The National Exit Test proposed by the National Medical Commission is set to replace the FMGE and NEET PG exams in a bid to improve quality of doctors and medical education in India.
As per the newly amended NMC Bill, 2019, the cabinet has approved to replace NEET PG with The NEXT- National Exit Test. This exam will not only replace NEET PG but also the Final Year MBBS exam, along with the FMG Screening Exam for Foreign Medical Graduates who wish to practice medical in India.
This comes in the lieu of common demand by the students for a single practice exam. Before the amendment, Indian Medical students could easily intern as a practicing doctor in the hospitals but now they will have to take the NEXT exam for an internship, whereas Foreign Medical Graduates would have to take the test instead of the FMG Screening test. Therefore, NEXT becomes a common test for both Indian and Foreign Medical Graduates. It must be noted that the NEXT Exam will be conducted in two phases – NEXT 1 and NEXT 2 and it is proposed to be implemented after 3 years, that is, 2022, which means that the current medical batch would have to take the NEXT exam.
NEXT 1 is proposed to be conducted in March 2022. This exam will replace the Final Year Medical Exam and it will also be the qualifying exam for the internships. It would be conducted in a period of 3 days, 3 hours each. Everyday two exams will take place. The proposed schedule for NEXT 1 is
- Day 1 – Medicine and Allied (120 marks ) + Pediatrics ( 60 marks)
- Day 2 – Surgery and Allied (120 marks ) + ENT (60 marks )
- Day 3 – Obstetrician Gynecology and Allied (120 marks ) + Ophthalmology (60 marks )
The whole syllabus for the exams has not been revealed but the exam is said to be consisted of 10% Applied Basic Sciences and 10% Public or Preventive Sciences. The pattern of the exam is expected to change but nothing can be said whether it will be Multiple-Choice Questions or Subjective Question. Therefore, one has to focus on nothing but the concepts of the various fields of medicine. Upon passing NEXT 1 exam, the student will be eligible for an internship of 12 months and also for NEXT 2 exam.
NEXT 2 are proposed to be conducted for the first time in April 2023. It would the final exam after the student has interned as a practice doctor in a hospital to either continue practicing in India or to pursue MD or post-graduation in medicine.
The most important thing to note is that before NEXT exam, a student had 12 months to prepare for the entrance exam of MD, that is NEET PG, but now the students do not have these months as NEXT 1 will be their final year MBBS exam and not after their internship, which means the students would have to pre-pone their preparations for the exam.
A lot of different views regarding the NEXT exam are coming up, whereas students are happy about it, others think that it is an additional burden for the medical aspirants as NEXT might increase the number of years for a student to become a well-bred doctor as it might require the aspirant to practice minimum 3 year in remote and rural areas post graduation.
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