NEET 2019 to Be Held Once Only, NTA Releases Official Schedule

National Eligibility and Entrance Test, NEET 2019 will be held only once and in pen and paper format against the July 07 declaration of conducting the exam twice a year. On 21st August 2018, Ministry of Human Resources Development announced the date, the schedule, and the format of the exam. Another modification from the earlier declaration is that the exam will be organized in pen and paper based mode against computer mode.

Both the changes were planned by the ministry after NTA (National Testing Agency) took over the management of national level medical entrance test. However, due to logistics and the huge disadvantage for rural area aspirants, both the decisions are reversed.

Important Dates for NEET 2019

NEET Registration commences in the month of November while the exam is scheduled for the first week of May. The important dates for NEET 2019 as per the official schedule released by NTA is mentioned below.

Mode of examination Pen & Paper exam (in a single session)
NEET Application Process November 01 – November 30, 2018
Availability of admit cards April 15, 2019
Date of the examination May 05, 2019
Date of announcing results June 06, 2019
The beginning of counseling 2nd week of June 2019

What the Experts are Saying

The experts have given different opinions on the pros and cons of the decision of conducting the NEET once a year and in pen and paper format. As said by the majority of them, a sudden transition from the pen and paper mode to the computer-based mode is challenging indeed but the latter is going to be indispensable in the coming days and the other exams under the supervision of the NTA like UGC-NET, JEE Main (I & II), CMAT & GPAT are all going to be computer-based tests this time.

Because of the fact that the NEET is the single point examination for all undergraduate medical and dental seats in the MBBS, BDS & Ayush courses offered by the medical colleges in India, the logistic challenge of conducting the examination in an online format has been pointed out by many. Considering not only the huge number of students appearing for the test but also the difficulty that might be faced by the candidates from the remote areas if the test goes online, many experts are of the opinion that the Ministry has taken the correct decision for the time being.

The underlying political move behind holding NEET once a year in pen and paper based mode is also quite obvious. Last year, NEET saw a huge uproar after it was made mandatory for admission to all medical institutions in India barring AIIMS MBBS and JIPMER MBBS. Also, the curriculum based on CBSE Syllabus raised further concerns among students from various state level boards. After the announcement on July 07, states like Tamil Nadu have already expressed their concerns and fears that the new system is explicitly made to give an edge to students from urban areas. The centre’s move to reverse the decision is an obvious attempt to appease these vehement protests over holding NEET in online mode.

The feasibility of conducting the exam has been taken into consideration when it was decided to conduct the exam once a year. According to some of the concerned people, the expense of conducting the examination twice a year could be an obvious challenge in the case that the test would be conducted in the pen and paper format and not in the computer-based format. However, experts are divided over this debate and the greater part of them is of the opinion that the decision taken by the Ministry is a balancing act so that further development can be implemented in the future, only after there is sufficient supporting infrastructure.