Increase in cut off, toppers reflect NEET’s competitive nature; its integrity not compromised: NTA

09:14 AM Jun 07, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi, Jun 6 (PTI) The National Testing Agency (NTA) on Thursday clarified that the increase in cut off and number of toppers in the NEET-UG reflect the competitive nature of the exam and maintained that the test’s integrity has not been compromised.


The clarification came amid allegations of irregularities in medical entrance exam NEET (National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test) — conducted on May 5 at 4,750 centres in 571 cities, including 14 abroad — and inflation of marks.

“The increase in cutoff reflects the competitive nature of the examination and the higher performance standards achieved by the candidates this year,” a senior NTA official said.

“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. The increase in candidates naturally led to an increase in high scorers due to a larger pool of candidates,” the official added.

On the grace marks awarded to some students, the NTA said a few petitions were filed by the NEET-UG before the high courts of Punjab and Haryana, Delhi and Chhattisgarh raising concerns of loss of exam time during the conduct of the test at some exam centres.


“The concerns raised by the candidates through the writ petitions and representations about loss of examination time was ascertained and 1,563 candidates were compensated for the loss of time, and the revised marks of such candidates vary from -20 to 720 marks. Amongst these, the score of two candidates also happens to be 718 and 719 respectively due to compensatory marks,” the official added.

On analysing CCTV camera footage, it was ascertained that the integrity of the examination was not compromised, the official asserted.

Several aspirants of the medical entrance exam have alleged inflation of marks which led to a record 67 candidates bagging the top rank, including six from the same exam centre in Haryana.

Denying the allegations, the NTA said the changes made in NCERT textbooks and grace marks for losing time at the examination centres are some of the reasons behind the students scoring higher marks.

In a post on X, the Congress said, “After the NEET exam, now the NEET result is also in controversy. After the NEET results were declared, questions are being raised on six students from the same centre getting 720 out of 720 marks. Apart from this, many other irregularities related to the NEET exam have also come to light.”

“First due to paper leak and now due to result error, the future of lakhs of youth of the country is getting ruined. It is clear that this government cannot get any paper done without leaking it. Sir claims to stop wars in foreign countries but he is unable to even stop paper leaks in the country,” the party said, targeting the Narendra Modi dispensation.

Detailing the reason behind inflation of marks, the NTA said it received representations on the matter.

“Such cases and representations were considered by the NTA and the normalisation formula, which has been devised and adopted by the Supreme Court, vide its judgment dated 13.06.2018, was implemented to address the loss of time faced by the candidates of NEET (UG) 2024.”

“The loss of examination time was ascertained and such candidates were compensated with grace marks. So, there marks can be 718 or 719 also,” it said in a statement.

On allegations of unclear implementation of grace marks, the NTA official told PTI that the question paper was prepared using a new NCERT textbooks. However, some students had old NCERT textbooks.

“We received a representation on this issue as well due to which NTA had to assign five marks to all students who had marked one of the two options. Because of this reason, marks of a total of 44 students increased from 715 to 720, which resulted in an increased number of toppers,” the official said.

After several court cases and representations raising concerns over loss of time during exam were received, a committee was formed to look into the matter, the official said, adding that the committee went through everything and the loss of time was ascertained.

“Such candidates were compensated with grace marks. Therefore, the marks of students at some centres are high because it is likely they all benefitted from grace marks,” the official added.

According to experts, the mark inflation in NEET UG 2024 result is expected to make securing a spot in medical school this year more difficult. Some aspiring students have turned to online platforms to demand the cancellation of the results and a re-examination.

“Several students are raising some valid points. How come students with same sequence roll number scored the same marks. This is a serious issue.

“We don’t want such doctors to serve our country. This must be investigated,” said Anubha Shrivastava, a lawyer and president of India Wide Parents Association.

An aspirant took to X and said, “67 students scoring 720 out of 720 marks in the results released after the NEET exam paper leak raises suspicion. This is playing with the future of lakhs of candidates of the country, due to which there is anger among the students. The government should conduct a high-level investigation”.

Another X user Nitish Rajput said NTA awarded grace marks according to the court order but the students argue this sudden decision is unjust as the agency has not mentioned any methodology to award these ‘grace marks’.

“Calls for transparency in the process have only grown louder. The controversy for the NTA is brewing as lakhs of students demand re-examination citing lack of clarity in NTA’s explanations and have even pushed for the Supreme Court’s intervention. Grace marks given for lost exam time have raised concerns of fairness,” he added.

The NTA had on May 5 claimed that the distribution of wrong question papers at an exam centre in Rajasthan led to some candidates walking out with the papers. The agency had denied any leak of the question paper.

A day later, the NTA had reiterated that the reports claiming question paper leak in the medical entrance exam NEET-UG are “completely baseless and without any ground”, and every question paper has been accounted for.


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