Over 18.72 lakh candidates have registered for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2022. Out of which over 10.64 lakh candidates are women and 8.07 lakh are men. This is the first time in recent years that number of females has crossed 10 lakh in the medical entrance exam. Further, the number of registrations are at a record high. There is a significant jump of over 2.5 lakh from last year when about 15.44 lakh candidates had appeared for the exam.
The increase in the number of applications for NEET could be because of many reasons including the removal of upper age limit and allowing people over 25 years of age to be eligible to take medical entrance. Further, the number of repeaters has also increased. Many educational experts believe that last year due to pandemic-led disruptions in education cycle, many students had held back from taking the exam.
While more students taking exam for limited seat clearly means more competition with a backlog of students preparing since 2021 and upper age limit being removed, it is being said that this could be one of the toughest medical entrance exam.
“The entire process of preparing for NEET and cracking it has become more time-consuming with time making the competition tougher. With number of applications for NEET for the first time breached the 18-lakh mark, the competition is definitely going to rise. Last year too we saw that three students got full marks in NEET,” said Saurabh Kumar, Chief Academic Officer, Vidymandir Classes.
He believes that the competition is likely to remain stiff in coming as years as the pandemic has made medical one of the most sought after careers, surpassing engineering. “With a boom in health sector post covid-19 more number of students are focusing on medical stream as they feel this brings more security to their economic conditions even during worst situations,” said Kumar.
However, not everyone of the 18 lakh students is a competition, claimed Kumar as he explained, “at last the age limit applicants above age 25 would not be a major game changer as the previous trends shows that students who were near the upper age limit tend to not crack NEET. So not every one is a competition.”
To ease off the candidates’ woes, NTA — the exam conducting body — has not only continued the internal choice introduced last year in the medical entrance exam but has also increased the time duration of the exam by 20 minutes which can be of a help to candidates as early candidates used to get 1 minute for each question in the medical entrance.
Advising students on how to get better of this increasing competition, Kumar said, “revise the syllabus at least 3 to 4 times”. He also asked parents to ensure that their kid does not feel pressured.
According to MoHFW data, there were 54,348 medical seats in 404 public and private colleges in 2014-15. These numbers rose to 83,075 and 554, respectively, in the session 2021-22.
NEET-UG is the qualifying entrance exam for admission to Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), Bachelor of Siddha Medicine and Surgery (BSMS), Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS), and Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS) and BSc (H) Nursing courses.