The National Exit Test, or NEXT, is a common examination conducted in the final year for undergraduate or MBBS students. Passing this exam allows undergraduate students to practise medicine in India, which is a prerequisite for applying to state medical councils for registration. This exam also allows students to apply for postgraduate examinations. The exam was introduced in the National Medical Commission Bill passed in 2019, and is expected to be implemented from December 2021.
The NEXT exam is meant to serve as a screening test and intends to educate a new generation of young doctors in the country. Once it is implemented, the NEXT exam will eliminate the need for separate examinations across the country and states for entry into postgraduate courses in medicine. This exam also applies to Indian nationals who have pursued their undergraduate degree in medicine abroad but wish to work in India.
Purpose of National Exit Test
The NEXT exam aims to develop a robust health system in the country that produces adequate numbers of well-trained doctors. Here is why the government wishes to have a single exam for all students wanting to practice or take admission in postgraduate courses:
- The National Exit Test eliminates the need for FMGE (Foreign Medical Graduate Exam).
- It will filter out the students who are not eligible, but still gives them multiple attempts to apply in subsequent years.
- It will allow students to join postgraduate courses.
- It will create a standardized level of medical education imparted all across the country
- It will equalize the path to MBBS practise and postgraduate education in the country
Eligibility Criteria for the National Exit Test
The NEXT examination is open to all medical students who fulfil the following criteria:
- Final year MBBS students who wish to pursue their postgraduate degree in medicine.
- MBBS graduates who have completed their education abroad and wish to practice in India.
NEXT Exam Pattern
The National Exit Test is set to be conducted in two parts – NEXT 1 and NEXT 2. The National Exit Test will comprise 19 subjects as per the new MCI syllabus, but the subject-wise question and mark distribution will be different from the existing NEET PG exam. In addition, it is interesting to note that the clinical subjects will carry more marks than the preclinical and paraclinical subjects.
NEXT 1 is for final year medical students. They can appear for this exam before their internship. They need to appear and qualify for this exam before their internship begins. Furthermore, students who do not clear the NEXT 1 exam cannot join the internship program.
The NEXT 1 exam is an online objective type exam. It is an MCQ-based exam. Earlier, students had to appear for the NEET PG exam to join a postgraduate course. But now, there is only one common exam for it i.e., the NEXT exam.
The exam score is valid for two to three years. Students’ marks in the NEXT 1 exam are considered for their overall rank during the PG counseling. So, in the NEXT 1 score can get you a seat in your choice of PG course after your MBBS.
For the National Exit Test 1 exam, questions may appear from the following segments:
- 60% will be problem-solving questions
- 30% include comprehension and analysis type of questions
- 10% recall
The number of questions, time and exam schedule are all pre-defined in the NMC Bill. The test is conducted over a total duration of 14.5 hours spread across three days. A total of 540 questions of MCQ type will be given. The schedule for the exam is for 3 hours pre-lunch and 1.5 hours post-lunch every day. Subjects that students need to be prepared with for the National Exit Test 1 exam include: Medical Allied, Paediatrics, Surgery & Allied, ENT, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Ophthalmology.
Every medical student needs to register with their state councils to practise as a registered doctor. While this was as easy as going to the council office and submitting your educational qualifications, the NMC Bill 2019 made this a bit difficult for students.
After passing your internship, every medical graduate must appear for the NEXT 2 exam, also called the Prof 4 Part 2 exam. This exam is a pass or fail kind of exam, testing the young medicos on their practical skills. The score of this exam does not contribute to the score for applying to PG seats. Every student has unlimited attempts at the NEXT 2 exams. In a nutshell, to practice as a doctor, after an internship or PG course, every medical student needs to pass the NEXT 2 exam. So, after you pass your National Exit Test 2 exam, you will get a license to practise in India.
Like any new competitive exam, the National Exit Test may create some apprehension in students’ minds in their final year of medical school, freshly passed graduates and those vying for seats in postgraduate courses. Whether this exam will prove to be a game-changer in medical education in India is yet to be seen.
Find a large number of NEET PG/NEXT exam mock tests right here on e-Gurukul to ace the test next year and fast forward your medical career!