Students hoping to take specialized courses in medicine are spoilt for choice. They can select from a variety of government run and private colleges and universities that offer such courses.
Getting admissions to any medical college in India is not easy: It requires complex preparation for the entrance exam. The only entrance exam that qualifies students for medical courses in India is called the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET).
The National Eligibility and Entrance Test or NEET-UG is an entrance examination for students who wish to study any graduate course in allopathic (General), Ayurvedic, Unani, Homeopathic and Dental medicine.
NEET is the unified entrance exam for medical studies at government or private medical colleges in India . It is conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in different Indian languages.
NEET replaces the All India Pre Medical Test.
NEET and Its Controversies
Despite prevailing ambiguity, the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) remains the single most important exam for students looking at careers in medicine.
Its significance can be gauged from the fact that over 70,000 seats for medical studies across India are available only to students who successfully complete the NEET. NEET is the only exam that has been widely debated by the Indian Parliament. Controversies over various features of NEET and the exam are rife.
The Future of NEET
In 2016, the Supreme Court of India ruled that NEET will serve as a unified entrance test for medical colleges and universities in the country. However, the nation’s apex court might take more decisions on NEET later, news reports indicate.
The demand for seats at medical colleges and universities in India increased exponentially during the 1970s and 1980s. Educational institutions were at loss to determine which student deserves a seat.
Earlier, some medical colleges would enroll anyone who had scored excellent marks in the Higher Secondary Certificate exams, in science and mathematics. Others would conduct their own entrance exams. There was no unified test that could help determine if a student merited seats.
NEET Prevented Scams in Medical Colleges
Prior to NEET, medical colleges and universities allowed students (and their parents) to pre-book seats. It is alleged that some undeserving students managed to gain entry to medical studies.
Middlemen and agents claiming to act on behalf of medical colleges charged heavy commissions to ‘fix’ seats for students. It is suspected that every academic year before NEET, these middlemen netted around Rs. 50 million as fees.
NEET is Compulsory for Studying Medicine
Successfully completing NEET opens doors to about 70,000 seats at colleges and universities in India offering medical graduate and undergraduate courses. NEET is administered by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
Types of NEET Exams
NEET is defined in two categories:
- NEET UG for undergraduates desirous of studying for Bachelor degree in any stream of medicine in India- General (Allopathy), Ayurvedic, Unani, Homeopathy and dentistry.
- NEET PG is held for students who wish to continue their medical education and obtain postgraduate degrees such of Medicine (MD) and Master of Dental Surgery (or Dental Science) course.
Applying and Paying for NEET Exams
Students can apply and pay for NEET exams online. Registrations commenced in January 2017. Admit cards for NEET are also downloadable from the CBSE website.
A total of 104 venues across India are designated as exam centers for NEET 2017.
The cost of NEET for students from the general (unreserved) category is Rs. 1,400.
Exam fees for students from Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes/ Other Backward Castes is Rs.750. They are paid online or by a Demand Draft drawn in favor of CBSE.
In 2017, NEET exams will be held across India on May 7. Enrolment for NEET 2017 concluded on March 1, 2017. The CBSE announced its syllabus for NEET 2017. It consists of topics from physics, chemistry and biology. The syllabus covers a broad spectrum of these subjects- ranging from what was taught in Standard VII till HSC.
NEET 2017 in 10 Languages
For 2017, the CBSE has included Oriya and Kannada to the list of languages in which students can write NEET. In 2016, NEET was conducted in Hindi, English, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu. CBSE plans to offer the test in more languages, subject to availability of linguistic experts qualified in NEET subjects.
Suggested Important Chapters
Physics: Important units of measurements and their uses, various physical laws and their impact on technology, prevailing and proposed units of the Physical Society, International System Units (SI units) and their fundamentals, measuring length, quantity, time and mass, errors in measurements and corrective steps, constant accuracy of instruments and error margins, notable discoveries and inventions, dimension and its uses,
Chemistry: Basics of chemistry, importance of chemistry, laws of chemical combination, laws of atoms, molecules and elements, molecular science, chemical composition and related laws, molecular mass, chemical reactions, chemical calculations, Stoichiometry and its calculations.
Biology: Biology for NEET includes botany and zoology. Suggested readings includes diversity and biodiversity in the world, genus, species and classification of flora and fauna, domains of life and nature, taxonomy, variety of species, binomial and related theories, classification of the five kingdoms of life, fungi, bacteria and other microbes and their uses, taxonomical practices and theories of botany and zoology.
Cracking NEET: Tips and Tweaks
Syllabus for NEET may appear formidable. Yet, students can succeed at NEET if they prepare well in advance.
- Begin Early: NEET features physics, chemistry and biology related questions. They revolve around what was taught at school, from Standard VIII and onwards till HSC. Preparing from Standard IX itself helps students crack NEET successfully.
- Old Text Books: For those who forgot what was taught in school, getting old text books for physics, chemistry and biology can do the trick- provided the syllabus is unchanged.
- NCERT: Books aimed at preparing students to pass NEET are published by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). These serve as excellent guides to understanding NEET and the type of questions asked.
- Online Study: Several resources to crack NEET are available online. Students can refer to paid study material offered by private coaching classes. Volumes of study and reference material can be accessed free at NCERT and CBSE websites.
- Eradicate Weak Points: Students are adept at one subject while weak in another. It is essential to know the subjects in which you lag. Focus more attention on eradicating grey areas in these subjects by reading more.
- Study Together: One or more of your classmate will be studying for NEET. It is advisable to form a study group. This allows comparing notes and exchanging views.
- Mathematics: A major misconception among NEET students is, mathematics has no role in the exam. On the contrary, excellent mathematical skills are required while answering questions in the physics and chemistry sections.
- Charts and Reference Sheets: Physics, chemistry and biology involves lots of formulas, theorem and complex names, symbol designators and calculations. Prepare elaborate and separate charts for each of these.
- Download Previous Question Papers: Questionnaires and answer sheets for previous editions of NEET are easily available on the Internet. A thorough study of these questionnaires will reveal patterns followed by examiners. Answer sheets can hold vital clues on how to score high.
- Mock Tests: This can be done while studying in a group or alone. Prepare your own question papers based on those of previous years. The proficiency and patterns of your answers will reveal several interesting pointers about your NEET preparations.
Several coaching classes that specialize in training students to crack NEET have mushroomed across India. A careful look at their success rates will indicate the quality of their tuitions and help save money.
NEET Scores, Quotas and Other Vital Stats
A notification from CBSE states that for 2017, candidates from the general (unreserved) category have to score minimum 50 percentile in NEET for BDS and MBBS courses.
Students from Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribes/ Other Backward Classes are required to hold minimum 40 percentile.
Candidates with special needs such as (disability of lower limbs) have to score minimum 45 percentile.
These scores are mandatory for all MBBS and BDS seats in government, private, deemed and Top medical colleges/universities in India.
Percentile rate will be determined on the basis of higher marks secured in all India common merit list in NEET 2017.
Entrance for Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopathy Medical Courses
The Ministry of Ayush has notified that beginning academic year 2017-18, NEET will serve as a common entrance exam for:
- Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
- Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS)
- Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS)
This directive by the ministry revokes all entrance exams held by various states, colleges and universities for these courses.
Exceptions to NEET
Only the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and its institutes do not stipulate NEET as entrance exam for its MBBS courses. AIIMS, as part of the Central government, conducts its own entrance exams for its medical courses.
Students Above 25 Years Age
Beginning NEET 2017, students from the general category who are born after May 7, 1992 are eligible to appear for NEET. Those from Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes/ Other Backward Classes who were born after May 7, 1987 can apply and appear for NEET 2017.
Admission to Medical Colleges Post NEET
As explained earlier, admissions to medical colleges after successfully completing NEET is based on scores. The Centre allocates a quota of fixed seats for government-run medical colleges for every Indian state.
Admission to state-run colleges is on merit and reservation basis only. Private colleges and universities broadly follow admission policies based upon procedures followed by government colleges.