LEAKED FUTURES: "Exam cancellations affect students globally, not just in India," says NEET-PG aspirant as she explores new opportunities

Question leaks and exam cancellations are not unique to India. A rampant phenomenon, how can students then breathe a sigh of relief amidst such uncertainties? Here's what our student has to say about it
Are exam cancellations endemic to India?
Are exam cancellations endemic to India?Source: EdexLive Desk)

The announcement for the National Eligibility and Entrance Test - Postgraduate (NEET-PG) was made yesterday, July 5 by the National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences (NBEMS). The examination which was earlier scheduled to take place on June 23, will now be held on August 11, deferred by 1.5 months.

While the flawed arrangements marred the reputation of one of the major medical examinations in India and worldwide, the NEET-UG examination has students speculating about the course that other medical examinations, such as the NEET-PG will take after the mishap.

One such aspirant Dr Chakraborty, who completed her MBBS from the Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore talks about her journey, navigating through the uncertainties whilst being a medical professional. Here is what she has to say

Let me convey my story from the purview of a medical student, who has completed her MBBS degree, working as a tutor at the Manipal Tata Medical College in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand and simultaneously preparing for more than one medical entrance.

I was in the last leg of my preparation the day before the NEET-PG examination, filled with anticipation and nervousness for the next day. Just a few hours to go and the headiness in me shall see an end. I received a phone call the night before the examination, intimating that the NEET-PG exam was cancelled. It was alarming to know that it was declared cancelled a few hours before the examination.

A mixture of emotions ran through my mind: frustration, exhaustion, anger and confusion. It took me a couple of days to truly process it. However, it is understandable why the precautionary measure was taken. It is better to be safe than sorry, but a question arises as to why was the call to cancel the examination not made sooner. It would have surely prevented me and many others from the emotional turmoil that the announcement brought.

Was this a good or a bad call?

While we may never have the answer to this question, it is bound to affect the scores of lots of aspirants including myself. The pace one maintains while preparing, mentally strengthening oneself before an examination, and the dedication invested into it certainly dissipates when you have to do it repetitively.

With the new dates out, I felt I may be able to find the motivation, yet again, as one says the path to achievement is never easy. I can say it truly isn't.

I may not be able to appear for the NEET-PG examination again, as I may have to travel for my United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), which was also, rescheduled.

The issue of paper leaks and rescheduling of examinations is not limited to just a place or a country and is certainly not restricted to just India. Such examinations affect students globally, and not just in India. 

Recently, several exam irregularities have come to light with the USMLE as well. My USMLE Step 3 exam was initiated on July 31 and August 1, 2024. But I received an email recently, that the test centre in New York was cancelled owing to operational failures.

On further inquiry, I received the information that there were some electrical issues encountered. One has to book the test centres almost two months in advance.

Few students who had booked the same test centre, although for a different date, received less than a week's notice. I was lucky enough to reschedule it for August 15 and 22.

Later, I received the news that another test centre in Oklahoma was cancelled as well.

An interesting fact about the exam is that before filling out the application, it is already mentioned in the disclaimer, that the exam is liable to get cancelled if any anomalies are found. This can happen even a few hours before the exam is about to be held. Although students may face heavy monetary losses with added emotional distress, they cannot protest against this.

While Indian medical exams are riddled with leaks, the USMLE is riddled with loopholes. While the questions that come for the exam are unavailable online or offline, to keep it discreet. The questions are sometimes sold by students during breaks which one may get during the arduous 8 to 9-hour long test where one can take intermittent 5-minute breaks after completing each question block. Although the questions are never similar, the type and pattern barely change.

Now I can only hope that such systems improve for the better and be made fair, granting equal opportunities to all. The Indian system, although has a long way to go to curb these leaks and set an example. For now, I honestly opine that this instability with examinations should end and the system should improve from now on.

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