Will NExT Format Be Difficult for FMGs?


Aarushi Jain
Updated on Jan 09, 2023 03:43 PM IST

The NMC has introduced NExT as a single licentiate test for all Indian medical graduates. The test is intended to take the place of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Postgraduate (NEET PG) and the Foreign Medical Graduates Exam (FMGE).

Will NExT Format Be Difficult for FMGs?

The National Exit Test, known as NExT, will replace the National Eligibility Entrance Test for Postgraduates (NEET PG) and the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE). Foreign medical graduates as well as Indian medical graduates will be required to take the entrance exam in to practise medicine in India. It will be a joint examination for both grads. Furthermore, the National Exit Test or NExT will serve as a qualifying exam for final-year MBBS students who intend to pursue post-graduate studies in medical science. The entrance exam will be accepted by all medical schools, including AIIMS.

Also Read: Will the NExT Exam Provide a Uniform Metric to Assess the Quality of FMGs?

The NExT exam will be carried out in two stages. The Step 1 exam will be a theoretical examination, which will be held on a computer or online. It should be emphasised that the theory exam would be a centralised common all-India exam. The Step 2 will consist of a practical/clinical and viva voce examination encompassing seven clinical subjects/disciplines.

 The following is a breakdown of when the test will be held:

  • December 2nd Week: NExT Step 1

  • January 2nd Week: Step 1 results

  • February 2023-24: Compulsory internship period will last for a year

  • March: NExT Step 2

  • April: Step 2 results

  • May: The admission process into PG courses begins

  • June: The admission process ends

  • July: PG courses will begin

On December 28, the National Medical Commission, NMC, announced the draft guidelines for the National Exit Test, NExT exam. The draft has been made available for public comment, and the commission has also requested stakeholder recommendations. 

According to a senior faculty member at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, while the NExT exam would be difficult for Indian medical students, including those in private medical colleges with inadequate and not-so-good staff, it may represent an even larger difficulty for Foreign Medical Graduates or FMGs. Previously, the Foreign Medical Graduate Exam (FMGE) was designed specifically for students returning from Russia, China, Ukraine, and other countries. However, if the questions in NExT are based on Indian medical system standards, it may be difficult for them. If the pass rate for the FMGE was only approximately 10-15%, students with less exposure and poorer merit overseas are unlikely to pass the exam.

Furthermore, to be qualified for an internship in a country institution, FMGs must achieve at least 50% on the NExT exam. According to Professor Dr Somashekhar SP, Chairman and HOD of Surgical Oncology at MHEPL, this will standardise health treatment across the country. According to the faculty, the Step 1 NExT exam with its MCQ style is required for evaluating applicants in the PG programmes based on their ranks. As clinical case scenarios will be included in the exam format, it is meant to avoid rote learning.

Indian students had previously assumed that their final year MBBS would not count toward their PG specialisation because a separate NEET PG exam was given.

However, with NExT approaching, students will become more focused on their final year MBBS exam, which will also function as an admission exam for PG programmes. This, in turn, will undoubtedly increase doctor quality. Furthermore, the exam will be equivalent to the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) in terms of evaluating medical graduates' academic and practical skills. In other words, they are attempting to emulate what is happening in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other countries. The concept is derived from these countries, and it is also well-established. This NExT exam will augment and broaden students' knowledge.

Also Read: NMC Notice: Foreign MBBS Graduates to Get Registration Only After 2 Years of Internship

Last but not least, coaching is an unintended consequence of any uniformed entrance exam. According to experts, the demand for coaching arises solely because institutions fail to adequately teach the topics. The NExT exam will only test what students have learned during the four years of MBBS. And if they still need coaching, it shows the college failed. When we talk about coaching, students tend to overlook the quality of education in these institutes. These coaching institutes gain money by instilling dread in parents and kids.

Source: The Times of India

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