The cut-off for the medical entrance exam is expected to be lower this year. The minimum marks needed to pass the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2021 remain 50 percentile, however, to get admission to top colleges, the required marks might be lower this year as compared to last year, believe experts.
The percentile score is not marks obtained by students but are instead relative marks. The cut-off score depends upon a number of factors including the number of students who took the exam, total seats available, and the difficulty level of the exam. While the number of students applying for the exam was high this year with over 16 lakh, however, there has been an increase in the number of seats as well as the difficulty level has gone up.
“This year, the cutoff is expected to go low as the physics paper was a bit tough. so, for students belonging to the general category, a score between 530-540 could help to get admission in tier-II to colleges, but for making entry possible into the government medical colleges, one should score 580 or more," said Nitin Vijay, Founder & MD, Motion Education.
Md N.M. Habeeb, Head of NEET Wing, The Narayana Group too believes that the difficulty level of the exam will make the cut-off go lower than last year. “We are expecting the NEET cut-off to be slightly lower than last year. This is because the chemistry and physics papers were difficult compared to last year."
In 2020, the cut-off score for top colleges was 720-147 and in 2019 it was 701-134. This year, experts believe that for unreserved category students, the score can range from 715 - 130. For OBC candidates the cutoff could be 129-107 and for SC, ST candidates it can go around 129 - 100, and 104 to 98 for PH students, according to Habeeb.
This will also be the first year to have EWS and OBC reservations in medical college admissions. The central government had approved 27% reservations for candidates hailing from other backward class categories (OBC), and 10% reservations for students from the Economically Weaker Section (EWS). The reservation will be offered under the All India Quota (AIQ). This is in addition to the 15% reservation offered to SC and 7.5% to ST category students.
The central government also claims that during the past six years, MBBS seats in the country have increased by 56% from 54,348 seats in 2014 to 84,649 seats in 2020 and the number of PG seats have increased by 80% from 30,191 seats in 2014 to 54,275 seats in 2020. During the same period, 179 new medical colleges have been established and now the country has 558 medical colleges.
There is also a demand to cancel the NEET 2021 and hold the exam again. A group of students have filed a plea in Supreme Court citing the alleged cheating cases in the medical entrance exam. Over 16 lakh students had registered for the exam of which over 90% had appeared for it.