NEET Surprise: Students’ Ranks Soar After Second Attempt from Lesser-Known Centers

In a surprising trend among NEET aspirants, students who took the exam from less-known centers are seeing remarkable jumps in their ranks on their second attempt. Ashalata (name changed), for instance, first appeared for NEET in 2022 and secured a rank beyond 2 lakh. However, after taking the exam again in 2023 from a less prominent center, her rank skyrocketed to 8,000. She is currently studying at LTMG Sion Hospital in Mumbai. Similarly, another candidate who initially ranked beyond 10 lakh in 2022 improved drastically to around 13,000 in 2023, now pursuing MBBS in a government hospital in Mumbai.

This trend has raised eyebrows in medical academic circles, where such significant improvements in ranks are being viewed as perplexing. Many of these students opted to take their second attempt from obscure centers, such as small villages or towns not known for coaching hubs. Government sources are now compiling a list of such students who have excelled in their second attempts and are now enrolled in government medical colleges.

However, concerns have emerged regarding the integrity of some exam centers. Recently, a controversy erupted in Godhra, Gujarat, where students were allegedly instructed to leave some answers blank during NEET, which would later be filled in by the deputy superintendent using an answer key provided by coaching institutes. This revelation led to calls for a thorough investigation into how compromised centers are allocated to candidates.

Parents and counselors have also voiced alarm over reports of agents promising high ranks in exchange for exorbitant sums of money, with claims that they could influence exam center allocations. Despite assertions from the National Testing Agency (NTA) that exam centers are randomly generated by computers based on candidate preferences, questions persist about how students paying large sums end up in potentially compromised centers.

Amidst these concerns, calls have been made to enhance the security and fairness of the NEET exam process. Suggestions include tighter supervision by government officials, similar to election polling systems, where supervisors are assigned locations only the night before the exam. Additionally, there are proposals to introduce computer-based exams and stricter procedural controls, similar to those implemented in post-graduate medical entrance tests, to ensure greater integrity and fairness in the NEET undergraduate exam.

Experts emphasize the need for the NTA to thoroughly review and address any loopholes in the system to maintain the credibility of NEET. The controversy surrounding NEET 2024 underscores broader issues that require careful scrutiny and reform to uphold the integrity of medical entrance examinations in India.

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