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What is NEXT for NEET-PG? - The NMC Bill and the Next Steps
In August 2019, the National Medical Commission (NMC) bill was passed by the members of both Rajya and Lok Sabha, proposing some changes in the medical admission and examination governance system.
One of the provisions of the bill is to scrap NEET-PG and replace it with NEXT.
What is NEXT?
NEXT is a national level exit exam after MBBS that will standardize the quality of general medical professionals who graduate to clinical practice. It is also intended to serve as the national level PG entrance examination for MBBS graduates.
While this concept is similar to examinations in other countries (like the USMLE in the United States), it has a short implementation window of 3 years and a cloud of doubt hanging over it.
No matter the outcome of the bill, NEXT will not replace NEET-PG straight away. With any new test launch, a huge volume of work is required to roll out the new test, hence the inevitable delay between announcement and launch. Many issues need to be resolved before one exam can replace another.
With regard to NEXT specifically, test administrators would need to figure out issues such as:
- the subject strengths NEXT would analyze and rule out inherent bias toward certain disciplines
- a solution for medical graduates of previous years, NEET PG aspirants and how to allot provisions for them when NEXT is introduced
- how to test students in govt versus private colleges as university standards vary across the region
- how to fit in the FMGE (Foreign Medical Graduate Exam) into the concept of NEXT
While a board will be drawn up to contemplate answers and clear away the clouds of doubt, NEXT will initially need a trial period estimated at 2 years or pro-active simulation examinations to make the students ready for such a multi-level system change. This is completely normal in such a test change situation, and Kaplan has a wealth of experience in helping thousands of students through similar test changes around the world.
The impending possibility of such a major change may seem worrying, but should not cause current NEET-PG aspirants any undue stress. Experts anticipate that NEET-PG will continue to exist in its current form until NEXT takes its place. The concept of NEXT should not hinder you from preparing for NEET-PG, as questions and derivatives from NEET-PG, AIIMS, and defunct AIPG papers might resurface in NEXT examination. In addition, prior years’ NEET-PG examination material and online simulated exams will remain relevant and essential in helping medical students successfully prepare for NEXT.
It is also worth noting that current NEET-PG aspirants who wish to avoid the hubbub during NEXT implementation over the coming years, should plan to focus their efforts on NEET-PG 2020, as this will undoubtedly go ahead as planned.
Irrespective of NEET-PG, NEXT or USMLE, students need to gain quality medical knowledge and clinical skills. Aligned with the students’ efforts and to enhance preparedness, Kaplan Test Prep (the market leader of USMLE prep for IMGs) has introduced NEET-PG Q-bank, which is available for free for a limited time. Kaplan is interested in supporting all students of medicine in India, whether they intend to practice in India or abroad. The free NEET-PG Q-bank is one way Kaplan is contributing. Feel free to try it and let us know what you think!