The six students from the same Haryana centre, who scored full marks in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) earlier, took a retest on Sunday and said they found the exam more challenging than the previous iteration, with four of them who spoke to HT saying they were unsure if they will be able to repeat their perfect scores.

The cut off percentile for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test PG and NEET Super Speciality exams has been reduced by 15%, according to a Union health ministry statement.(Raj K Raj/HT file)

The six were part of a group that took the test at Bahadurgarh’s Hardayal Public School and their results, a perfect 720/720, became controversial since all of them were at the same centre – raising fears of the possible use of unfair means – and all had attempted a flawed question that earned them up to 140 extra points in grace marks.

Now catch your favourite game on Crickit. Anytime Anywhere. Find out how

NEET-UG: 17 candidates from Bihar, 30 from Gujarat debarred for malpractices

Sunday’s retest was held for all 1,563, who were awarded those grace marks following a direction from the Supreme Court.

One of the students, a resident of Jhajjar, who was among the six, expressed frustration over the exam’s increased difficulty. “The exam was tougher compared to previous years. The chemistry section was particularly challenging, and I could not finish it, leaving two questions unanswered, which will impact my overall percentage,” he said. He now expects his score to drop to around 650.

He described the situation as “one of those nightmares” where achieving a perfect score and securing a direct medical seat could potentially lead to a lower ranking due to the exam’s difficulty.

Another top scorer, also from Jhajjar, was uncertain about achieving a perfect score again as well. “I have performed well, but am not completely confident about scoring full marks. One of the major reasons was the tension and pressure that affected my performance and confidence,” she said. She added that she would be content with an overall score of 700.

A third top performer from Jhajjar said that he found the physics and biology questions particularly challenging.

Despite this, he remained optimistic about his performance. “I am not sure about my score yet, but I feel I did better than last time. Even without grace marks, I hope to be close to it,” he said.

A 17-year-old resident of Kheri Hosdarpur village, who previously scored 720/720, also expressed dissatisfaction with his performance.

“I am unsure about my score. Although I performed well, I anticipate a decrease due to the difficulty of the physics and chemistry sections,” he said, asking not to be named.

He added that he would consider taking a gap year to prepare again if necessary.

The students appeared for the retest at two different centres in Jhajjar. Officials reported that 312 students took the exam at DAV Police School and 182 at Kendriya Vidyalaya.

Family members revealed that the decision to retake the exam was imposed under the threat of losing grace marks.

CBI officers probing UGC-NET paper leak attacked in Bihar

The mother of a top performer highlighted the undue pressure on the young aspirants, saying, “Tough times have hit us, through no fault of our children.”

Parents accompanied their children to the exam centres, anxiously waiting outside. The atmosphere was tense, with heavy police deployment and extra staff monitoring the exam centres. Union education ministry officials said later in the day that nearly half of the 1,563 students did not appear for the retest and their old scores will be retained but without the grace marks. Those who did take the test will be scored based on their performance on Sunday.