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Can NEET Exam Be Manipulated? What We Know So Far Around 1500 students from six centres complained that they were not given the full time for completing the exam, because of various reasons including distribution of the wrong question paper, torn OMR sheets, technical glitches, and delay in distribution of the OMR sheets.

By Priyanka Tanwer

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Photo Curtesy: Wikki Commons

The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate) (NEET) (UG) was announced over a decade ago by central government replacing the all India pre-medical test across India for students seeking admission for both undergraduate.

The test is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) and it's the toughest admission exam in India for students wishing to pursue BDS and MBBS programmes at dental and medical academies in India which makes it obvious that it has strict guidelines and regulations.

However, with the recent controversy after the result of NEET (UG) 2024 was declared, the question arises whether this important test that holds the future of lakhs of students every year, is credible?

In latest, Supreme Court has issued notice to the centre and NTA, or National Testing Agency, over a petition seeking to cancel results of the NEET (UG) 2024 amid allegations of the paper leak.

"It is not that simple... that because you have done it (held the exam) it is sacrosanct," the court told the NTA, "Sanctity of (the examination) has been affected... so we need answers," it added.

The online registrations for NEET UG 2024 started on Feb 9, 2024 and were extended till March 16, 2024. However, all of a sudden, on April 9, NTA decided to re-open the online registrations for two days from April 9 to 10 due to 'Stake Holder's Requests'.

Around 1500 students from six centres complained that they were not given the full time for completing the exam, because of various reasons including distribution of the wrong question paper, torn OMR sheets, technical glitches, and delay in distribution of the OMR sheets.

After publication of results, it was noted that some students scored 718/719 out of 720, impossible with the existing evaluation pattern. It was also noticed that a high number of students scored full marks. The NTA later clarified that the odd marks were a result of granting grace marks as mandated by the court, and that in general it was an easy paper, so many students had scored full marks.

There were also reports of the NEET (UG) question paper being leaked before the exam.

Meanwhile, the NTA has decided a high-powered committee will analyse the grievances of 1,500 students who have already appeared for the NEET 2024 exam.

Meenakshi Kachroo Chatta, Senior Director & Regional Head, College Board – India, South & Central Asia said, "It is imperative to ensure that every assessment is conducted with the highest standards of security and fairness. Robust test security measures are essential in maintaining the credibility of exams, as these ensure that results accurately reflect test takers knowledge and abilities."

Speaking strongly about the entire scenario, Sumit Jain Partner at Unacademy, said that The fact that 67 learners secured a perfect score of 720/720, all claiming Rank 1, questions the admission criteria for top institutions like AIIMS Delhi.

"The recent NEET UG 2024 results show a series of unbelievable irregularities that raise questions about the integrity of the examination process. There is no clarity on how many students were given grace marks to compensate for lost time. Is it a pure coincidence that several students who secured rank 1 were in the same exam centre? Over 20 lakh learners who gave NEET deserve fairness and transparency, not uncertainty and doubt. The NTA should be accountable and provide answers. We call for a thorough investigation to address these concerns and uphold the trust and credibility of our education system," Jain added.

Mohit Kumar Tyagi, founder, and CEO, Competishun said that the application of the normalization formula for NEET presents notable disparities. Unlike CLAT, NEET encompasses distinct subjects—Physics, Chemistry, and Biology—where answering efficiency should ideally be calculated subject-wise. Additionally, the indiscriminate provision of grace marks based on time scale in NEET poses inherent issues. For instance, a 15-minute time loss could potentially translate to a substantial over 60 grace marks, drastically inflating a candidate's score from 660 to 720.

"The lack of subject-specific assessment and the indiscriminate allocation of grace marks in NEET's normalization process underscore the need for NTA to re-evaluate its approach. Transparency and fairness must be prioritized to uphold the integrity of the examination system and ensure equitable outcomes for all aspirants," Mohit added.

Meanwhile, Alakh Pandey, Co-founder, Physics Wallah said that this is the misfortune of our country that any paper conducted in this nation, has been leaked... many times, people even fear to name the impersonators.

"We need an explanation of the normalization criteria of NEET Results. And at how many centers was the normalization applied? Multiple theories have risen due to the current situation. All the students demand to know the truth," he wrote on X.

He has also filed a PIL with the Supreme Court regarding the NEET-UG 2024 exam controversy and sought a probe into the matter by an independent committee.

Priyanka Tanwer

Feature Writer

With eight years of experience covering various beats for the digital and print media, now covering electric vehicles and sustainability for Entrepreneur India, keeping a nose for innovation and new technology in this futuristic sector. You can reach me at tpriyanka@entrepreneurindia.com     
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