. After this examination, the candidate will have an SSB interview. This further tests the candidate’s mental, physical, and psychological fitness.

  • Level of Examination: National-level exam
  • Pattern: 270 questions
  • Duration: 5 hour
  • Subjects: General ability, mathematics, english, and general knowledge.

Staff Selection Combined Graduate Level Exam

Commonly known as SSG GLE. This examination is conducted to recruit various posts in central government ministries. This examination has four tiers, namely tier 1, tier 2, tier 3, and tier 4. Let us look at the competitive exam subjects in each tier.

  1. The tier 1 exam is an MCQ-type paper. It includes general intelligence and reasoning, general awareness, quantitative aptitude, and English comprehension.
  2. The tier 2 exam has four objective papers. They are quantitative abilities, english language and comprehension, statistics, and general studies.
  3. The tier 3 exam is a descriptive-type paper with a letter, an essay, and an application.
  4. The tier 4 examination is a skill test that depends upon the post to which you have applied.

Using the competitive exams online coaching is a great way to prepare for this. Here are further information to know: 

  • Level of Examination: National-level exam
  • Pattern: 100 questions
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Subjects: General Intelligence and Reasoning, General Awareness, Quantitative Aptitude, and English Comprehension for the Tier 1 exam. Quantitative Abilities, English Language and Comprehension, Statistics, and General Studies for the Tier 2 exam.

Well, there are many more competitive examinations, like the GMAT for managerial courses, such as MBS, banking exams, and a lot more. Staying updated about the exams can help you plan your career path with ease.


Knowing the different examinations that you can take can help you have a bright future. You can prepare for these competitive exams mostly through online coaching, or you can even opt for self-preparation. But while you prepare for entrance examinations in India conducted after 12th grade, ensure that you seek guidance and secure suitable study material for better chances of success.

Check for details like the name of the competitive exams, exam pattern, exam duration, and the subjects to prepare. With this, you can start your competitive exams preprations right away.

Stay updated, and happy learning!

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