What is the National Exit Test(NExT)?

National Exit Test (NExT) is one of the common examinations conducted in the final year for undergraduate medical students, to grant the license for practising medicine in India. The license is required for the enrollment of State/National registration. It was introduced in the year 2019 by the National Medical Commission Bill, while NExT avails for the screening test that is conducted for the Foreign Medical Graduates.

Currently, foreign graduates are supposed to qualify for the screening test FMGE (Foreign Medical Graduate Examination) conducted by the Medical Council of India. The implementation for NExT can be expected in December 2021. According to the sources the modalities have been finalized for the NExT exam.

NExT Exam Updates

Recently, the National Medical Commission (NMC) released a draft regarding foreign medical graduates. As per the draft, the medical graduates have to pass the NExT exam within two years of completing the MBBS course in foreign countries. However, the FMGE will be replaced by the NExT exam.

The NExT exam was introduced to improve the health care system of our country. It is a mandatory test for the students wishing to practice medicine from any of the colleges located abroad though approved by the NMC/MCI. The marks scored in this examination will decide the PG admissions in Medical Colleges. Also, the NEET-PG might get replaced by the NExT exam as it is designed to test the skills of medical students.

NExT exam-Key Points

The purpose of this bill to implement the NExt exam is to have a single exit exam for all medical students. While the government implements this law, there shall be only one exam for the medical students completing their degree, PG entrance, license to practice medicine. Below is the table that provides the highlights of the exam.

Highlights-NExT exam
Name of the exam National Exit Test
Implement 2022
Board National Board of Examination
Mode of exam Offline
Type of question MCQ’s, LAQ’s, SAQ’s
Exam conducted for Final year degree, PG entrance for the medical, license to practice medicine.
Number of exam papers 2

National Exit Test (NExT)-Objectives

The objective of the NExT exam is to develop the health system of the country and to produce qualified doctors. Also, the government wants to have a single exam for all the students, the objective to conduct the exam is provided below,

  • To replace the FMGE exam
  • To filter the students that are not qualified enough
  • For the NEET PG entrance exam

The candidate will get their medical degree only by clearing this NExT exam, it is mandatory for foreign medical students as well. The students scoring high in the NExT exam will get admission for the PG course.

What are the advantages of the National Exit Test?

  • There will be single exam throughout the country
    Every state shall follow the same exam pattern to study medical, this brings a standard in medical education with a similar pattern of the exam. The country has top colleges in the state of Punjab, Delhi, and Karnataka that are considered best. The colleges shall have to upgrade the education standard as they have to compete with the foreign medical graduates.
  • Medical Education Quality
    Once the bill gets passed, there will be an enhancement in the new law, while all the states will follow the same education pattern which in turn enhances the country's development.
  • Increase the standard of Foreign Medical Graduates
    The foreign graduates wishing to pursue their career in India will get licensed only if they appear and clear the NExT exam.

NExT exam curriculum

Now let’s discuss the NExT exam curriculum which includes eligibility criteria, exam pattern, age limit, number of attempts, and the question paper pattern.

  • National Exit Test- Eligibility Criteria
    The candidate must have passed the basic medical degree with 50% aggregate from any university that is recognized by MCI and WHO. The applicants must fill the application form with the necessary details to appear for the examination.
  • National Exit Test exam pattern
    As per the reports, students will have to solve the multiple-choice questions along with short answers and long answers.
  • The exam consists of two parts, NExT-1 and NExT-2.
  • After the completion of the final year examination, students can take the NExT-1 exam.
  • The first part consists of MCQ-based questions.
  • The question paper consists of 540 Multiple choice questions
  • The NExt-2 will be conducted post the Internship program
  • While the other part will have a practical exam that is conducted in the university.
  • The score from NExT-1 will be valid only for two years.
National Exit Test exam pattern

NExT exam- Age Limit

The students aged below 30 years can take the exam, the same applies to NEET PG. However, there is no specified age rule to take up the exam, students completing the final degree can take the exam.

NExT-Number of attempts

There is no limited number of attempts to take the exam, as it is unlimited. But the students passing the NExT-1 shall take up the next exam within two years.

NExT exam-Question Paper Pattern

The students aspiring to start their practice must take the NExt exam, there are no other exceptions. Though it's the student's priority whether they wish to practice medicine or pursue a PG course, they must pass the NExT exam for both the priority. The syllabus consists of questions from the MBBS course. The National Exit Test-1 will be divided into three parts. There shall be 540 MCQs, while 60% would be problem-solving, 30% of analysis, and 10% revising.

Exam Day Subjects No. of Questions Duration(minute)
Day 1 Medical Allied 120 180
Paediatrics 60 90
Day 2 Surgery and Allied 120 180
ENT 60 90
Day 3 Obstetrics and Gynecology 120 180
Ophthalmology 60 90
Total 540 810

Advantages and Disadvantages of National Exit Test

The aim of introducing this exam was to reduce corruption in the field of medicine and to improve the functionality of MCI. The centre has taken steps to regulate the process of medical education across the country. The advantages and disadvantages of the National Exit Test exam are:

Advantages of the NExT exam:

  • There will be an increase in the number of qualified medical graduates
    As per statistics, India produces about 60K medical graduates every year, while there is a lack of skills for the students. By conducting the NExt exam the country will be able to produce qualified graduates to serve the country.
  • Uniform examination
    There shall be a single exit for the screening exam, licentiate, and further education throughout the states within the country.
  • Reduces Paperwork for foreign graduates
    The foreign graduates are supposed to attend the screening test conducted by MCI, which reduces the paperwork for foreign graduates.
  • Global Recognition
    Once the exam gets operational, India shall follow the same standards that of other foreign countries. This will help to compete with global services in the medical industry.

The disadvantage of the NExT exam

While this can bring development in the health centre of our country, it also has a few dis-advantage:

  • Expensive fee for Coaching
    As the exam is about to be implemented, the coaching centres shall charge expensive coaching fees that might be impractical to avail for the facility. It might get difficult for the students in the coming years.
  • Duration of Medical Education might get extended
    The graduates are asked to work for three years in rural and tribal places. However, the decision is yet to be finalized.
  • Loop-holes in the proposal
    The bill was proposed by NMC in the year 2019, the implementation took three years, and thereby, there may be loopholes in the functionality.

National Exit Test- Conclusion

The Bill passed by National Medical Commission 2019 is still in the stage to get its approval, it is tough to decide its implementation. There shall always be a hope that the National Exit Test (NExT) comes to function that helps to develop the country's standard. The proposal must meet the needs.

The NExT exam is drafted in such a way that it covers the syllabus of the FMGE exam and NEET-PG. The NExT exam shall test the theoretical and practical knowledge of the students. Students clearing the NExt-1 shall start with an internship program, and if one fails in the NExT-2 paper, they have to wait for another year to pass the NExT exam.