Be careful when you visit unknown doctors: someone you have trusted with your life might have gotten admission into a medical course with zero marks.
As many as 110 students who made it into MBBS through the NEET 2017 scored zero, or even negative marks, in physics and chemistry.
At least 400 scored in single digits, TOI reports.
So how are they even clearing the exam?
How did the NEET start?
The NEET (National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test) replaced the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) in 2013 and started determining admission into graduate/postgraduate medical courses in colleges under the Medical/Dental Council of India.
Initially, a general candidate needed 50% marks in individual subjects, or at least 360 out of 720, to make the cut.
A reserved-category candidate needed 40%, or a total of 288.
So what's happening now?
In 2016, NEET introduced the percentile system and dropped the minimum marks requirement.
Now, a general candidate simply needs to be in the 50th-percentile.
Percentile refers to what proportion of the population falls below that level. Someone securing 90th-percentile means 90% candidates scored lower.
So if 10 students scored 100/720, the highest marks, it would place them in the topmost-percentile, but with 13% marks.
So how did it affect marks?
As a result, last year, 1,990 students cleared the NEET for admission into MBBS with less than 150/720 (20.8%).
Of these, 530 had either single-digit marks, or zero, or even negative in physics or chemistry.
General cut-offs stood at a lowly 131 (18.3%) and reserved-category cut-offs at 107 (14.8%).
This was worse than 2016, when general and reserved category students needed 145 (20%) and 118 (16.4%) respectively.
But that wasn't the only impact
There were other repercussions too. Due to the low scores, as many as 6.1L out of 10.9L candidates cleared the NEET last year, leaving people fighting for seats.
TOI found 507 of the aforementioned 530 had taken admission in private colleges, with an average tuition fee of Rs. 17L per annum- a testament to how poor students are being left out.
Despite criticism, percentile method to stay for now
"Students are expected to get a minimum 40-50% to get into medicine. With this flawed criteria, we saw students with low scores getting into medical colleges," Dr Raj Bahadur, VC, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, had said.
Other eminent personalities too criticized it, but this criterion seems set to continue.
However, human life is too precious to be handed over to incapable professionals.