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NEXT (National Exit Test): Mandatory for MBBS Graduates, Exam Details Here

Shruti ChatterjeeUpdated On: July 22, 2022 10:48 am IST

NEXT exam has now been made mandatory for MBBS Graduates. In August 2019, the Lok Sabha passed the National Medical Commission Bill 2019, which states that MBBS Graduates in India will be required to sit for a national-level exit exam call National Exit Test. Read more below.

NEXT - National Exit Test for MBBS

In 2019, the Government of India passed the National Medical Commission Bill (NMC Bill 2019), wherein, the entire regulation of medical education and practice will undergo a complete overhaul. Currently, the Medical Council of India is the body responsible for regulating medical education practice. With the implementation of the NMC Bill, the MCI will be replaced by the National Medical Commission, once the Bill is passed in Rajya Sabha.

Among the changes that have been proposed under the National Medical Commission Bill 2019, all MBBS graduates will be required to sit for an MBBS exit exam, aptly named, the NEXT or National Exit Test. Here is all that you need to know about NEXT and its effect on medical education and practice.

NEXT - National Exit Test Latest Updates

According to the latest notification on Jun 17, 2022, the NEXT Exit Exam will commence in 2023 for the final year MBBS students. This online exam is set to replace the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) PG and will be implemented as an entrance exam for PG medical degree programs.

What is NEXT - National Exit Test: Exam Details for MBBS

As per the NMC Bill 2019, NEXT or National Exit Test will be a common exit exam conducted to promote meritorious medical students to practice medicine in their respective fields or even pursue higher education. As part of being an exit exam, NEXT will also be the common gateway to attain a licence to practice medicine across India.

One of the common issues witnesses in India comes from the fact that many illegal practices and unqualified doctors practise modern medicine in the nation. With the implementation of the examination, all MBBS students will be required to sit for the exit exam, clear the exam and gain their licence to practice medicine.

With the proposal in the last few phases of approval, it is inevitable that witness medical aspirants, especially MBBS aspirants, across India to be frightened by the changes that will be brought in once Bill is passed. However, the government claims that the changes will only promote the enhancement of the medical industry of India. NEXT is just one step among many to ensure improvement in the industry.

With the current draft of the National Medical Commission Bill 2019, the objective seems to be enhancing the quality of MBBS graduates across medical institutes in India. Through NEXT, the Centre’s goal is to combine both the MBBS exit exam and the MBBS licentiate exam into one Exit Test. This will qualify the MBBS graduates to both practice medicine across India and pursue higher education.

Three years from the implementation of the NMC Bill 2019, the Exit Test, NEXT, will be operational, thus replacing NEET-PG examination in the process as well. This decision had been made in one of the recent amendments of the Bill. The exit exam will be conducted at the MBBS level and may even consist entirely of MCQ-based exam pattern. However, one cannot assume that the subjective-type questions will be done away with, after the implementation of the exam.

It is important to note that the examination is still at the approval stage and changes can be made, as the Rajya Sabha is yet to pass the Bill. Therefore, the opinions stated in the article are purely based on the information currently available regarding the NMC Bill 2019.

NEXT Exam Highlights

The NEXT exam is to be conducted in two parts and here are the highlights of the exam that we have gathered so far:

  • Candidates need to attempt the NEXT 1 exam within 15 to 30 days of appearing for the final exam in their respective universities. 
  • Candidates who will be qualifying for the exam need to proceed with their internship for the next 10 months.
  • Candidates who do not manage to clear the exam need to retake NEXT 1 in the next academic year.
  • NEXT 1 syllabus will include all the topics from the five years of the MBBS syllabus. 
  • NEXT 1 will be a computer-based exam and the MCQ types of questions will appear in the exam.
  • Candidates who will be able to clear the first phase of the NEXT exam and complete their 10-month internship will be able to appear for NEXT 2.
  • The questions in the NEXT 2 exam will be prepared on the basis of the internship experience of students.

What is the take of the government on the matter of introducing the NEXT Exam?

An EXIT exam has been suggested by NITI Aayog and introduced in the draft of the National Medical Commission Bill. This new introduction of the exam has been done with the expectation of it helping as a method of finding quality certification among graduating doctors. However, in the draft bill, no separate exam is mentioned for foreign medical graduates. The concept of the NEXT exam has been conceived on the idea of it becoming a mechanism for outcome-based quality control rather than keeping the focus on the verification of the existing infrastructure. 

What is the role of the public when it comes to the introduction of the NEXT exam?

The Government has invited suggestions and feedback from the general public in respect of the draft Bill’s introduction. Any suggestions in regards to the amendment can be furnished to

Overview and Objectives of NEXT

Keeping in mind the statements made above, here are some of the objectives of NEXT exit ema for MBBS. We will also talk about the changes that will come under the new exit and licentiate exam which will become mandatory for MBBS graduates to clear, in order to be deemed as qualified doctors.

  • Through NEXT, the Centre plans to produce a more qualified and skilled batch of MBBS graduates in India. With the help of introducing a much deeper understanding of concepts and enhancing the skills with reference to problem-solving in the final MBBS students. A more practical aspect will be brought in through the examination as well.

  • Apart from being an exit test for MBBS students in India, NEXt will also cater to aspirants who completed their MBBS from abroad but wish to practice medicine in India. Earlier, such candidates were to sit for Foreign Medical Graduate Exam or commonly known as FMGE. With the implementation of the Bill, it is expected to see FMGE be replaced by NEXT as well.

  • Recent Amendments state that the examination will also be the common denominator for granting admissions to the postgraduate medical courses in India, subsequently replacing NEET-PG.

  • Along with being an entrance, licentiate and screening test, a common counselling process will also be conducted under NEXT for admissions to MBBS and PG medical courses in India.

Among some of the other changes that have been proposed with NEXT for MBBS graduates, it has also been proposed that MBBS graduates who clear the exam will be required to work for 3 years in a rural or tribal area. Further, those planning to pursue an MD/MS or any PG medical course following their MBBS degree, candidates will further be asked work for another 3 years in similar difficult areas, in the specialisation chosen by them.

What Are The Advantages and Disadvantages of NEXT?

With the implementation of the National Medical Commission, there are bound to be some pros and cons of the step. The major aim of the entire National Medical Commission Bill 2019 was to improve on the functions where the MCI lacked and most importantly reduce the corruption present under the Council. Therefore, the Centre has taken steps to not only reduce corruption but also streamline the entire process of regulating the medical industry. Here are some advantages and Disadvantages of NEXT.

Advantages of NEXT for MBBS

  • Increasing the Number of Qualified MBBS graduates:

With the use of one exit exam, medical colleges in India will be able to produce skilled and qualified MBBS graduates. As per statistics and report, India produces nearly 60,000 MBBS graduates every year. Which, even though seems to be a lot, the doctor to patient ratio still remains high. Moreover, there is a lack in the number of qualified and skilled doctors who do make a difference in society. By introducing one common exit exam for all MBBS graduates, the government will be able to regulate the quality of MBBS graduates.

  • Uniformity through One Exam

Adding to the point above, introducing one exit, licentiate and screening exam will allow only those graduates with the practical and theoretical skill to operate in day to conditions of India. However, the process of bringing in uniformity among MBBS graduates will take time.

  • Quality Enhancement of Medical Facilities

As part of the exit exam and overall requirement to be a doctor, and as mentioned above, each MBBS candidate will be required to have worked for 3 years in rural and tribal settings. Currently, the medical facilities available in rural and more remote areas of the country lack the necessary medical facilities. Through NEXT, it is possible to improve the conditions of the remote settings and enhance the health care facilities for each citizen of the country.

  • Removal of Unnecessary Paperwork for Foreign Students

Earlier, any foreign MBBS graduate who wished to pursue his/her career in India was required to sit for an MCI screening test, also known as FMGE, which has been known to include a sea of paperwork.

  • Build an International Recognition

Once the exit exam is operational, it is expected to see India follow the medical regulations and medical development as seen in international countries. One of the major objectives of NEXT and NMC Bill 2019, in general, is to enhance the overall medical industry in India. Thus, also helping India become a global competitor in terms of medical services offered.

Disadvantages of NEXT for MBBS

While one can sing praises of the new development in the field of medicine, each coin has two sides. In other words, the National Exit Test also encases a few disadvantages.

  • Rise of Expensive Coaching Centres:

As is the case for various national-level exams, especially in the field of Medicine and Engineering, a rise in innumerable coaching centres will be inevitable. For instance, there are thousands of coaching centres for JEE Mains. While on one hand, it offers students the opportunity to crack the difficult examinations. On the other hand, coaching centres are able to charge impractical and unfair coaching fees, which those who are interested in crack such exams, will avail the facility. Thus further exploitation of the students can be witnessed over the years.

  • Overall Increased Duration of Medical Education

As mentioned above in the objective and overview section of the article, MBBS and PG medical graduates will be asked to work 3 years in rural/tribal settings, thus increasing the overall duration of education in medicine. However, the bright side is that the decision has not been made final and changes to the same can be made before implementing the NMC Bill 2019.

  • Rushed Implementation:

While this may be a doubt more than a disadvantage, the proposal of implementing NEXT three years after the NMC Bill 2019 is approved, can still lead numerous loop-holes and faults in the implementation process which can negatively affect the objectives of the exam.

Will NEXT be Successful?

While the National Medical Commission Bill 2019 is still in the process of approval and sit at the Rajya Sabha for the same, it cannot be assured that the entire step will either fail or succeed. As per the promises that have been mentioned in the NMC Bill 2019, one can also hope that the implementation of the Bill is successful and is able to remove dearth and flaws of the Medical Council of India.

Being a standardised test, which will be conducted in medical colleges across India, it will be a task for the conducting body to regulate and ensure that no hiccups are witnessed. More importantly, that the exit exam is able to reach to the proposals and goals set under the NMC Bill 2019. As is the case with everything, the results through the process may seem insignificant. However, it is important to see whether the Bill is able to meet its goal and proposals, giving it the time it needs.

Nonetheless, one cannot ignore the doubts, worries and distrust that the stakeholders hold with regards to the implementation of the bill. In 2017, over 6 medical colleges in Malabar held protests against the NMC Bill 2019. Stakeholders claim that the implementation of the Bill is a sign of Government questioning its own protocols with regards to undergraduate teaching in medicine.

One can only assume and contemplate the effects of the changes, whether positive or negative, with regards to the National Medical Commission Bill 2019. What are your opinions on the changes proposed through NEXT and NMC Bill 2019?

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What is the mode of the NEXT exam, and what kind of questions will appear in the exam?

The NEXT exam will be conducted via online mode and the questions will be multiple choice based. 


Will the NEXT exam be a success?

The future after the introduction of the NEXT exam is still uncertain and there can be no assurance regarding the failure or success of the exam. As there are some disadvantages of the NEXT exam, we can only hope that they will be amended as per the need of the hour. 


Is internship compulsory for NEXT?

Yes, an internship phase of ten months is an important part of the NEXT exam and students will only be able to appear for an internship if they clear the NEXT 1 exam.


How many parts are there in the NEXT exam?

The NEXT exam is made of two parts, the first part is known as the NEXT 1 exam, where candidates are required to clear the exam and then move on to the phase of internship. NEXT 2 will be conducted after the completion of the internship.


What are some of the disadvantages of the NEXT exam for MBBS graduates?

Just like a coin has two sides, there are certain disadvantages to the NEXT exam such as the increase in the number of expensive coaching centres, an increase in the length of medical education, too rushed implementation, etc. 


Are there any advantages of the NEXT exam for MBBS graduates?

There are a number of advantages of the NEXT exam for MBBS graduates namely increasing the number of qualified MBBS graduates, enforcing uniformity through the help of one exam, enhancing the quality of medical facilities in the country, and easier method of appearing for the licence exam for foreign medical graduates, and building international recognition for the exam.

What is the objective of the NEXT exam?

There are many objectives of the NEXT exam, for example- the Centre plans to create a more qualified and proficient batch of MBBS graduates in the country. This exam will be a practical implementation of the problem-solving skills of MBBS graduates. This exam will also cater to the foreign medical aspirants' need to get a licence to practise medicine in India.

When was the NMC Bill introduced for the National Exit Test Exam?

The NMC Bill was introduced in 2019 which stated a common exit exam to be conducted for promoting meritorious students to practice medicines in their respective fields or opt for higher education. According to the bill, NEXT will also be deemed as the common gateway for getting a licence for practicing medicine in India.

Will the NEXT exam also replace FMGE?

Yes, the NEXT exam has been designed in such a way that it replaces three exams- The National Eligibility cum Entrance Exam for postgraduate admissions (NEET PG), the Recruitment exam for Central Health Services, and the Foreign Medical Graduate Exam (FMGE).


What is the NEXT exam?

The National Exit Test Exam has been proposed as a uniform exam that will be replacing the NEET PG exams for MBBS graduates. To put things simply, the NEXT exam will be conducted in place of the NEET PG exam for MBBS graduates.

What is the NEXT exam?

The National Exit Test Exam has been proposed as a uniform exam that will be replacing the NEET PG exams for MBBS graduates. To put things simply, the NEXT exam will be conducted in place of the NEET PG exam for MBBS graduates.

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