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I often get asked by many of my class 12th students, what other examinations they can write, what other career streams after their school they can opt besides the usual engineering or medical streams. This in-depth article is intended to answer such questions.

What are the different career options, besides engineering and medicine, a student can opt for after class 12th ?

For young Indian students who don’t want to go the usual medical or engineering route, there are many career options to pursue right after 10+2. The list below include exams you can take to join the Defence Forces, Institutes for Fashion Design, Agriculture, Hotel Management, Law, Pure Science fields and even Government jobs.

Fashion & Design Programs.

1. National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) Entrance Test

NIFT offers undergraduate programs called B.Des (Bachelor of Design) in various fields and B.FTech (Bachelor of Fashion Technology) in apparel production. One can get admission to these programs by clearing the written tests conducted by NIFT.

To apply for the Bachelor of Design program, you need to appear for two written exams, CAT (Creative Ability Test) and General Ability Test (GAT). 12th passed students from any stream can apply.

To apply for the Bachelor of Fashion Technology program however, you need 10+2 with physics, chemistry and mathematics as compulsory subjects. Candidates will have to appear only for General Ability Test (GAT).

The CAT exam tests intuition, observation, innovation, and design ability. It also involves three drawing questions within 3 hours. The GAT exam tests quantitative ability, English comprehension, communication, analytical ability and general knowledge of current affairs. GAT involves 100 questions in 2 hours. Both are offline exams.

Link for the NIFT website.

2. National Institute of Design Admissions

The prestigious National Institute of Design conducts an All-India entrance test called as Design Aptitude Test, DAT for class 12 pass outs from any stream. The number of seats is very limited, so competition is high. The exam is conducted in 2 stages, DAT Prelims and DAT Mains.

The DAT Prelims is a mix of subjective and objective questions on pen and paper, with 100 questions and 3 hours to answer them. The subjective questions may involve answering in written or visual formats.

The DAT Mains includes a Studio Test in various formats followed by interviews.

The online application for DAT Prelims 2022 is already up. Students must fill in the form by November 30, 2021. Check the official website to know more.

3. All India Entrance Exam for Design (AIEED)

The ARCH Academy for Design conducts the AIEED for admissions to Bachelor in Design. It is a good option for those who want to study graphic design, jewellery design, fashion design, interior design or product design. The exam is held in three different stages, including:

  • Video and Portfolio GAT (General Ability Test), for which submissions are to be made a week before the exams
  • CAT (Creative Ability Test), a 3-hour online test with 50 questions
  • Personal interaction (Skype call)

12th passed (even 11th passed) students above 16 years of age from any stream can apply for this program.

Check the official ARCH website to apply for the December 2021 exam.


If you decide to study law right after the 12th, you can enrol in a 5-year BA LLB program. You can sit for either of two national tests, depending on where you want to study.

1. All India Law Entrance Test (AILET)

If you want to study law at the prestigious National Law University in New Delhi, you can write the AILET exam. With admission, you can study a 5-year integrated BA LLB. This exam is usually held in July.

Class 12 passed students with minimum 50% in their Board exams, from any stream can apply.

The question paper is held online for 90 minutes and tests Verbal Ability, Mathematics, Logical Reasoning, General Knowledge and Legal Aptitude. There are 150 multiple-choice questions with negative markings.

Link for the NLU Delhi website.

2. Common Law Admission Test (CLAT)

The CLAT is held for admissions to National Law Universities across the country by the Consortium of NLUs. There are a total 22 national law Universities, so the CLAT is in a sense, less competitive than the AILET.

Class 12th passed students with minimum 45% in their Boards from any stream can apply.

The exam is 2 hours long and includes 150 MCQs. The syllabus is largely similar to AILET except for Quantitative techniques replacing the Basic Maths section of the AILET. Check out the exam announcements and rules here.

Hotel Management.

1. All India Hotel Management Entrance Exam (NCHMCT JEE)

The National Testing Agency holds the National Council for Hotel Management Joint Entrance Examination (NCHMCT JEE), conducted once a year for admission to the B.Sc in Hospitality and Hotel Management. There are 43 colleges in India offering a total of 12000 seats.

Class 12 passed students with English as their core subject can apply. There is also a physical fitness test.

This exam is conducted online. The question paper consists of a total 200 questions divided into 5 sections which tests aptitude, logical ability, reasoning ability and english language. There is negative marking for wrong answers and the time duration is 3 hours.

Link for the official website here.


1. Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR AIEEA)

The ICAR AIEEA (UG) offers admission to the Bachelor’s program in Agriculture and Allied Sciences (excluding veterinary sciences) at many agricultural universities on 15% of the University seats (100% seats however in RLBCAU Jhansi, NDRI Karnal and Dr. RPCAU Pusa, Bihar).

There are a total of 75 colleges that accept ICAR AIEEA scores which includes some Central Universities like BHU, AMU, Vishwa Bharti and Nagaland University.

Class 12 pass students from any stream can appear for this exam provided they have obtained minimum 50% in their Boards.

The exams are computer-based with a test paper containing a total of 150 questions, to be attempted in 2.5 hours. Registrations usually begin in July, and the exams are held in September.

Link for the ICAR’s website.


1. Indian Statistical Institute Admission

The Indian Statistical Institute offers two programs- Bachelor of Statistics (Honours) [B.Stat(Hons)] and Bachelor of Mathematics (Honours) [B.Math (Hons)] which students after class 12 can apply for if they wish to go for higher studies in Mathematics or Statistics. Both the programs are for a duration of 3 years.

To appear for entrance exams for these courses, a candidate must have completed 10+2 education with mathematics and english as compulsory subjects.

The entrance exam consists of 2 written tests comprising multiple-choice type and descriptive questions in Mathematics at the 10+2 level.

Candidates who have appeared in the Indian National Mathematics Olympiad conducted by Dept. of Atomic Energy, Govt. of India and are selected as awardees are not needed to write the entrance test. They can apply and go straight for the interview.

Link for the official website here.


1. Indian Institute of Science, IISc Bangalore

The prestigious IISc Bangalore, widely regarded as the best Institute in India (even above IITs) for Science and Research, opened its wings for undergraduate students only after 2010. It offers only one undergraduate program- Bachelor of Science (Research), BS.

6 major disciplines are available in this program- Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Earth & Environmental Science, Materials.

To be eligible, a student must have completed 10+2 education with physics, chemistry and mathematics as cumpulsory subjects (applicable also for biology and comp. science students).

One can get admission by applying through one of these exams- JEE Mains, JEE Advanced, NEET, or the KVPY fellowship exams. A candidate must have done extremely well in these exams to get admission as cut off scores are very high.

One can check the IISc website by following this link.

2. Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER)

There are IISERs at Bhopal, Kolkata, Berhampur, Pune, Mohali, Tirupati and Thiruvananthapuram. These institutes offer Bachelor of Science, BS (currently offered only by IISER Bhopal) and 5-year dual-degree BS-MS in science (Bachelor of Science-Master of Science).

The 4 year BS program is available in these disciplines-

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Data Science & Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
  • Economic Sciences

The 5 year dual degree BS-MS program is offered in many more disciplines-

  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemical Sciences
  • Earth & Climate/Environmental Sciences
  • Economic Sciences
  • Engineering Sciences
  • Geological Sciences
  • Integrated & Interdisciplinary Sciences
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Physical Sciences

Eligibility criteria differ for various programs and courses offered but a student must have scored above 60% aggregate in 12th Boards.

Admission to these institutes can be taken through various channels- 1. By IIT-JEE Advanced Score, 2. KVPY score, 3. State or Central Board percentage, in which case the student will also have to clear the IISER aptitude test called IAT.

The IAT exam consists of 60 questions, divided into 4 sections- Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics, all having equal weightage. Time alloted is 3 hours and this exam is conducted online. For more details regarding sample papers and exam dates, check the official website here.

3. National Entrance Screening Test (NEST)

The NEST is an annual online entrance exam conducted every year for admissions to-

  • National Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhubaneswar (NISER), an off campus center of Homi Bhabha National Institute.
  • Mumbai’s Center for Excellence in Basic Sciences, a joint collaboration between the Dept. of Atomic Energy and University of Mumbai.

Both the institutes offer a 5 year integrated M.Sc. programme in Biological, Chemical, Mathematical and Physical sciences.

To be eligible, a student must be from the science stream in their 10+2 education, with minimum 60% aggregate marks in class 12th boards.

NEST is a highly competitive exam in India. It includes 4 sections- Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. Depending on your choice of the institute, you may attempt three or all four of these sections as marking is prepared using the best 3 scores out of the four sections.

Selected students are rewarded with annual scholarships of Rs 60000 under the DISHA program of Dept. of Atomic Energy along with an additional Rs 20000 every year for summer internships.

Link for the official NEST website.

Commerce And Management


IIM Indore was the 1st IIM to offer a 5 year integrated program called IPM (Integrated Programme in Management), which a student after class 12th can opt for. The program awards dual degrees upon completion- Bachelor of Arts, BA (Foundations of Management) and Master of Business Administration, MBA.

Following suit, in recent years, many more IIMs have started similar programs. As of now, IPM is offered by IIM Rohtak, IIM Jammu, IIM Ranchi and IIM Bodh Gaya along with IIM Indore. Eligibility criteria for all is same- a class 12th passed student with minimum 60% in Boards from any stream can apply. However, the selection process differs for different IIMs.

  • IIM Indore and IIM Rohtak conduct their own entrance exams called IPMAT (Integrated Programme Management Aptitude Test) along with an interview. IIM Rohtak also gives 40% weightage to marks obtained in class 10th and 12th Boards.

  • For IIM Bodh Gaya and IIM Jammu a student must appear in the NTA conducted exam called JIPMAT (Joint Integrated Programme in Management Admission Test). Both give 30% weightage to marks obtained in class 10th and 12th Boards.

  • Going forward, it is likely that JIPMAT scores would be accepted also by IIM Ranchi as indicated by its director Shri Shailendra Singh, though the previous year, IIM Ranchi selected students based on IPMAT (Indore) and SAT performance.

Here is the official link for the JIPMAT exam conducted annually by NTA.

Special Note: IPMAT (Indore) test score is also accepted by Nirma University of Ahmedabad for its integrated BBA-MBA 5 year course. Weightage assigned is 50%, rest of the 50% is assigned to personal interview and class 12th Boards. Official website.

2. National Test for Programs After Twelfth, NPAT

Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) is a highly acclaimed top private university based out of Mumbai. It has 8 campuses/centres located in various parts of India along with 17 constituent schools offering many different programs and disciplines.

It conducts its own entrance exam called NPAT for admission into its various undergraduate courses- B.Tech, BSc (Economics), BSc (finance), BBA, B.Com (Hons), B. Design along with admission to its integrated programs- MBA Tech ( dual degree program- MBA + B.Tech in one of engineering discipline as opted by the candidate) MBA Pharma Tech (dual degree- B. Pharma + MBA).

Eligibility criteria differs for different programs and campus-centers. Students are advised to read the admission brochure carefully. However the common criteria for most is above 60% in class 12th Boards.

NPAT exam pattern for non-engineering programs consist of objective type questions which test quantitative & numerical ability, reasoning & logical ability and english language.



Riddhima agrawal 05-Mar 2024 03:46 am

I really liked it


Pritam raj 10-Apr 2024 05:58 am

Bsc nursing karne ka leya inter me kitne percentage marks laye


Abhishek sir 25-Apr 2024 08:29 pm

@Pritam Raj You must be from science stream and should have physics, chemistry and biology in your class 11th and 12th. You should have passed the 12th boards with at least 60% marks. The eligibility criteria however differs from university to university and some have this at 50%. So better contact the university or look at its website/brochures.