In a tale unfolding across the academic realm, the year 2021 bore witness to the riveting story of JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) Mains and NEET. This illustrious trial, of which there were four distinct phases, unfolded in the months of February, March, July, and August. The year 2022, however, witnessed a modified version of the same ordeal, with a mere two phases held in the months of June and July.

The staging of the exam in multiple phases presented the students with a tantalizing choice: they could brave both examinations, with only the superior performance considered.

Meanwhile, casting a commanding shadow amidst this dramatic tapestry of tests, the NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) examinations took center stage. Their momentous unfolding occurred on September 12, 2022, July 17, 2022, and May 7, 2023. It is indeed noteworthy that this distinguished event stands as one of the most colossal medical entrance examinations in the world.

With a staggering magnitude, throngs of over 1.5 million, 1.7 million, and an astounding 2 million students flocked to the examination halls in the years 2021, 2022, and 2023 respectively. Yet, a peculiar and mystifying disparity persists, shrouding these two momentous examinations of the nation in an aura of intrigue. So, why does such a visible discrepancy exist between these two cornerstone exams?

Only one option

EdexLive spoke to Dr Surbhi, an MBBS resident from Delhi. When asked about the importance of the exam says it is the only way one can pursue a medical degree. People who haven’t cleared NEET will be in trouble as NEET has deemed mandatory to pursue medicine even in foreign universities such as China, the USA etc. Therefore, she says, there is no other examination that is available as an alternative to this examination.

She says, “It does not matter whatever the student’s choice is, whether they want to pursue BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery), Unani or others, everyone has to appear for just the one exam and let it decide their fate.”

She shares an anecdote from her past days when she was preparing for the medical entrance exam. She said, “Previously the students had more options. I, once, was burning with fever, I went somehow but I didn’t have the pressure knowing I had options open. There were other examinations such as the state PMTs (Pre-Medical Tests), AIPMT (All India Pre-Medical Test), and JIPMER (Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research) that gave me the chance to selectively prepare and focus for the institutions I wanted to go to.”

also read:- NEET UG 2023 Exam Analysis: Subject Wise Analysis

She also states, “Even if a student wants to pursue a course other than MBBS, they too have to appear for an exam for just one time and I feel everything is at stake for them.” She talks about circumstantial mishaps such as a fatal accident or illness, students not only suffer but undergo bouts of mental illness as not just two or three months but a year lost.

Dropping out and repeating the same cycle again and again and with just one chance might mar the student from utilising their fullest potential as they might reach their saturation point despite being fully capable.

Dr Surbhi sympathises with the students’ plight. She supports the holding of the NEET exams twice a year. She asserts, “The Government can allow the State Government to conduct their own exams or they can bring changes in the age-eligibility criteria”.


Dr Surbhi also emphasises on the aspect that, CBSE has modified the syllabus in accordance with the raging pandemic in the years 2020 and 2021. There were altercations made for the convenience of the students but students had questioned the elimination, stating these chapters were crucial in understanding other concepts.

Not teaching these topics at school loosened their grasp of the topics that are needed to prepared for NEET. This led to a lot of confusion for students appearing for NEET in the year 2022. She says, “The takeover of NTA (National Testing Agency) over CBSE as the conducting body for these medical entrance examinations made it a confusing affair as the two organisations do things independently without any accord.”

Strengthen the foundation first

Contrary to the opinion stated above, Dr Lakshya Mittal, National Vice-President, UDFA (United Doctors Front Association) says the focus should not be on NEET being held twice a year, rather than on other issues that need to be resolved before colossal matters as such undertaken.

He asserts, “There are some children who feel that attempting the exam just one time might keep them more focused rather than always thinking that they have another chance for improvement. Sometimes it can also lead to biases if exams conducted twice.”

Another point that Dr Mittal points out is about the logistical and technological issues that are still lingering. He said, “If just one exam is not conducted properly then how can they undertake another one? The process of admission and counselling is so rigorous. Students have to wait two or three months for their counselling, after the result declaration.

These processes should be accelerated in order to make them more efficient since now everything conducted online. They (Government) can only go ahead with two-phase NEET when the foundation has strengthened already.”

Dr Mittal also says the centre usually takes at least 6 months to prepare for NEET-UG examinations. So conducting it in two phases would be time-consuming and might be an inefficient use of resources.

Exam can conducted twice

Jitendra, a BSc student and a NEET aspirant refutes the above statement, noting the medical exam conducted twice in 2016 in May and in July, that is in a span of two months. He says, “The registrations for NEET UG 2023 ended on April 15 and the exam was on May 7. I think it is possible for the NTA to conduct the exam twice a year.”

When asked if infrastructural developments should be given more emphasis, Dr Surbhi replied, “If we increase seats and the number of medical colleges, from where would we get enough teachers even if the seats increased, it is practically impossible to supervise these children properly and all of this would be time taking whereas the decision of conducting the exam twice a year would yield substantial results.”

Jayaprakash Gandhi, an education expert, too supports the proposition. “Why should it not conducted? There’s no harm!” he says. He further says that “It gives them a chance to correct themselves, like a pre-test where they can understand their weaker points.”

The increase in the number of suicides has led to this proposition that such young minds need to be nurtured and not let it get affected due to immense mental pressure where the question of their career fixated over just this examination where they get just one chance to show their worth. As Dr Surbhi points out the fallacy of the “One Nation, One Exam” theory may have shown a unified notion of a major examination yet it fails to foresee that it is the students who carry the immensity of the phrase where the competition is growing day by day and dreams and lives lost simultaneously due to a meagre notion.