Students outside a NEET examination centre. Photo: Youtube
NEET PG is an entrance examination in India for students to pursue postgraduate courses in medicine. The National Board of Examinations (NBE) has revised the examination pattern for NEET PG 2021.
The examination will consist of 200 questions instead of 300 as until last year, while the allotted time remains 3.5 hours. Students and faculty members across the country are surprised by the last minute changes in the examination pattern.
A majority of medical colleges have been dedicated as COVID-19 facilities. As a consequence, the undergraduate batch of 2016 across the country faced delays with their final year internship. NBE extended the cut-off date this year for completing the internship to June 30, 2021. All MBBS students who completed their internship by this date will be eligible to appear for NEET PG 2021.
NBE also notified that the exam will further serve as a gateway for the post-MBBS two-year diploma course recently launched by the board. The diploma courses will be available in specialities such as radiology and paediatrics.
“The examination board has retained the same time limit as last year and reduced the number of questions. The new pattern will have more clinical vignettes and less one liners,” says Dr Sumer Sethi, director of DAMS, a pan-India medical entrance coaching institute.
“The examination will focus on analytical and critical thinking skills related to medicine”. The paper will also have more image based questions this time, Dr Sethi speculates.
Students across the country are worried by the hike in application fee by NBE for merely appearing in the NEET PG examination. The current examination fees for general candidates are Rs 5,015 – and Rs 3,835 for SC, ST and OBC students.
Last year the fee was Rs 3,750 for general category students and Rs 2,750 for other categories. These amounts include a GST of 18%. Applying GST for a national level entrance exam is questionable.
Dr Shankul Dwivedi, convenor of Indian Medical Association-Junior Doctors’ Network, Madhya Pradesh said, “The fees charged for UPSC, GATE and CAT exams are 200, 1,500 and 2,000 rupees. Why is NBE charging 5,000 rupees [for NEET PG] then?”
All India Institute of Medical Science conducts a separate exam for admission to NIMHANS, JIPMER and few other institutes. It charges a fee of Rs 1,500 for general/OBC aspirants and Rs 1,200 for SC/ST students. Medical students across the country are of the view that the NEET examination has become more of a revenue generation strategy for the NBE.
Dr Faiz Abbas Abidi is a junior doctor pursuing biomedical research, public health issues and digital health interventions. He tweets at @doc_faiz.