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NEXT (National Exit Test) Exam – Pros and Cons

The NEXT (National Exit Test) Exam is the brainchild of NITI Ayog and NMC.

The crux of inspiration is the following:

• Since the NEET PG exam is right after internship, a lot of students don’t emphasise on their internship and try to acquire clinical skills rather they emphasize more on the theory exam and therefore lack the core clinical skills required to make them proficient clinicians.

• There are two exams for international graduates – the MCI screening exam (FMGE) & then they have to write NEET PG again. So, having a singular exam for both the domestic and international graduates makes them capable on getting a higher infusion of doctors into the society. Essentially like the USMLE, which is given by both, the international graduates and the domestic graduates.

• Third point being that they wanted to change the exam landscape to a more clinical aspect rather than rot memorization of facts. Applied knowledge rather than bookish knowledge, essentially again tilting towards USMLE pattern of exam.

What’s the scheme for the NEXT (National Exit Test) Exam ?

NEXT is going to be a 2 part exam.

NEXT 1 will be right after final year which will be a MCQ exam in which all those who score 50% or above will be made eligible for internship.

Sounds like USMLE step CK.

Following the internship there will be NEXT 2 which will be an exam for evaluating clinical skills much similar to USMLE step CS.

In which all those who pass the exam will be given license to practise medicine.

The final merit list will be prepared on the basis of NEXT 1 Exam the MCQ exam which will be clinically oriented.

Based on the scores and cut-offs of that exam you will be alloted the college for PG & the branch of your preference.

The pattern of questions is supposed to be something like this :

1. Obstetrics and Gynecology – 120q

2. Medicine + Derma + Psychology – 120q

3. Paeds – 60q

4. Ophthalmology – 60q

5. ENT – 60q

6.  Surgery + Other + Anaesthesia – 120q

7. PSM – 10% of all the q.

With a total of 600 questions, 4+ for each correct response and 1- for each incorrect response and 0 for the unattended questions.

The PROS of NEXT Exam:

• Clinical orientation will help churning out clinically proficient clinicians.

• FMGE will benefit because now they don’t have to give a separate exam.

• Every student gets one extra free attempt because you can give NEXT 1 right after final year and then if you don’t get selected then you can give it again right after internship.

The CONS would be:

• The NEXT 1 Exam would be a three day exam with one major and one minor subject of entire MBBS syllabus being covered right after final year. This will certainly create a lot of burden on the students to not just finish off final year in time but to also revise everything they’ve ever read throughout their MBBS in a very less time.

• Earlier where if a student failed an exam in final year, he/she could give it again in 6months and join their batch 6 months later but now the people who fail would have to repeat a year.

• Since whether or not you get a license for practising after internship in now a subjective exam there’s always going to be a tinge of bias from the examiner side which could cost the students a lot of time and agony.

Anyone who’s given University professionals will tell you how even the slightest bias from the examiner’s side can cost you your marks.

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