Ensuring a Smooth and Hassle-Free Implementation of National Exit Test (NExT) exam: Feedback from a Pan-India online cross-sectional survey
Keywords:NExT Exam, India, MBBS, NEET PG
Background: The National Exit Test (NExT) exam is a proposed common entrance exam for both licensing to practice medicine and admission to postgraduate medical courses in India. Recently NMC published a draft for NExT Regulations to seek comments from the students, faculty and stakeholders. So, we aimed to assess the perception of MBBS students, graduates and medical faculty towards NExT Regulations to ensure a smooth and hassle-free implementation of NExT Exam.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire based study was conducted online during January 2023. The study questionnaire included various types of questions: yes/no/maybe, single best response, likert scale and open ended questions pertaining to the specific points about the NExT draft. The questions were designed under the main domains of: (1) Participant characteristics, (2) General acceptance about NExT, (3) Feedback for NExT Step 1, and (4) Feedback for NExT Step 2.
Results: Of the 1412 participants, 873 (61.8%) participants felt that there was ‘No Need’ to replace the conventional theory exam. 895 (64.4%) participants preferred to have a single paper exam. 1141 (80.8%) opined that there should be ‘Single best response type Multiple choice questions (MCQs)’ only. Of the 1412 participants, 559 (39.6%) opined that the score should be valid only for 1 year and 550 (39%) opined it to remain valid for 3 years. 1042 (73.8%) participants felt there was No need for NExT Step 2.
Though the implementation of NExT was planned with an intention to elevate the quality of medical education and bring a certain degree of uniformity across the nation, the policy level thought process did not fully percolate to the masses, especially students. The reasoning for the changes is not strongly supported by previous year data in the proposed draft. Therefore, there is a need to alleviate the anxiety among students about the NExT exam before implementing it. Based on our study we were able to give our suggestion to the proposed NExT draft.