MBBS not enough to get ‘Dr.’ Tag as National Exit Test comes into play

Upon the lines of most of the countries in the world, the government of India, if past one or two years news are to be believed, was planning to introduce an exit test for MBBS students across the country under a single window. So from now onwards, in order to formally start practicing medicine, medical students after studying medicine and clearing exam after exam for five years, students might have to work a little extra to earn the ‘Doctor’ title prefixed before their name.

The Union health ministry has unveiled a draft for the Indian Medical council (Amendment) Bill 2016 stating that it is mandatory for students to pass National Exit Test (NEXT) to earn the title and to ‘create a level playing field in medical examination. The test is expected to create a level-playing field in medical education, increasingly becoming privatized.

In laymen terms, Exit Exam is a license to be called as Graduate and practice as Doctor. Proposed by the ministry in the presence of MCI and IMA, it is more of a licensing exam to be called as ‘GRADUATE’ even after one has completed the MBBS course. The exam will be even more crucial as students not passing the exit exam, could even be held back from post-graduate studies. It will substitute three tests, including NEET for postgraduate admissions, recruitment for central health services and the foreign graduate medical examination.

Students of both government and private colleges will have to appear for the test. It is expected that the test will create a level playing field in medical education.

Medical colleges will also be rated based on the marks students score in this test – How?

This test will be an outcome-based test too because the results of how students from individual colleges have performed in NEXT will be made public. If a college has over 90% students clearing the test, it will automatically act as an indicator. Students can make an informed choice while selecting colleges.

Another doctor who heads the state department of medical education added that with such a test in place, standardization will come into place. Students, who have to select colleges during admissions, will get a better idea from NEXT results. A professor said the inspection by authorities can just rate the infrastructure of a college and only the outcome of NEXT can be a tangible parameter to determine the quality of that college.

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