National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2018 organized by Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) is scheduled for May 6, 2018. The notification also comprised certain surprises introduced in the test this year including the prohibition of NIOS aspirants and revision of upper age limit. The much-awaited NEET official notification was published on February 8, 2018.
In 2017, 11.3 lakhs aspirants applied for the exam, the number is expected to rise to 12 lakhs this year. The changes introduced will have a significant impact on all the medical candidates and not all are going to have a positive answer. NEET candidates are well advised to check all the important changes introduced in the centralized medical entrance test this year.
Some key changes in NEET 2018 are listed below:
The Medical Council of India (MCI) has prohibited students studying +2 via open and distance schooling from appearing for NEET 2018. The change is likely to dampen the dreams of thousands of students. The reason said by the MCI for this move was the difference in the level of education among the students of two categories received. Thousands of medical candidates may lose the opportunity to become doctors due to this amendment. NIOS has 2.7 million students enrolled in 3500+ centers across the country. It was stated that NIOS students lack the exposure of practical lessons that regular students receive.
CBSE reintroduced an Upper Age Limit for aspirants applying for NEET. The age limit for General Category aspirants is fixed at 25 years. A relaxation of 5 years is permissible for reserved category aspirants i.e., 30 years. This change was introduced in NEET 2017 as well but was scrapped later by the Supreme Court. Aspirants past the said age will not be applicable to sit for the exam this year.
The at least age to be applicable for MBBS program is 17 years on or before December 31, 2018.
The Supreme Court of India decided to comprise Urdu as one of the media for NEET this year. The changes bring the total number of languages in which the exam shall be organized to 11. The Students Islamic Organization of India has been persistent to introduce this option for years. The notification for NEET 2018 confirmed the introduction of Urdu as a medium for the exam.
From 2018 onwards, aspirants aspiring to get into Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) undergraduate courses in any college across the country, will have to appear for NEET. The courses that will fall under the purview of this new rule are:
The AYUSH Ministry made it mandatory for the all the states organize admission into AYUSH Under Graduate courses via NEET 2018 merit list. This move was introduced in 2017 as well but only a handful of states held admissions via NEET 2017.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana will now take aspirants into MBBS/BDS programs via NEET. Earlier, these states, along with J&K, refrained from participating in NEET under Article 371D. Under the new scheme, 15% of total seats available in the all the medical colleges across the two states will be available for students via All India NEET counseling.
In return, 15% of the seats via All India NEET counseling will be available for aspirants from these two states. The same will not be required from NEET 2018. Previous, students from these two states had to submit a self-declaration form to be considered for the NEET counseling.
Besides the changes mentioned above, MCI has also proposed to make NEET compulsory for studying MBBS from foreign colleges and universities. The dip in performance is attributed to lack of aptitude among students who clear their MBBS from abroad as lack of regularization in the selection of Foreign Universities for studying medical courses. The proposal has come in the wake of poor performance of aspirants in FMGE (Foreign Medical Graduate Examination).