India’s medical education regulator, National Medical Commissionis in the process of finalising the framework for the National Exit (NExT) examination, a combined test for medical graduates. According to reports, NMC will be presented with these regulations in an upcoming meeting, where the test date will also be decided.
The NExT exam will function as both the final year undergraduate qualifying exam and the licentiate exam for practising modern medicine. It will also be used to allocate postgraduate seats to MBBS students and evaluate international medical graduates who want to practice in India.
The draft regulations for NExT Exam were made available for public comments by the National Medical Commission in December 2022.
The NExT exam was supposed to start within three years since the NMC came into existence through the National Medical Commission Act 2019. However, the commission delayed the timeline by one year via gazette notification.
The goal is to provide consistency in the summative assessment process for medical graduates across the country, ensuring common standards of education and training. To facilitate scheduling, the commission’s academic unit recently contacted medical colleges to inquire about the status of their current batches of final MBBS courses. This data will be useful in finalising the exam dates.
The NExT exam will be divided into two parts— NExT 1, which will be a theoretical test, and NExT 2, which will involve practical, clinical and oral tests covering seven clinical subjects or disciplines. Officials are also planning a mock test to familiarise students with the procedure.
In addition to the existing national eligibility-cum-entrance test (NEET), NExT will be applicable to prestigious institutions such as the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). This initiative seeks to develop a unified standard for medical education across the country.