National Exit Test (NEXT) ; Latest Update

National Exit Test or NEXT is a qualifying and licentiate exam for MBBS students to practice Medicine across India.

Understanding the National Medical Commission:

In August 2019, Lok Sabha passed the National Medical Commission Bill 2019, which states that MBBS Graduates in India will be required to sit for a national-level exit exam called National Exit Test (NEXT).

The NMC Act of 2019 received the approval from the president on 8th August and was published on the same date. The Act states that the setting up of NMC in place of the Medical Council of India (MCI) shall be implemented.

MCI or medical Council of India is being dissolved and replaced by National Medical Commission under the NMC act of 2019 and within three years, NMC will be responsible for regulating the Medical Education and practice in India.All MBBS final year students are required to qualify the NEXT exam in order to practice medicine across India i.e, to become practitioners.

Once the Bill is passed in Rajya Sabha, NMC will replace the MCI and then, will be responsible for regulating Medical Education in India.

NMC is being brought up to wipe up the corruption tainted MCI.

National Exit Test (NEXT) exam details for MBBS students.

  1. It will be conducted in two parts. First exam will be an online computer based exam at the end of final year, before internship. If you do not pass the exam, you will not be allowed to do the internship.
  2. The exam part one will be a three day long exam in which there will be Medicine and allied sciences on day 1, Surgery and allied sciences on day 2 and Obstetrics and Gynaecology on day 3 of the exam covering the major chunk of the exam with 540 questions in total. the exam will also contain 10% questions on Basic and Applied sciences and 10% questions from Public and Preventive health sciences.
  3. It will be a licentiate exam for the MBBS students which will grant them the power to practice anywhere in the country.
  4. Recent additions in the act state that it will be a common entrance for Post Graduation Medical courses. By common, it means that it will be common for Indian Medical graduates as well as Foreign Medical Graduates. It means it will replace NEET PG exam at the same time.
  5. For MBBS graduates, it is important to note that, it is given in the act, that, a service of 3 years in the rural areas of the country after qualifying NEXT is mandatory. A similar scenario is there with the Post Graduates also who have pursued a specialization in a certain field. They also, will have to serve in difficult areas for 3 years after completion of their specialisation in their respective fields.

Why National Exit Test is needed?

1. One of the common issues witnesses in India comes from the fact that many illegal practices and unqualified doctors practice modern medicine in the nation.

Here are a few examples of unethical practice of Medicine in India:-

  • Ayurvedic graduates are serving in the modren hospitals, that too in ICUs, emergency rooms and where not and the unfortunate part is that there is no sign of emergency medicine in Ayurvedic syllabus.
  • Homeopathic doctors are treating heart patients with beta blockers, a part of modern medicine.
  • A person with no degree or qualification is practising Orthopaedics and complicating the cases which otherwise would not have been so serious.
  • Barbers are also treating surgical cases.
  • Sometimes, physiotherapists apply plasters and do closed reductions in patients of complicated fractures.

And, the worst part is that these people are not responsible to anyone. Once damge is incurred, patient is helpless and in pain with no one responsible for it.

2. Second reason is that there is no uniformity in the Medical Education system of the country. Every State has some of its own rules for admission to MBBS and Post Graduate courses which sometimes plays havoc with the fees of the courses. In such cases, fees are capped by the private institutes themselves which creates disparity among the candidates and they feel looted.

3. Third reason for bringing up of National Exit Test is that, By implementation of NEXT, quality doctors will be choosen by the system only and those who are not meritorious will be given next chance. By this process of granting licentiate, quality doctors will be coming into the community.

National Exit Test (NEXT) Objectives.

National Exit Test serves the following purposes:-

  1. It will serve as qualifying and licentiate exam for MBBS students to practice across the country.
  2. It will also serve as a screening test for Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) to allow them to practice in India. So, it will replace FMGE i.e, Foreign Medical Graduate Exam in which FMGs had to sit earlier.
  3. It will increase the quality of doctors produced by standardizing the level of expertise for the MBBS students and in this way it will also serve to motivate the students to aquire more skills in order to be qualified as a doctor.
  4. It will be acting as a post Graduate Medical Entrance Examination for admission to various post graduate MD and MS courses.

Advantages of National Exit Test (NEXT) for MBBS Students

  1. NEXT will bring uniformity in the Medical Education of the country. When all the doctors in the country would have gone through similar set of training and teaching and would have passed same qualifying exam, that is NEXT, uniformity in the system can be expected, though such a dream for the country will take time to come to reality.
  2. NEXT will produce a certain standard of Doctors which can make real difference in the society through their services. NEXT will definitely reduce the number of unqualified persons treating the patients.
  3. Foreign Medical Graduates will also undergo the same entrance examination as that of their home country candidates. This again will bring equality and uniformity among the Medical Graduates and improve their competitiveness and objective quality. Now, with NEXT, FMGs will have to qualify only single exam which will serve both as a screening test as well as qualifying test as well as common entrance test for Post Graduation Medical Courses like MD and MS. It means, it will reduce formalities for FMGs to a great extent and will make easy for them to practice in their home country.
  4. Quality and Quantity of infrastucture in the Medical Field and Health sector of the country might increase, because, as the number of doctors in the remote areas will increase, it is possible that the government improves infrastructure in those areas for the doctors to be fully functional there both at General Practitioner level and Speciality level of care.
  5. International Recognition for Indian doctors. Currently, the scenario is that a Specialised doctor from India has to work at half the salary as that of a doctor trained in America, Australia, UK or Canada. Why? Because India does not have a uniform qualifying exam which impacts its International recognition. NMC and NEXT might be helpful in building an International Recognition for Doctors as well as Medical Education System for the country.

Disdvantages of National Exit Test (NEXT) for MBBS Students

  1. Coaching Industry going expensive:- With the upcoming of new syllabus and ever new exam pattern, coaching institutes will see it as an opportunity to enroll the frightened students about the NEXT exam and their chances of qualifying it. Middle class students will again find it difficult to pay their college as well as superadded Institute fee of lakhs.
  2. A subjective method of qualifying the doctors:- The mode of NEXT exam for MBBS is going to be an objective cum subjective type which will include a MCQ paper and a practical examination and viva paper. This makes the students insecure about their performance in the exam and the marking technique because a fraction of a single mark can change the branch of speciality for a candidate and if such an examination is not fully objective, it will definitely create loopholes for wrong candidate awarded more marks as well as corruption and examiners favourite students might get some favour.
  3. Increased duration of Medical Education:-
  4. Medical Education is a very lengthy career in itself. It starts from those Metric days and takes almost 15 years to become a specialist. as it is given in the act that a compulsory service of 3 years in rural areas is to be given by a qualifying doctor, overall duration of becoming a specialist doctor will further increase. This is a sheer demotivation in the hearts of Medical Students.
  5. Loopholes in NEXT implementation:- Because the act is new and the commission is naive, the government’s machinery is not efficient and the examination not flawless, there are chances of failure of this commission in the current Indian Medical and healthcare scenario. Although, government has given 3 years for the implementation of the act, it can pass the circumstances too. Results are awaited.

What are the chances of NEXT being successful?

  • While the National Medical Commission Bill 2019 is still in the process of passing its various stages before it is implemented, it is still revolving in Sabha for approval, it cannot be assured that the entire step will either fail or succeed. Based on what is being stated in the Act, it promises to remove the corruption associated with MCI and value and standard to the Medical Education, but, again, nothing can be predicted and only test of time will tell its existence after it is landed down in the field.
  • Because it is a standardised test and is a basis for prestigious entrance into PG Medical courses and screening of FMGs as well as qualification, no stone should be left unturned by the body governing its implementation.
  • Whatever the situation be, it will definitely take time for showing the results at community level. So, enough time should be given before any conclusion is drawn out of the act.
  • Nonetheless, one cannot ignore the doubts, worries and distrust that the stakeholders hold with regards to the implementation of the bill. In 2017, over 6 medical colleges in Malabar held protests against the NMC Bill 2019. Stakeholders claim that the implementation of the Bill is a sign of Government questioning its own protocols with regards to undergraduate teaching in medicine.
  • One can only assume and contemplate the effects of the changes, whether positive or negative, with regards to the National Medical Commission Bill 2019.

National Exit Test (NEXT) regarding advice to Medical Students

  • No matter what the exam is going to be, it is always going to be an exam of medical subjects only, an exam of learning in a course of 4.5 years with one year of internship.
  • Since, NEXT is going to be conducted in two parts, the first part is going to come a year early, that is at the end of final year. So, idea here is to start preparing an year early which should be the first thing on the minds of the National Exit Test aspirants.
  • The exam part one will be a three day long exam in which there will be Medicine and allied sciences on day 1, Surgery and allied sciences on day 2 and Obstetrics and Gynaecology on day 3 of the exam covering the major chunk of the exam with 540 questions in total. the exam will also contain 10% questions on Basic and Applied sciences and 10% questions from Public and Preventive health sciences.
  • If you are a candidate for 2021, there is going to be NEET PG only. So, don’t divide your focus and concentrate fully on NEET PG preparation strategy to crack it in first attempt itself.
  • NMC Act is still lying in Rajya Sabha and NEXT is still a proposal only. It will be definite only the day it will be implemented. Untill then, focus on NEET PG and I wish you best of Luck.


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