Aspirants seek NEET re-examination citing flaws in the process

While the NTA has refused to budge, candidates cited specific concerns that they allege ‘severely compromises the fairness and integrity of the examination process’

Updated - June 07, 2024 08:24 am IST

Published - June 06, 2024 07:05 pm IST - New Delhi

The NEET results announced by NTA saw 67 students sharing rank one, including six from the same examination centre in Haryana. Image for representation purposes only. File

The NEET results announced by NTA saw 67 students sharing rank one, including six from the same examination centre in Haryana. Image for representation purposes only. File | Photo Credit: M. Muthuganesapandy

Citing widespread irregularities in how the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2024 for admission into medical colleges was conducted, aspirants on Thursday wrote to the National Testing Agency (NTA) and the Central government, requesting a re-examination. 

The issues that aspirants sought to address involved the alleged NEET paper leak incident in Bihar, alleged hidden grace marks, illogically high scores, an unexpected number of full scores, and very high cut-off scores.  Over 2,000 persons have signed the petition for re-examination. “We, the undersigned students and concerned citizens of India, are writing to bring to your immediate attention the serious irregularities and discrepancies observed in the recently conducted NEET examination. Our future and the integrity of the education system are at stake, and we cannot remain silent about these issues,” the letter stated. 

The NTA releases the filled Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) sheet, which is the student’s answer sheet, and the answer key, before the declaration of the results, providing students a fair idea of what their score is.

“Many students received different marks on their scorecards compared to their OMR sheets. These discrepancies were not due to grace marks, as these students were not from the centres where grace marks were purportedly given,” the letter stated. 

18-year-old Arshita Dev’s OMR sheet reflected that she received a score of 384, while her final results reflected that she received 308, a difference of 80 marks. “There is a discrepancy of ten marks between my score reflecting in the OMR sheet, which is 615, and results, which state I received 605. I mailed NTA regarding a justification but have received no respite,” another student, Sheikh Mohammed Shoaib, 21, said.

Candidates have cited specific concerns that warrant a re-examination. “It has been reported by the Patna police that the NEET paper was leaked at multiple locations. This severely compromises the fairness and integrity of the examination process,” the letter said. 

It further points out the allegedly hidden grace marks and “illogical” high scores. “Some students have scored 718 and 719 marks, which is statistically improbable. There has been no defined or exact calculation logic for the grace marks given to these students. No list has been shared as per given grace marks to students,” the candidates alleged. 

Also, the letter alleges that there has been an unexpected number of full scores and a very high cut-off. “A total of 67 students scored a perfect 720 out of 720, which is highly questionable and not digestible. This has never happened. Usually, only three to four students score perfect marks. Also, six-seven of these students, out of the 67 students, come from one just one centre in Haryana,” Anil Nagar, founder of Adda247, an online test prep company, which coaches students for competitive exams, said.  Students, too, pointed a finger at the concentration of perfect scores in one centre.

“I scored 648 marks, but my rank is 31029, which is thrice as compared to last year, and such inflation in rank was never seen in NEET,” aspirant Yash Pandey said. 

There are also instances of drastic score improvements, where students who initially secured less than 200 marks in the preliminary exams ended up scoring more than 600 marks in the final result, which has made students suspicious of the process. There are also discrepancies in the score.

Aspirants who appeared for NEET 2024 have also pointed out that the mid-term revision of syllabus added further confusion and unfairness to the examination process. These issues has caused immense stress to students. “We urge the NTA and the Indian Government to take immediate action to address these concerns,” the aspirants said.

“Specifically, we request a re-examination to ensure a fair and transparent evaluation process for all students. The future of India’s education system depends on the integrity and fairness of such crucial examinations. We trust that you will consider our plea with the seriousness it deserves and take swift action to rectify these issues,” the letter stated. 

While students have demanded a re-examination, the NTA in a statement has said that the integrity of the exam has not been compromised. However, it has also said that the NTA had registered cases against impersonators, where action against ‘unfair means cases’ has been taken according to the existing rules, including the cancellation of candidature and debarment from future exams held by the NTA. 

Over 23 lakh students appeared for NEET this year. The NTA received 13,373 challenges to the provisional answer key of one question in Physics. “Owing to differences in the old and new editions of NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) textbook, the subject experts held that two options be taken as correct in place of one option for the question,” the NTA has said.

Of 67 candidates who got 720/720 marks, 44 are on account of this revision in one answer key of Physics, and six are on account of compensatory marks for loss of time.

The NTA has not commented on students’ grievances of mismatch between OMR sheet scores and the final result score they received. 

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