What Is The Difference Between NET and SET Exam?, Syllabus, Eligibility

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 13th, 2023

What is the Difference Between NET and SET exams? NET and SET, both the exams are conducted to determine the eligibility for college and university level lectureships and for awarding the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) to Indian nationals for pursuing their Ph.D. program or research. Aspirants often apply for both the exams and prepare for them parallelly. Universities and colleges in India search for excellent talents with specified qualifications and skills. University Grant Commission (UGC) conducts two types of entrance exams: NET and SET. NET is conducted at the national level, and SET is for the state level. NET & SET Exams are conducted for the same purpose, but these exams have some differences.

Before moving ahead with the exam preparation, it is essential to understand the difference between UGC NET and SET exams. In this article, we have summarised the differences between UGC NET and SET exams. For ease of comparison and comprehension, the differences have been categorized into various subheads like exam conduction body, exam mode, career scope, etc.

Difference Between NET and SET Exams

We will now discuss each of these in-depth to help you understand the difference between the SET and NET exams. The following points will distinguish the exams of NET and SET:

NET vs. SET: The Exam Conducting Body


  • NET: National Eligibility Test
  • This exam is conducted by the University Grant Commission (UGC)
  • UGC conducts the NET exam every year in June and December
  • NET is conducted for lectureship posts in any university or college in the country


  • SET: State Eligibility Test
  • This exam is also called SLET: State Level Eligibility Test
  • The exam pattern of the State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) is based on the National Eligibility Test conducted by the University Grant Commission (UGC) with the aid of a State university
  • There are the following states in which SET Exam is conducted:

SET Exam

Examination Body

Himachal Pradesh State Eligibility Test 

HPSET is conducted By the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (HP PSC) for the state of Himachal Pradesh.

Assam SET

Assam State Eligibility Test

State Level Eligibility Test North East (SLET-NE) Exam includes Assam SLET, Manipur SLET, Mizoram SLET, Tripura SLET, Arunachal Pradesh SLET, and Sikkim SLET. The SLETNE exam was conducted by Assam (N E Region) 


West Bengal State Eligibility Test

WB SETWest Bengal State Eligibility Test Exam Conducted By West Bengal College Service Commission (WBCSC)


Maharashtra State Eligibility TesT

MH-SET examinations are conducted by the University of Pune (Savitribai Phule Pune University) as the State Agency of the Government of Maharashtra and at the Government of Goa.


Uttarakhand State Eligibility Test

Uttarakhand State Level Eligibility Test or Kumaun university SET exam. Kumaun University conducted them to join candidates for lectureship in Uttarakhand.


Madhya Pradesh State Level Eligibility Test

Madhya Pradesh State Eligibility Test is a state-level exam for recruiting Assistant Professor/Lecturers in the state of Madhya Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission (MPPSC) conducts the MP SET. 


Karnataka State Eligibility Test 

Karnataka State Eligibility Test (KSET) Exam conducted by the University of Mysore to recruit Lectureship and Assistant Professors in Karnataka State.

Kerala SET

Kerala State Eligibility Test

The Government of Kerala conducts Kerala State Eligibility Test (Kerala SET), and the organizer is Lal Bahadur Shastri (LBS) Centre for Science & Technology


Gujarat State Eligibility Test

Gujarat SET Agency, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, is conducting State Eligibility Test to make the rigorous merit-based selection for the entry-level teaching profession.


Jammu and Kashmir State Eligibility Test

JK SET: Jammu & Kashmir State Eligibility Test Conducted By the University of Kashmir, Srinagar, to join candidates for Assistant Professors Universities and Colleges of Jammu & Kashmir State.


Andhra Pradesh State Eligibility Test



Tamilnadu State Eligibility Test

TN SLET Tamilnadu State Eligibility Test by Mother Teresa University-Kodaikanal 

NET vs. SET: Eligibility Criteria

The NET Eligibility is set differently for both the exams by the convenor institutes. We have shared the same below:

UGC NET Eligibility Criteria

SET Eligibility Criteria

  • Candidates who have obtained a minimum of 55% marks (General category) and 50% (SC/ST/PwD) in Master’s Degree or equivalent examination from universities/institutions recognized by UGC in the list of subjects at the Post-graduation level are eligible for this Test.
  • Candidates who are currently in their Master’s degree course or equivalent course or candidates who have appeared for their Master’s degree (final year) examination and whose result is still awaited may also apply for this Test.
  • Upper Age Limit is 30 years (For JRF).
  • Relaxation of upto 5 years for sc/st/obc-ncl/women/armed forces personnel’s /pwd/ transgender/ researchers , 3 years for L.L.M degree holder.
  • No upper age limit is set for applying for Assistant Professor.
  • Candidates who have achieved their master’s or post-graduation from the University Grant Commission (UGC) can appeal for the SET exam.
  • There is no age restriction.

NET vs. SET: Exam Pattern

You must understand the exam pattern of both examinations in a very clear manner. The preparation for each exam will depend upon the exam pattern. There is a major difference between the exam pattern of NET and SET exams. Find the complete exam pattern of both the exams below:

UGC NET Exam Pattern

SET Exam Pattern

  • UGC NET is divided into two Papers, I and II. 
  • Paper I carries 100 marks, and Paper-II carries 200 marks.
  • There is no negative marking.
  • Duration- 3 hours combined for both papers 1 and 2. No breaks in between.
  • The SET exam consists of two papers, i.e. I and II.
  • Based on the state authority, the exam may be conducted in one single stretch or two sessions on the same day.
  • The total number of questions is 150, and the marks are 300.
  • There is no negative marking. 

 4. UGC NET vs. SET: Other Differences


SET Exam Syllabus

  • NET is organized on a national scale, around 6% of the total candidates appearing are estimated to clear it.
  • UGC NET is conducted twice a year.
  • The NET-qualified candidates can apply for assistant professor in any college in the country.
  • The percentage of candidates clearing SET is around 7% which is higher than NET.
  • SET is conducted once a year.
  • The SET-qualified candidates can only apply to particular state-owned colleges/ universities for assistant professors. 

Similarities between NET and SET Exams

As already discussed, both the exams are conducted to recruit Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Assistant Professors.

  1. Qualifying Procedure: The qualifying procedure for both exams is similar. Candidates are selected based on their performance in their tests. 
  2. The Frequency of exam: The NET exam is conducted twice a year, while SET Exams are conducted once a year.
  3. Assessment: The candidates are assessed based on their General Aptitude Knowledge and Subject Knowledge in both the exams.

We hope this article has added some value to your knowledge, and it was able to clear all your doubts and confusion regarding the NTA UGC NET and SET exams.

Preparation Tips for your NET/SET EXAM

Check the preparation tips for the NET and SET exams. Candidates must check the SET & NET Preparation Strategy provided by the experts.

  • Check the entire syllabus and examination pattern thoroughly
  • Start preparing for the exam with a schedule
  • Practice with the previous year’s question papers and their solution
  • Keep revision of all topics from the topics daily
  • Check your progress with mock tests
  • Study carefully and do maintain your health.

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BYJU’S Exam Prep provides you with crisp and relevant notes with plenty of questions, mock tests, and practical application-based questions. Hence, to score better, start your preparation now and crack NET.

Thank you,

Team BYJU’S Exam Prep.

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