The National Eligibility Cumulative Admission Test (Undergraduate) or NEET-UG, one of the most difficult undergraduate entrance examinations, has grown in size, surpassing the 16-lakh registration mark for the first time. The number of students taking exams in Indian languages has also grown considerably in the previous five years, rising from 1.1 lakh in 2017 to 3.4 lakh in 2021.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) will administer the test on September 12, 2021. According to TOI’s analysis of 2021 registration data, the number of registrations has increased significantly in the previous five years, rising from 11.4 lakh in 2017 to 16.1 lakh in 2021. Between the pre-and post-pandemic periods, the number of applicants enrolling for the exam jumped by over a lakh.
NEET-UG is a qualifying entrance exam for admission to various medical colleges’ bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery (MBBS), Bachelor of dental surgery (BDS), Bachelor of Ayurveda, medicine and surgery (BAMS), Bachelor of Siddha Medicine and Surgery (BSMS), bachelor of Unani medicine and surgery (BUMS), and bachelor of homeopathic medicine and surgery (BHMS) and BSc (H) Nursing programs.
Women have dominated this field of study, and the number of female applicants has increased by 40.8 percent in the last five years, with more than 9 lakh candidates enrolling for the most recent edition of NEET-UG.
The test is given in 13 different languages, including 12 Indian languages. While the number of applicants taking the test in Hindi has more than quadrupled in the previous five years, rising from 1.2 lakh in 2017 to 2.3 lakh in 2021, the number of candidates taking the exam in other languages has gradually increased as well.
Aside from Hindi, Gujarati has almost 50,000 applicants, followed by Bengali with over 35,000 hopefuls and Tamil with about 20,000 candidates.
While the number of female applicants this year is over two lakhs greater than the number of male candidates, and the majority of states have a higher female to male ratio, there are six states with fewer female candidates: West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Assam. Kerala has the best female to male ratio, with 3.8 female applicants for every male candidate, followed by Goa (2.8). Six states had more than two lakh applicants, accounting for 53.4 percent of all contestants.