Are marks in NEET inversely proportional to success as a doctor?


NEET-The National Eligibility cum entrance test, a 3 hour exam, was taken by 21 lakh applicants in 2023 and the count continues to increase every passing year. It is conducted on a fixed date ,at a fixed time all over the country only once a year. The stakes are high and the competition is cutthroat as the number of seats available is disproportionately less as compared to the number of applicants. The ultimate goal is to get that government seat, which amounts to a throne of gold for lakhs of aspirants who dream to wear a white coat and hang a stethoscope around their neck.

But the exam is unforgiving, it does not care whether you’re a medicine enthusiast nor does it care if you’re particularly unwell that day. it doesn’t matter if you’ve spent 6 years or even just 6 months in preparing for the exam, but it is those 180 minutes which can make or break your future. One slight error could perhaps cost you your dream college or a second of getting distracted might perhaps force  you to take a drop year, which is another dreadful and tedious journey in itself. But yes many do crack the exam and get into their preferred colleges , but does this mean they’re going to be the best doctors out there? Only time will tell.

NEET does mimic the high pressure environment that a doctor might face during her/his daily practice and it also assesses the ability to remain calm during stressful situations. Moreover, the exam is successful in testing the basic knowledge that one should be thorough with before entering medical school. Good performance in NEET will help you get into one of the top colleges where you will have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the latest technology and interventions out there. The better the college , the better will be the crowd and this will keep you motivated to study as well as indulge in extracurricular activities. Also, studying in a government college ensures that you get enough patient exposure and learn about various diseases and their presentations.

On the other hand, the exam doesn’t test your empathy nor does it test communication skills which are in fact one of the most important traits of a good doctor, especially in the current climate. Furthermore, with cheating becoming rampant in examinations, the future of ethics in clinical practice seems to be unfathomable. But these are traits that can be learnt or unlearnt by making a conscious effort.

The objective and somewhat robotic pattern of the exam hides the diversity of the type of applicants giving the exam and thus we cannot use it to categorize individuals into good or bad budding doctors. Some are fortunate enough to have the means and time to prepare for the exam who eventually do well because of the intense training and spoon feeding provided by a vast collection of expensive coaching institutes . On the other hand, some work day and night just to make ends meet and along with that they need to work extra hard just to make some time for self study, making it hard for them to succeed despite their longing to become a doctor.

Becoming a good doctor takes years of practice and experience and cannot be predicted by a mere 3 hour MCQ exam. However, one shouldn’t underestimate the importance of doing well in examinations, whether it be NEET or any subjective examinations that we are required to give in medical colleges, as their importance lies in the fact that these examinations test our discipline, sincerity and interest in the field as well as clinical knowledge without which we’ll just be the quacks next door.

In conclusion, I feel that it is bizarre to think that a mere 3 hour exam tests your potential of becoming either a good or bad doctor. Success as a doctor is not dependent on your scores in NEET, but depends on the reason why you’re giving that exam. If you’re giving it to solely add a prefix to your name or earn money, then your future as a good doctor seems to be doubtful. On the other hand, if one wishes to genuinely help a fellow human being and relieve them of their pain and infirmity, neither a low nor a high score would matter eventually. The NEET exam is merely a tool to filter out competent students and their future as a good doctor lies in their own hands.



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About the author

I am an MBBS student at North DMC medical college & HRH ,Delhi. I am a passionate quizzer and a fan of Dr. House. Writing and travelling is something I wish to do more often.