The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, better known as NEET, will be held on 6 May, 2018 this year. The test is conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) as a single-window, all-India entrance examination for admission to various medical colleges. It will offer admissions to MBBS and BDS courses in all government colleges, private colleges, deemed universities and central universities in the country, with the exception of AIIMS and JIPMER.
NEET replaced the previously held AIPMT (All India Pre-Medical Test) as well as all various state-level and university-level entrance examinations to serve as a common platform for medical and dental college admissions in India from 2017 onwards.
The registraion for NEET 2018 started from 8 February after some delay. As confirmed by the prospectus, major changes have been introduced to the exam in terms of its scope, eligibility criteria, and the number of languages one can take the test in.
What’s new in NEET 2018?
- Upper age limit re-introduced: One of the biggest controversies surrounding NEET last year is likely to reappear, with the CBSE unexpectedly introducing an upper age limit for candidates seeking to appear for NEET 2018. The general category students should be not be more than 25-years-old while the age limit is 30 years for reserved category students. It took countless Supreme Court hearings to overturn the upper age limit criteria last year. It appears that a similar battle awaits older aspirants this year as well.
- Limit on number of attempts removed: The cap on number of attempts to appear for NEET has been removed this year. The attempt limit introduced last year, allowed candidates to appear for NEET only three times.
- Admission to AYUSH courses also through NEET: Apart from the approximately 65,000 MBBS seats and 25,000 BDS seats, which will be offered for admissions through NEET 2018, admissions to all Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) undergraduate courses across all states will also be done on the basis of NEET scores. These include BAMS, BHMS, BUMS, BSMS and BNYS courses.
- Urdu to be introduced as new language option: After a prolonged struggle by the Students Islamic Organization of India (SIO) in the Supreme Court last year, the NEET prospectus has confirmed that Urdu has been included as one of the language options for this year's exam, taking the total number of languages in which the exam is held to 11.
- Andhra, Telangana join All India Quota (AIQ): Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the two states apart from Jammu and Kashmir which had exempted themselves from the 15 percent AIQ scheme in NEET since its inception, will be participating in the same from this year onward. This means that 15 percent of the MBBS and BDS seats available in the government medical and dental colleges of these two states will now be available for AIQ counselling. Also, candidates from these states will now be able to participate in the AIQ process.
- Open school students not eligible: In what is undoubtedly the most controversial change introduced to the NEET 2018 eligibility criteria, the CBSE has ruled that National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) students will not be allowed to appear for the exam from this year onward. This comes after the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) had promised students that it would revoke this rule and allow all NIOS students to appear. Also, Biology will have to be a compulsory core subject in both Classes 11 and 12 and cannot be taken as an additional subject in Class 12 alone.
- Increase in reservation for differently-abled candidates: With the enactment of the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016, the reservation for differently-abled candidates in all colleges has been increased to 5 percent from the existing 3 percent.
- Increase in exam cities: As compared to 104 cities in 2017, NEET will be held across approximately 2,000 exam centres in 150 cities this year.
When and how to apply?
The NEET 2018 application form can only be filled in online mode and the last date for submission will be 9 March, 2018. Candidates (except those from Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, and Meghalaya) should ensure they have enrolled for Aadhaar, as the unique ID number is a mandatory requirement in the form. General Category candidates will have to pay an application fee of Rs 1,400, while reserved category candidates will have to pay Rs 750.
What are the eligibility criteria this year?
As per the NEET eligibility criteria, Indian nationals, Non-resident Indians (NRIs), Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs), and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) are all allowed to appear. Only science stream students who have studied Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English as core subjects in Classes 11 and 12 will be eligible for admissions to MBBS and BDS seats through NEET. These students should also have cleared Physics, Chemistry and Biology with a minimum of 50 percent aggregate marks (40 percent for reserved categories) in their Class 12 final exam. Candidates should have completed 17 years of age on or before 31 December this year. They should have been born on or after 7 May, 1993 (1988 for reserved categories).
About the exam pattern
NEET will be a pen-paper based exam with question papers in 11 languages including Hindi, English, Urdu, Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada. The paper will comprise 180 multiple choice questions, which will have to be answered in a span of 3 hours. The paper will have 45 questions, each, from Physics and Chemistry and 90 questions will be from the Biology section, including the Botany and Zoology sub-sections. The paper will carry a total of 720 marks. Each question will carry 4 marks while 1 mark will be deducted for an incorrect response. Speed and precision will be key as candidates will only have one minute on average to spend on answering each question. The syllabus will be based on Class 11 and Class 12 topics, derived from the CBSE, NCERT and COBSE curriculum.
How to prepare for NEET?
When you first start preparing for NEET, focus on the concepts and basics. With the CBSE organizing NEET 2017, the key for preparation lies in being thorough with NCERT books. Most of the syllabus is common for Class 12 board exams and Medical entrances when it comes to Physics, Chemistry, and Biology but state board students are also advised to go through the NCERT books. Coaching classes will help a lot but rigorous and disciplined self-study with NCERT text books should also suffice. Applicants are advised to cover the entire syllabus by March, leaving out sufficient time for revisions. Other tips to remember include:
- Clearing all basic concepts rather than attempting rote learning.
- Preparing as per the syllabus and weightage allotted to each topic.
- Solving sample papers and previous years question papers.
- Making notes regularly.
- Taking mock tests regularly.
The NEET result will be declared on 5 June, 2018. To qualify, candidates should score equal to or more than the category-wise minimum percentile cutoff as stipulated by the CBSE. Candidates from the general category will be required to score marks equal to or more than the 50th percentile while those belonging to OBC/SC/ST categories will be required to score equal to or more than the 40th percentile to qualify for admissions to MBBS and BDS courses. Last year, general candidates had to attain 131 marks (50th percentile) out of 720 to qualify. Depending on the exam difficulty and the number of candidates applying, this may increase or decrease this year, but the change should not be too substantial.
What after the result?
Following the declaration of the NEET result, the counselling process for MBBS and BDS seats will be conducted by different counselling bodies. The counselling for 15 percent AIQ seats in all government colleges and 100 percent of the seats in all deemed and central universities will be conducted by Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on behalf of the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) at the national level.
States will conduct their own counselling through the respective state counselling authorities for admissions into the remaining 85 percent state quota seats in their medical and dental colleges. All eligible candidates who have cleared the required percentile can apply for All India Quota and deemed university seats while their eligibility for state quota seats will depend on a particular state’s eligibility requirements. Candidates will be required to separately apply for admissions to All India Quota seats, deemed and central university seats, and to each of the state they are interested in applying for. The MBBS and BDS classes for candidates admitted through NEET 2018 to various colleges are expected to begin from August.
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Updated Date: Feb 09, 2018 16:47 PM