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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 July 2024

Last-minute tweak in National Eligibility-Entrance Test for postgraduate medical courses angers doctors

National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences in a May 4 notice said candidates would be restricted from proceeding to the next test section until they complete their allotted time for a previous section, under the planned changes in the multi-section, computer-based, multiple choice questions test

G.S. Mudur New Delhi Published 06.05.24, 06:00 AM
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India’s apex medical education testing body has announced “mandatory time-bound sections” in the National Eligibility-Entrance Test for postgraduate medical courses (NEET-PG), 45 days before the test date on June 18, evoking a protest letter from sections of doctors.

The National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences (NBEMS) in a May 4 notice said candidates would be restricted from proceeding to the next test section until they complete their allotted time for a previous section, under the planned changes in the multi-section, computer-based, multiple choice questions test.

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Candidates will also not be allowed to review the questions or modify their responses for a section after the completion of the allotted time, the NBEMS said. The changes are being implemented “to enhance the security and sanctity of the exams in light of emerging threats during the examination process”, it said.

Explaining the changes, the board said if the NEET-PG 2024 has five time-bound sections in the question paper, each section will have 40 questions and 42 minutes of time allotted. The board said it plans to implement this in NEET-PG 2024 and the Graduate Aptitude Pharmacy Test 2024 — a test for entrance into Masters in pharmacy — and all forthcoming computer-based tests conducted by NBEMS.

The board said candidates would have the option to mark any question, whether attempted or not, for review. This means that candidates can go through these marked questions in a section again before the allotted time for that section ends. The actual number of time-restricted sections in the exam may vary based on the total number of questions in the paper and operational feasibility of creating such sections, it said.

But sections of post-graduate doctors and candidates have expressed concern at what they have described as “last-minute changes” in the NEET-PG rules, saying this will add additional layers of stress and uncertainty.

“This is among the toughest and most competitive exams in the world — and most candidates are likely already under stress,” said Rohan Krishnan, the national chairman of the Federation of All India Medical Association, an umbrella body of post-graduate doctors.

Some 200,000 to 250,000 medical graduates are expected to take the NEET-PG 2024, competing for around 70,000 seats in government and private medical colleges leading to MS, MD and other postgraduate degrees.

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