Students admitted to the MBBS course in 2019 will be the first batch to take the National Exit Test (NExT), for which a mock test will be conducted on July 28.

Registration for the mock test will begin on June 28, according to information released by the National Medical Commission (NMC) on June 27 at a webinar organized for medical college faculty and final-year MBBS students across the country.

NExT will now be the medical licentiate exam and will replace both the Foreign Medical Graduates Exam (FMGE) and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test – Postgraduate (NEET-PG) and will be a two-step exam. Step 1 of NExT will be a computer-based examination based on multiple choice questions (MCQs) and Step 2 will be a practical or clinical examination. Both Step 1 and 2 will be held twice a year.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, will conduct NExT Step-1 in May and November. Students will be allowed to sit for Step 2 after the completion of their internship and the exam will be conducted in June and December.

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The NMC on Tuesday released detailed information about the schedule, pattern and modes of NExT exams which will be conducted for the first time in 2024.

Step 1 will have six subject papers and applied aspects of all other subjects of MBBS — including forensic medicine and toxicology and community medicine — will be mainstreamed into the relevant clinical subjects. In each paper, 10% of items will pertain to applied aspects of related subjects.

Step 2 will be a comprehensive practical or clinical examination, which will be conducted after completion of internship that evaluates competencies in clinical diagnosis, patient examination and clinical decision-making, practical and communication skills necessary for the practice of medicine. Seven subjects will be evaluated during this step. They include medicine, surgery, pediatrics, ophthalmology and orthopedics.

“The time schedule and modalities of NExT Step 2 shall be decided by the NMC and the respective authorised universities or institutions after completion of internship and prior to the admission process for the postgraduate medical courses of that year,” the NMC said.

Meanwhile, the NMC has said that only final-year students pursuing MBBS courses are eligible for mock or practice tests, aimed at familiarizing the prospective candidates with the computer-based test, software interface and process flow in the examination center.

Reacting to the latest update by the Commission, students and doctor’s associations have noted that more time should have been given to those who would be undertaking this exam for the first time. “India need not go the way medical exams are undertaken in Western countries and more time should have been given for those taking the test for the first time, at least a year’s time to prepare for the same. Besides this, there has to be more clarity on the nature of questions and patterns,’‘ said Rohan Krishnan, national chairman of the Federation of All India Medical Association.

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