Every year 4.75 lakh candidates appear for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical college admission, which take place in 739 centres in 56 cities. The total number of medical seats available in the country is 52,965.
To discourage the thousands of candidates who keep attempting the examination over and over again, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has set an age limit and attempt limit for the exam. The candidates must also fulfil the new age limit if they wish to appear for the medical and dental exam.
The new guidelines state:
- The minimum age to sit for NEET is 17 years.
- The maximum age for unreserved category students is 25 years.
- The maximum age is 30 for the schedule caste/ schedule tribe/ another backwards category.
- The applicants will only get three opportunities to clear the exam.
Till now, there has been no limit on the number of attempts.
“This is a good decision. Some applicants keep taking the test, and when they don’t pass the cut, they join BSc college and keep taking a medical entrance test. This decision would also bar the faculty of coaching classes who keep on attempting the test to understand the changing patterns. The NEET information brochures will be distributed soon,” says The Director at the Maharashtra Directorate of Medical Education and Research, Dr Pravin Shingare, as reported by The Times of India.
“We often observed the coaching classes field candidates, and sometimes it leads to cheating and fraud,” say experts. The Medical College Principals have welcomed this step saying that this cap on attempts and age will force applicants to focus on the field where their passion and capability lie.
Major Scam of Leaking AIPMT question paper
Two years ago, All India Pre-Medical Test was conducted twice after it was revealed that 90 answers were transmitted to the candidates during an examination for a fee of Rs 15 to 20 lakh. The Haryana Police had unearthed a major scam and arrested the gang who leaked the question papers of AIPMT by taking hefty fees from students. It was also found in the scandal that at least 45 beneficiaries were supplied special vests fitted with SIM cards and Bluetooth devices to facilitate transmission of answers.
The number of older candidates competing with 17-year-old aspirants has been rising each year. 12,000 applicants took the Common Entrance Test (CET) in 2007, and the number grew to 13,568 in 2008. At least 100 aspirants were in the early 30s and the oldest candidates were 38-years-old.