National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is an entrance test in India for students who want to enroll themselves for undergraduate medical courses (MBBS) and dental courses (BDS), in government or private medical colleges in India. Currently NEET is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), under the aegis of the Directorate General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Prior to 2019, the exam was administered by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The NEET exam conducted by NTA is one of the most important exams in India, and also one of the most competitive exams. The NEET UG replaced the All India Pre Medical Test (AIPMT) and all individual MBBS exams conducted by states or colleges in 2013. However premiere institutions like AIIMS and JIPMER are out of the shelf of NEET, having been structured in a different law.
With the questions concentrated to the 3 subjects Physics (45 questions), Chemistry (45 questions) and Botany (45 questions), Zoology (45 questions), this pen-and-paper based exam specifically focuses on the awareness of the candidate through each topic covered in the syllabus. The NEET UG, too has an efficient negative marking system. In the exam comprising of a total of 180 questions, total marks are 720, with 4 marks are rewarded for each right answer whereas a negative mark is deducted for every wrong answer. This does not only check subject knowledge, but also tests the ability of the student to strategize, take calculated risks and deters blind guessing.
Every year, a staggering number of around 13 lakh candidates appear in NEET exam out of which around 7 lakh candidates clear this coveted exam. However, the million dollar question is –Why is there a rat race to clear NEET exam? What makes it such a sought after exam?
The first and the foremost reason is even today Doctors are considered to be one of the noblest souls on earth. They are no less than God who gives us new life. With the changing lifestyle and diet deficiencies, one cannot overcome the life style diseases without the guidance of doctors. The special status attached with this profession also makes it attractive. A large number of big hospitals have mushroomed all over India and they offer fat salaries and perks to the doctors. The fat salaries offered by big hospitals make medical profession lucrative. All this creates great competition amongst the aspirants. Let us see how NEET has brought about much improvement in the mode of entrances into medical courses, as compared to the system of entrance examinations it has substituted.
NEET has brought about a lot of positive changes as to how entrances in medical courses were conducted. This common entrance test for various medical colleges reduces the anxiety among students while preparing for the test it also makes the aspirant more confident and determined for he or she can focus and prepare for just one exam. It prevents private medical colleges and deemed universities from holding their own set of entrance tests and thus the students are saved from the effort for applying and appearing for each one separately. NEET exam being standardized centralized and more organized, also prevents the rigging of rankings. Earlier students had to solve 200 questions in 3 hours but now they have to solve 180 questions in 3 hours. The leaks and scams have been plugged through this common entrance.
One of the major advantages of NEET exam is that it levels the playing ground for marginalized and poor students. The fee of multiple entrance examinations can be avoided. Some colleges which charged a hefty sum of money for tailor-made entrance examinations were beyond the reach of poor or even middle-class students. Since the syllabus of a common exam can be covered by a single set of reading-material, separate sets of books, notes, etc. need not be purchased. Also instead of coaching and preparing for multiple exams was difficult, students can now focus on just one umbrella exam, which releases pressure, minimizes financial cost and maximizes focus. This prevents the medical profession from becoming an elitist profession as it facilitates and promotes progress based on merit rather money.
In this world where disease, poverty and suffering abound, philanthropic attitude rules the roost. Endless people want to save the life of dying people. They want to be the ray of hope for others. Thousands of doctors work for soldiers and their families. Several of them work for WHO organizations all over the world. They are always on a mission with dedication .Somebody has rightly said- ‘A good doctor treats the disease but a great doctor treats the patient who has the disease as medicines can cure but a good doctor’s inspirational words can give the strength to fight from within’ That’s why NEET is much sought after exam even today.