New Delhi: The National Testing Agency (NTA) Thursday said it wasn’t releasing admit cards for the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) on the scheduled date of 27 March but gave no indication of whether the exams, slated for 3 May, would be rescheduled.
The uncertainty has left many aspirants anxious and worried.
Many students have been preparing for NEET for the past two to three years, with some even taking a break after school. A number of them have been stuck at coaching hubs, such as Kota in Rajasthan, which prepare students for both the medical and engineering entrance exams.
Those who have returned home from the coaching hubs, due to the 21-day lockdown, say they are stuck without study material. All of them now want clarity on the exam date.
“All aspirants are worried because the NTA is not making any announcement. If they want to postpone NEET, they should just tell us and we will be mentally ready,” said Sucheta Mukherjee, from West Bengal, who will attempt NEET for the third this time this year. She has spent the last two years just preparing for the exam.
“We are already having issues coping up with the stress during a pandemic and on top of that, this uncertainty about our future,” she added. “Just like me, there are many students who have dropped two to three years to prepare for NEET. They deserve to know what’s in store for them.”
“I want NTA to postpone the exam because it is not possible for us to concentrate on studies and preparation this time. I hope they take a decision keeping in mind, the health and safety of over 15 lakh students,” said Samira Sheikh, a NEET aspirant from Ranchi.
“It is more difficult to be quarantined, stay away from family and study. We have literally been locked up in rooms for almost a year to study but this time is a little different,” said Animesh Sharma, who studies in Kota. “My parents back home in Delhi are worried about me and keep checking up on me. On top of that, my friends and I have to make sure that we stay safe in our hostels. It’s a difficult time for all of us.”
NEET scores are used to secure admission in both government and private medical colleges across the country. Foreign universities also take into account NEET scores for admissions. The results are usually out in June, after which admissions to the colleges begin. However, this year there is also no clarity on when the new session will begin.
Coaching centres resort to virtual classes
Coaching centres are now resorting to virtual means to connect with students due to the lockdown. Teachers have also been asked to remain in constant touch with the students to offer them emotional support and study-related guidance.
“We are trying to offer all the help to students through online classes. Their syllabus was already over but now they are completing their revision through online classes,” said Vinod Sharma, who works for Allen Institute in Kota. “Teachers are also helping them by being in touch over phone and video calls. We are asking students not to panic and unnecessarily stress about the date; we are telling them to be prepared for a 3 May test.”
R.K. Verma from Resonance Coaching Centre in Kota said, “We are asking students not to panic and keep in mind the 3 May test date and prepare accordingly. The institute is extending all the support it can to make sure students are safe and stress-free.”
But some students who returned home for holidays before the lockdown, are now without study material. “I had come home to celebrate Holi with my family and I am stuck here without my books and notes that are there in my hostel. Also the environment at home is not suitable to concentrate,” said Vindesh Kumar, a NEET aspirant from Delhi studying at Kota.
Other aspirants say that the syllabus hasn’t been completed and are worried they wont be able to finish online. “My coaching class has been closed since 14 March. We had to complete our chemistry syllabus but that is incomplete now. Our practice papers and revision classes have also been delayed. It’s a request to NTA to postpone the exam or atleast make some announcement,” said Ananya Dua, a NEET aspirant from MP in Kota.
Anish Singh, an aspirant from Durgapur in West Bengal, said, “I had come back home from Kota and joined a coaching centre here but everything is now closed. The institute is making us take online tests but online and offline tests are very different. If the exam is not postponed, how will we complete the syllabus… The situation is very grim.”