As one of the largest exams with about 24 lakh candidates appearing this year, conducting NEET UG exam is challenging, but certain measures can iron out the wrinkles, leading educationalists, education experts and those closely linked with a committee formed by Ministry of Education to address transparency and reform issues within the National Testing Agency told ET.

Their recommendations include holding computer-based tests, multiple shifts, multiple days, use of AI to ensure each question paper is unique, more involvement of medical colleges, higher discipline across the student community to adhere to fair testing.

“There is no country in the world where exams at such large scale are conducted. But we can look at a combination of computer-based tests with “any time and any centre” model, AI tools to change the questions, and a rich question bank to ensure a smooth testing process,” Manindra Agrawal, director, IIT Kanpur, told ET. IIT Kanpur is likely to conduct the JEE Advanced exam 2025.

The JEE examination process comprises two parts- JEE MAIN, and those who qualify from that pool take the next exam, JEE Advanced. JEE Advanced is one of the toughest entrance exams at the undergraduate level in the country where candidates compete to get a seat at the elite engineering colleges, including IITs.

“Digital is certainly the way to go for testing. Even with the use of AI one must exhaust all possibilities of error. Only once the almost (99.999%) error free stage is reached, can we rely on the testing design, not before that,” said an education expert who did not wish to be named.

In addition, the same person said in the last incident (NEET UG 2024), the weak links must be identified and worked on. “More involvement of stakeholders like students, medical colleges and parents is needed along with raising social awareness and ethical standards,” the person said.

The current design flaws in the evaluation system that led to 67 students scoring full marks also need to be relooked at, the person added.

“Digital first best practices of similar global testing agencies, and closer home of the JEE and CAT, need to be adopted to ensure fair and transparent conduct of examinations,” said Rohin Kapoor, partner, management consulting, BDO India (a professional services firm).

Online MCQs (multiple choice questions) tests with ML driven biometric checks, question set encryption, use of ethical hackers & independent organizations to identify loopholes in the system are some of the measures, Kapoor suggested.

Increased investment in infrastructure, both digital and physical, is another area of priority, said the experts.

NEET exam should be conducted twice a year, allowing up to perhaps six attempts in three years, said Alakh Pandey, founder, Physics Wallah.

“Developing and implementing robust Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is essential to secure all examination processes,” he said.

  • Published On Jun 27, 2024 at 07:11 AM IST

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