The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Postgraduate (NEET-PG) scheduled for April-May next year could be the last such examination as the admission to PG medical courses thereafter will be based on the results of the National Exit Test to be taken by final-year MBBS students, officials have said.
At a high-level held on Monday, the National Medical Commission (NMC) is learnt to have conveyed to the Union Health Ministry that it intends to conduct the National Exit Test (NExT) in December 2023, official sources said on Wednesday.
If held in December 2023, MBBS students of the 2019-2020 batch will have to appear for the exam. The results of the exam will also be used for admission to postgraduate medical courses from the 2024-2025 batch, they said.
According to the NMC Act, NExT will serve as a common qualifying final-year MBBS exam, a licentiate exam to practise modern medicine and for merit-based admission to postgraduate courses and a screening exam for foreign medical graduates who want to practice in India.
The government had invoked in September the relevant provisions of the NMC Act to extend the time limit for conducting NExT till September 2024.
According to the law, the commission had to conduct a common final-year undergraduate medical examination, NExT, as specified by regulations within three years of it coming into force.
The Act came into force in September 2020.
The sources said the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi may conduct the test instead of the National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences (NBEMS), but a decision on the matter is yet to be taken.
The NBEMS has been conducting the NEET-PG and NEET-Superspeciality so far in multiple choice question format.
Conducting NExT requires preparations such as working out modalities, syllabus, type and pattern of the exam, officials said, adding students will have to given adequate time to prepare for it.
Mock tests would need to be carried out before the main test.
The importance of NExT lies in the fact that it will be the same for everyone, whether trained in India or any part of the world, and hence it will solve the problem of foreign medical graduates and mutual recognition, officials said.