For the first time, INI-CET to be conducted in two time slots. Here's why students are concerned

AIIMS Delhi, which conducts the exam, is being criticised by students for introducing last minute changes in the conduct of the exam and for cancellation of the counselling for the July 2022 session
AIIMS New Delhi | (Pic: Express)
AIIMS New Delhi | (Pic: Express)

Even as the case against the cancellation of the counselling for the July 2022 session of the Institute of National Importance-Combined Entrance Test (INI-CET) 2022 Counselling by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi is being heard by the Supreme Court, INI-CET aspirants found another curve ball thrown at them in the form of the admit cards for the January 2023 session.

The admit cards, which were released this week showed two time slots for the exam, which will be held on November 13. The morning shift is to be conducted from 9.00 am to 12.00 pm and the evening shift from 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm. The INI-CET exam so far has only been conducted in a single time slot and the sudden change in the procedure, without a prior warning, has left the students concerned.

No prior word?
"In the notice for the exam, only one time slot, that is from 9.00 am to 12.00 pm, was mentioned. They should have warned about this earlier. Now, since the exam will probably have two different question papers, the difficulty level might vary and this might lead to controversy later," says Sarthak Vats, an INI-CET candidate who will appear for the exam on November 13. Whether or not the difficulty level will vary is a question the students do not have any answer to. "It is possible that the pattern and difficulty level of the two papers stay the same and the questions are only framed differently. That is the uncertainty. They could have just allotted a single time slot, since this is happening for the first time and there was absolutely no prior word about it from AIIMS," claims another student.

The speculation on the difficulty level aside, students are also concerned about the allottment of the exam centres this time. "The management of this exam from AIIMS has been extremely chaotic. Many of my friends have been allotted exam centres that are far away," Vats states. Students also add that a few new exam centres have been introduced, which adds to the uncertainty for them. "These might look like minor changes, but they still took us by surprise. It was not expected," added another student, on the condition of anonymity.

The INI-CET counselling is for admissions into premier government medical institutes in the country such as AIIMS, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER, Pondicherry), Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER, Chandigarh), National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS, Bengaluru) and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST, Trivandrum).

The case against the cancellation of the counselling for the July 2022 session is being heard by the Supreme Court, with the next date of hearing set for November 17. Students have claimed that the last-minute cancellation of the counselling — after the mock counselling was conducted already, has left about 500 seats lying vacant in these premier institutes and threatens to overburden the current resident doctors as well.

"Students who secure good marks are focussed on the INI-CET exam and admission into these colleges guarantees them good stipends, and quality education as well. It is a concern for all of us that AIIMS Delhi is introducing such last-minute changes in the INI-CET exam. Such changes are not acceptable, but unfortunately, AIIMS Delhi is an independent body conducting the exam and is not under the control of any authority," observed Dr JA Jayalal, National President of the Indian Medical Association.

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