NExT exam

The regulations for National Exit (NExT) examination for medical graduates are being finalized and will be placed before India’s medical education regulator in a meeting next month, according to people familiar with the matter.

NExT will be a combined exam, which besides being the common qualifying final year undergraduate (MBBS) test, will act as the licentiate exam to practice modern medicine. It will also be a criterion for merit-based allocation of postgraduate seats in broad specialties and screen foreign medical graduates wanting to practice in India.

“The regulations are in the process of being finalized and will soon be placed before the National Medical Commission,” a government official said, requesting anonymity. “The meeting regarding this should happen sometime next month. The date to hold the test will also be deliberated upon in the meeting concerned.”

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The commission’s academic cell on Friday wrote to medical institutions to know the status regarding completion of the current batches of final MBBS courses to help finalise the dates for conducting the test

The National Medical Commission in December last year put draft regulations related to NExT in the public domain for comments. The objective of these rules is to bring in uniformity in the summative evaluation across the country with reference to the minimum common standards of education and training of a medical graduate.

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The exam is proposed to be conducted in two parts— NExT 1, which will be theoretical, and NExT 2 that will be practical, clinical and oral examination covering seven clinical subjects or disciplines.

A mock test is also planned before implementing the final exam to test the procedure and remove anxiety among students, officials said.

The proposal for a common exit test for medical graduates was floated by the National Medical Commission that came into force on September 25, 2020, after an act of Parliament called the National Medical Commission Act, 2019. The commission is spearheading the implementation.

The exam was supposed to start within three years from the commencement of the 2019 law that came into force in September 2020. However, the commission extended the time by a year through a gazette notification.

Detailed deliberations have been held among members and experts on the contours of the exam since the medical commission came into being.

Apart from the national eligibility- cum- entrance test (NEET), NExT will be applicable to institutes of national importance such as the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences in order to have a common standard for medical education in the country.

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“The importance of the NExt Exam lies in the fact that it will be the same for everyone whether trained in India or any part of the world and hence it will solve the problem of foreign medical graduates (FMGs) / Mutual recognition,” health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in a statement last year.

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