‘Frustration, Sleeplessness Part Of Daily Routine Now’: NEET Aspirants
NTA is yet to announce the NEET 2021 exam date. For some aspirants, the lack of information on when the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET 2021) will be held is “more unsettling” than the fear of contracting COVID-19 while writing it.
For some aspirants, the lack of information on when the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET 2021) will be held is “more unsettling” than the fear of contracting COVID-19 while writing it. The only entrance test in the country for undergraduate medicine and allied courses, NEET-UG has had more than 15 lakh registered candidates every year since it was introduced in 2016 and covered all states in 2017. The NEET exam was delayed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the conducting body, National Testing Agency (NTA) is yet to announce the date for this year.
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"This infinite postponement is putting students under so much stress,” said Samraddhi, a student of Class 12, Kendriya Vidyalaya NER, Bareilly, who has now decided to stop wasting time “stressing about the announcement” and “invest that energy in preparing well for the exams”.
The NEET 2020 exam was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the conducting body, National Testing Agency (NTA) is yet to announce the NEET date for this year.
There is also uncertainty about how many times NEET 2021 will be held. During a webinar, Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said that the possibility of holding it more than once in a year is being explored. Later, the Education Ministry and NTA increased the number of attempts for JEE Main 2021 -- the major all-India entrance exam for undergraduate engineering programmes -- from two to four, leading many applicants to expect and demand an increase for NEET 2021. Neither the ministry nor the NTA has said made any official announcement on the date or the number of attempts yet.
Preparation During COVID-19
Things were already difficult for students hoping to write high-stakes entrance exams in 2021. Before the pandemic, students “were used to a system”, said a NEET aspirant. Now, even regular school work has become burdensome with online classes and self-study plans clashing on a daily basis. “Now, things have changed drastically. The classes are being held in an online mode. We are unable to perform practicals. Most of the time, we keep waiting for appropriate network connectivity to be able to join the classes. Some teachers teach in the morning, while some prefer teaching in the evening, and we are supposed to match their schedules. Ultimately, there's no time left for self-study. In such a scenario, sleeplessness and frustration have become a part of our daily routine," explained Priyanshu. Although most states have now reopened schools for senior classes, many continue to conduct online classes.
The pandemic has disrupted board exam schedules for 2021 as well. Several state boards, as well as the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), have announced board exams dates but there is still no word on NEET 2021.
“I am extremely stressed and anxious about exams and that affects my preparation,” said Himanshu, a Class 12 student. “I don’t know if I should be preparing for board exams, or focus more on NEET. In dealing with this stress, I often keep myself awake the whole night and that affects my efficiency.” He listed out all the factors contributing to her “exam anxiety” -- “Uncertainty about exam date, no access to coaching, parents’ expectations, performance pressure.”
“I agree that a little nervousness is good as it might push you to work hard in exams but if I am feeling stress excessively,” Himanshu added. “The uncertainty about the schedule is more unsettling than the fear of COVID-19 for NEET aspirants.”