‘Reduced’ syllabus a big factor for perfect NEET scores: NTA

The NTA says it had reduced the syllabus in 2024 from the previous year’s, as an expression of its concern for students

Updated - July 07, 2024 01:13 am IST

Published - July 06, 2024 09:14 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Members and supporters of Indian Youth Congress (IYC) during their protest at Jantar Mantar over the alleged rigging of the NEET UG exam in New Delhi. File.

Members and supporters of Indian Youth Congress (IYC) during their protest at Jantar Mantar over the alleged rigging of the NEET UG exam in New Delhi. File. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Sixty-one students scored a perfect 720/720 in the undergraduate National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-UG) 2024 due to a significant reduction in syllabus, the National Testing Agency (NTA) explained to the Supreme Court.

“The most prominent factor in 61 candidates scoring 720/720 is due to the reduction in the syllabus, which was down to enable candidates to focus on the core concepts and to alleviate pressure on students who faced challenges in completing their studies due to the pandemic in 2019-20,” the NTA said.

Also read | Conduct NEET-UG again in transparent manner: Kharge

The exam agency, which is in the eye of a storm over allegations of question paper leaks, impersonation and other illegalities committed during the NEET-UG 2024, said the high percentile may also be due to the increase in the number of candidates who wrote the uniform medical admission test this year.

“The number of candidates who appeared in 2023 was 20,38,596, while the number of candidates who appeared in 2024 increased to 23,33,297. Therefore, the mark interval is nominal and only due to an increase in the number of candidates,” NTA reasoned.

The exam agency said it had reduced the syllabus in 2024, compared to the previous year, as an expression of its concern for students.

“The syllabus was reduced by approximately 22-25% compared to last year, removing difficult and time-consuming chapters like P Block in Chemistry and conceptual chapters in Biology… The reduction significantly lessened the burden of studies on students, focusing on a more concise syllabus, which benefited the candidates in preparing for the examination effectively and comprehensively,” it submitted.

Besides, another reason for the high percentage in 2024 was the fact that the question papers were based on books “universally used and accessible to students across the country”.

“This strategy was implemented to ensure that all candidates, irrespective of their geographical or socio-economic backgrounds are given equal opportunity to succeed,” the NTA elaborated.

It said one of the main objectives was to discourage the growing dependency on coaching institutions.

“Therefore, the question papers in NEET-UG 2024 were balanced, ensuring accessibility for students from diverse backgrounds as an excessively difficult exam can disadvantage students in remote areas with limited resources,” the exam body elucidated.

NTA even noted how “several major newspapers” had rated the 2024 question papers between moderate and easy.

It rubbished allegations of students from certain choice exam centres scoring high marks as “completely unsubstantiated”.

“In this regard, the results of top 100 candidates were analysed and it has been reported that they are distributed across 95 centres located in 56 cities within 18 States/Union Territories of the country,” the NTA informed.

The exam said it viewed this “diverse distribution” of top scorers as proof of the “widespread participation and competitive spirit among students from different regions and educational backgrounds”.

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