The National Medical Commission (NMC) Act stipulates that the National Exit Test (NExT) will serve various purposes, including being a common qualifying final year MBBS exam, a licentiate exam for practicing modern medicine, a merit-based admission test for postgraduate courses, and a screening exam for foreign medical graduates seeking to practice in India.
Last year, the government extended the time limit for conducting the NExT exam for final year MBBS students until September 2024 by invoking the provisions of the NMC Act. According to officials, the NMC Act mandates the Commission to conduct a common final year undergraduate medical examination, NExT, as specified by regulations within three years of its implementation.
The Act was implemented in September 2020, and the timeline was extended last year. Although no decision has been made yet, sources suggest that the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, may conduct the test instead of the National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences (NBEMS).
Officials stated that conducting the NExT exam requires careful preparation, including determining the modalities, syllabus, type and format of the examination (analytical or multiple-choice), and the number of tests and necessary regulations. They also emphasized the need for students to be given sufficient time to prepare and suggested conducting mock tests before the main exam.
Officials noted that the significance of the NExT exam lies in the fact that it will be the same for all individuals, regardless of whether they were trained in India or elsewhere in the world, which will help address the issue of foreign medical graduates (FMGs) and mutual recognition. Currently, final year MBBS examinations are conducted by respective colleges, while the NEET-PG and FMGE exams are conducted by the NBE.