The sultry weather was no help for the parents waiting at Arya Central School, one of the venues for the first-ever National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) that was held on Sunday simultaneously in various centres across the country.

The common entrance test is for admission to MBBS and BDS courses in colleges across the country for the academic year 2013-14.

As the candidates fanned themselves furiously with pamphlets advertising entrance coaching centres that were being distributed, the toll of the final bell came as a relief.

‘Just okay’

The faces of the students streaming out, however, spelt no discernable emotion after the medical entrance test.

The oddly impassive faces matched their responses too, with some commenting that the exam went ‘just okay,’ with no markedly different pattern to stump them.

“It was not up to the expected level though,” said one of the candidates, Anirudh, who wished that at least biology, a subject he did not generally struggle with, had gone more smoothly. He had come from Kollam to attend the test and undergone a month of coaching right after finishing school.

Ann, who was schooled in Dublin, Ireland, looked more relieved that the string of tests was finally over.

Chemistry tougher

She found the biology paper relatively easier than physics and chemistry, complaining most about the latter which she described as her bane.

Most others felt the same, having found in biology their hope of raising the overall aggregate and physics the more challenging paper.

S. Latha, a parent from Kollam, said this first attempt of her daughter’s was more of an experience in taking the test and getting rid of the initial fear than qualifying for a top institute. “There are so many students who have come to write the exam after a year of coaching at Pala and with P.C. Thomas in Thrissur,” she said.

Ms. Latha admitted to being a bit concerned about the strenuous schedules they demanded and said she would consider enrolling her daughter at a training academy here in the city in case she did not get through this year.

The three-hour-long NEET was held at 36 centres in the city.

7.26 lakh students

Official sources said 7.26 lakh students attempted the test at 1,251 examination centres across the country, and Thiruvananthapuram accounted for 21,030 candidates.

The Medical Council of India and the Dental Council of India have entrusted the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) with conducting the NEET.