Home-based online remote-proctored AILET 2020 vs Centre-based online CLAT 2020: A Comparison
New Delhi: A couple of days back, the Consortium of NLUs had announced that it will conduct the CLAT 2020 entrance exam in computer-based, online, centre-based mode on August 22. It also announced increasing the number of test locations to 203, from existing 67 locations, to ensure there are fewer number of candidates in each location, which will make it easier to maintain social distancing. More locations would also mean candidates can opt for a test centre near their homes, which will mean less travel.
Then on June 30, that is after CLAT 2020 exam dates were announced, NLU Delhi announced that the National Testing Agency (NTA) will now conduct the AILET 2020 entrance exam in remote proctored test (RPT) mode, on behalf of the university. But things got real spicy on July 2, when it apparently took a dig at the consortium and exhorted the greatness of the RPT mode.
It may be noted that previous to these announcements, both the CLAT and AILET entrance exams were conducted in pen-and-paper mode and were centre-based.
NLU Delhi tries to take the moral high ground
On July 2, NLU Delhi came out with an elaborate notice on its official website justifying the conduct of the exam in remote proctored test (RPT) mode. It also contained notes on how they are going to conduct the exam securely and guidelines for applicants.
But one only needs to take a cursory glance at the notice to see that they are may be also taking potshots at the CLAT participants, by hinting:
A centre-based online computer-based test is unsafe: The notice points out that a centre-based computer-based exam is prone to COVID-19 infection as the student will have to travel outside to take the exam; they will be commuting using public transport like buses, autos, rickshaws, etc. Another problem with centre-based mode is the student will have to touch many surfaces and materials like a computer, mouse, keypad, chair, etc, which may also expose the candidate to infection. Now given that the CLAT 2020 exam will be conducted in centre-based online computer-based test mode, it can be seen as an apparent dig at the consortium for not doing enough for the safety of students and other stakeholders.
A home based online RPT (Remote Proctored Testing) will solve the riddle: NLU Delhi gave a good account of how remote-proctored testing is the way forward, as it can be administered from the comfort of one’s home or a place of one’s liking. But to take the exam in RPT-mode, the applicant will need a computer system and good internet connectivity. In case the candidate can’t arrange the facilities at their homes, they may take the help of their relatives, friends and neighbours, the NLU Delhi advised. It also went on to suggest that the applicant may even consider buying a computer system to take the AILET 2020 exam, and consider the cost involved as an investment for the future. It suggested that the student would anyway need a computer system when he/she gets admitted to a law college to carry out academic activities. AILET officials also claim that the applicant needs to have only basic IT literacy, equivalent to 12th pass student, to take the test.
Other observations derived from the notice by NLU Delhi
The remote-proctored exam puts a lot of onus on the student, be it making arrangement of infrastructure for the exam or learning the ropes as to how to take the exam
The institute is banking on the NTA, which is being enlisted to conduct the remote-proctored exam, to take care of all security issues
It is being assumed that most students have basic IT literacy, so there shouldn’t be any difficulty for them in taking the AILET exam.
Home-based online remote-proctored mode vs Centre-based mode: Which is the best?
While NLU Delhi would like us to believe that the remote proctored testing is the answer to the conundrum faced by exam conducting bodies, it has its own fallacies.
One, it is an untested and completely new concept to almost all test takers; so many students are already anxious and some are even freaking out as to how the entire thing would work out.
Like it or not, as the exam moves to RPT mode, the candidate is now more hooked to things like how the exam will be conducted, how to make exam arrangements, etc. So the undivided attention that candidate was earlier paying to AILET exam preparation is now broken, and taken over by something which has little academic value.
It may be mentioned here that the NTA will conduct two webinars and a mock test to help students get acquainted with the exam format. So the applicant has to take time out and learn the ropes.
Also, not many can afford to buy computer systems at such short notice, as it is a substantial investment for most households.
Coming to positives, the exam will definitely be a safe option compared to either centre based online computer-based test or a pen and paper test, physically at a designated centre.
But how effective the AILET RPT mode turns out to be, we have to wait and watch.
As far as the centre-based online computer-based CLAT test is concerned, there is definitely some risk involved as the applicant has to go out and take the test in an exam centre.
CLAT officials have tried to address some of these safety concerns by increasing CLAT test locations.
On the upside, a centre based online computer-based test is not something new to candidates as there are many law entrance exams that are conducted in online mode. So, there is not much novelty so as to distract the candidate from their studies. Also, no additional preparation is needed to take the exam.
Final analysis: There is no denying the fact that the biggest issue at the moment is the safety and well being of the student. If we use this yardstick, then definitely centre-based mode doesn’t make the cut. But that being said, the remote-proctored mode has its own issues, which hardy makes it an alternative. The thing is every entrance exam at the moment is jostling to find the best option, but are coming up short in some aspects.
AILET vs. CLAT - Quick Highlights
Name of the exam
All India Law Entrance Test (AILET)
Common Law Admission Test (CLAT)
The National Testing Agency (NTA) on behalf of NLU Delhi
(note it is only for this session that NTA has been enlisted to conduct the exam)
The Consortium of National Law Universities (NLUs)
Mode of exam
Online remote proctored test (RPT)
Participating institute (s)
22 NLUs, not including NLU Delhi
BA LLB - 70 Seats
LLM - 70 seats
UG - 2538
PG - 742
AILET 2020 and CLAT 2020 Exam Dates
AILET 2020 dates
CLAT 2020 dates
Release of Application Form
Last date for Application submission
Last date to withdraw application
Issue of Admit Cards
To be notified
Declaration of Result
To be notified
To be notified