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NEET is a single entrance test for admissions to more than 66,000 MBBS and BDS seats across the country. This was the last NEET conducted by CBSE. From next year, the National Testing Agency will hold the exam.
Helped by a drop in cutoff marks, as many as 7,14,298 students cleared the test this year, up from 6,11,739 in 2017. This means over one lakh more candidates will have a chance of getting an MBBS seat this year.
While Delhi has the highest number of candidates in the top 50, Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of students who qualified (76,778), followed by Kerala with 72,682 and Maharashtra with 70,184.
Kalpana, the topper, secured 691 marks out of 720. Delhi topper Himanshu Sharma, who got the overall third position, secured one mark less (690). Another Delhi boy, Aarosh Dhamija, was ranked fourth.
There was a significant increase of 16.5 percentage points in the number of candidates who registered for the test, with a majority of the aspirants (56%) being girls.
Just as in the previous editions, this year’s exam too was dogged with controversies, be it inconsistencies in translation of the question papers in regional languages or alleged errors in answer keys and mission question papers.
The exam was conducted in 13 languages and complaints were received from many states. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee wrote to Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar alleging “gross irregularities” in the NEET-UG 2018. She said students were not provided question papers in their language on time.
“Many were given photocopies of question papers which bore the same candidate code for multiple students, and in many cases, the photocopies of questions were illegible. It is also reported that many students were forced to write answers using English or Hindi question papers,” Banerjee said.
The Calcutta high court on May 30, 2018, asked the NEET authorities to reserve a seat for an examinee till a regular bench decides her petition challenging the error-ridden Bengali question paper. Apala Debnath had moved the HC alleging that the Bengali version of the NEET paper had 180 mistakes, though the English version had none.
Students also moved the Madras high court alleging that a uniform question paper was not given and that there was a vast difference between the one in English and Tamil. There were 14 errors in the answer keys as well, they alleged.
CBSE has provided all India rank to the candidates. Now admitting authorities will draw merit lists based on the all India rank for MBBS/BDS seats in their jurisdiction. The Directorate General of Health Services will conduct online counselling for the 15% all-India quota seats, which include deemed universities, central universities, seats of ESIC Medical College and AFMC, BHU and AMU.
Exam topper Kalpana Kumari said she was taken aback with the top rank, though she was expecting to figure in the top five. “My sister checked my result and told me that I had secured the top rank. I had to ask her to double-check. Being a top ranker has been a totally amazing experience,” said the Bihar girl.
Kalpana was in Delhi for the past few months, staying with relatives after her Bihar board exams. “I want to get a seat in Maulana Azad Medical College. My focus is to complete the five-year MBBS, though I have not thought about what I would like to do beyond that,” she told TOI.
Aarosh Dhamija, one of the Delhi toppers did not make much of the ranking secured by him. “Everyone till rank 1,100 gets the same college. In fact, there are hundreds of students competing for the same spot, and it’s a matter of luck who gets ranked first,” he told TOI. “My aim was primarily to get a seat in Delhi, and I hope once the counselling and other procedures are over, I manage to stay home,” he said.
Aarosh, a student of Ryan International School in Rohini, already knew his score before the results came out, but was not expecting the high rank. He had scored 91.2% in his Class 12 boards, with 98 out of 100 in Biology.
Other Delhi rankers include Aditya Gupta (rank 11) with score of 680, Abhishek Kumar (rank 17, 675), Amulya Gupta (rank 20, 675).