Thousands of students turned up at 11 centres in the city on Saturday to try their hand at the controversial National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for entry to medical and dental colleges in the country.

Though over 5,280 students were scheduled to write the test here, the attendance at the centres was considerably low as the examination has been shrouded in uncertainty since its conception. In Kendriya Vidyalaya II, Yekkur, only 195 out of the 300 expected candidates showed up. However, CBSE officials in the city remained tight-lipped over the total turnout.

While many students from Kerala told The Hindu that the examination was “easy as the NEET syllabus matched the State syllabus there”, a few others from Karnataka said it was challenging as the examination was broader than the Pre-University syllabus here. Reshma M., from Karwar who wrote the examination in Sharada Vidyalaya here, said while CET was a level playing field as it was based on PU syllabus, the CBSE-based NEET syllabus posed difficulty for those in the state.

For Dikshit U., from Udupi, the lack of clarity around the examination had shifted his attention away from NEET. It must be recalled that while NEET was envisaged as a single entrance examination for medical courses, objection to the concept was taken to the Supreme Court. The SC has allowed other entrance tests to be conducted; however, there is no verdict yet on which examination will take preference for seat allocation.

“It is irritating. We don’t know what to concentrate on. All examinations have different syllabi. In December they said NEET will be cancelled, and later that it will be conducted,” said Shiva Shankar, a student of Canara PU College.

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