The recent development about how non-biology students can become doctors comes as good news, especially for students hoping to study medicine abroad. The change has occurred following the declaration made by the National Medical Commission (NMC) about the eligibility conditions for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
The main change is the addition of students, who are not majoring in biology, to the medical education programme. Students can now apply for NEET (UG) if they complete their 10+2 education with math, chemistry, and physics as their major subjects. The prerequisite is to pass an exam in biology or biotechnology as an extra subject at the 10+2 level from any recognised board, though.
On the other side, candidates will also be eligible to receive an eligibility certificate from the commission, which is an official record attesting to their eligibility for studying medicine abroad as an undergraduate.
Since many countries require Indian students to take the NEET exam in order to be qualified for admission to medical schools, the move is a great development. However, students who had not studied biology in school frequently found it challenging to meet the exam requirements. This obstacle will be removed by the new policy, enabling more students to pursue their aspirations of studying overseas to become doctors.
Prior to beginning their medical studies, students at many international medical schools are expected to have a solid background in biology. These students will have more possibilities accessible to them if they can complete this prerequisite through additional education after Class 12. Also, now that students know the requirements to meet for both their intended undergraduate medical programme and their selected international medical school, they can strategically plan their academic route.
In addition to that, this development provides relief for those who succumbed to peer pressure when choosing subjects and also offers a potential solution to the pressing issue of doctor shortages.
Vulnerable Stage of Decision Making
When students transition from Class 10 to Class 11, they are faced with the critical decision of choosing their subjects. Often, lack of proper guidance or succumbing to peer pressure leads them to select subjects based on their friends’ choices, only to regret it later. If you find yourself in this situation, having chosen Mathematics over biology, consider it a hidden opportunity. It will allow you to pursue your dream of becoming a doctor.
Addressing the Doctor Shortage Crisis
This decision to encourage more students to pursue medicine will play a crucial role in addressing the widespread shortage of doctors, a problem faced by nearly every country, including India. The report of the Association of American Medical Colleges has warned of a potential shortage of up to 124,000 physicians in the USA by 2034. It will open up opportunities for more individuals to enter the medical profession and contribute to combating the shortage of healthcare professionals.
In addition to this development, the implementation of NExT brings about significant changes in the medical field. Students of batch 2024 must prepare diligently to take NExT in February 2028.
Will NExT Replace NEET PG?
Not only will the National Exit Test (NExT) take the place of the NEET PG, but it will also replace the FMG, the test taken by foreign medical graduates. The goal of this one exam is to streamline and standardise medical education across the nation, which is a step in the right direction. Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya suggests that the NExT is notably less challenging compared to NEET. To qualify for a Post Graduate seat, students will need to successfully pass the NExT.
Understanding NExT and Pattern
The concept of the National Exit Test (NExT) was put forward by the National Medical Commission Bill 2019. It serves two purposes – It certifies MBBS students in their final year and grants healthcare professionals a licence to practice contemporary medicine. Essentially, the main concern is ensuring that postgraduate medical professionals in India receive fair and effective evaluations.
The first edition of the NExT exam, which will be available to MBBS students beginning in the class of 2024, will be administered in 2028, as revealed by the National Medical Commission.
The NExT exam structure comprises two essential steps. Firstly, NExT Step 1 is a Computer-Based Test (CBT) focusing on theory, encompassing six papers that include MBBS/Final MBBS subjects. Candidates have the liberty to attempt this stage multiple times. Secondly, NExT Step 2 is a practical examination covering seven clinical subjects. This phase occurs face-to-face and is conducted by respective health universities or institutes. Similar to Step 1, candidates can retake Step 2 until they achieve their desired outcome. Crucially, candidates must successfully clear both Step 1 and Step 2 within a ten-year period from starting the MBBS course. If you want to seek guidance on medical courses or any other programme abroad, you can contact overseas education consultants in Chandigarh.
The NMC’s decision is a positive move that will help the medical field overall and future generations of physicians in particular. It’s a step in the direction of an inclusive and adaptable educational system that will enable students to follow their passions and contribute significantly to society.