Easier Exam, Grace Marks, Surge in Registration led to Record Number of NEET UG Toppers: NTA

  • A total of 20.38 lakh students registered for the exam, out of which 11.45 lakh candidates qualified. 67 students have achieved an All India Rank (AIR) 1.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) said several factors are to be attributed to the unprecedented 67 students sharing the first All India Rank in NEET UG 2024.

According to NTA, an easier exam, a surge in registrations, a question with two correct answers, and grace marks due to a loss of examination time are some of the factors that can be attributed to the reasons behind students getting higher scores. A total of 20.38 lakh students registered for the NEET UG 2024 exam, of which 11.45 lakh candidates qualified.

“There was a question that had two right answers as per the change in the NCERT book. that two of the options given were marked correct by NCERT in their old and new books. Two options are declared correct from the original one answer in NEET UG 2024, and the marks of as many as 44 candidates got increased to 720 from 715,” said a senior NTA official.

After the results were announced, concern grew over the record number of toppers and candidates scoring 718 and 719 marks. Social media users have raised allegations over “massive irregularities” during the exams and they are puzzled about how with a total of 720 marks possible, the second highest score achievable is 716, but students got 718 and 719.

The agency explained that this has happened due to grace marks as candidates who reported losing time during the NEET UG 2024 exam have been given grace marks.

“NTA received few representations and court cases from the candidates of NEET (UG) 2024 raising concerns of loss of time during the conduct of the examination on May 5, 2024. Such cases/representations were considered by the NTA, and the normalisation formula, which has been devised and adopted by the Hon’ble Apex Court, vide its judgement dated June 13, 2018, was implemented to address the loss of time faced by the candidates of NEET (UG) 2024,” mentioned NTA in an official statement.

“ NTA has acknowledged giving grace marks due to delays in starting the exam at certain centers. Regardless of the number of marks awarded, even a single grace mark is highly questionable. If the exam started late, NTA should have rescheduled the exam instead of giving grace marks,” said Mohit Kumar Tyagi, Founder and CEO of Competishun.

NEET UG 2024 registrations saw an increase of 16.85 percent this year. A total of 24,06,079 candidates registered for the exam this year, while 20.59 lakh applied last year.

“The number of toppers has increased due to the increase in UG registration, and the fact that the paper was comparatively easier this year also played a role in the increased number of toppers,” the senior official said.

Refuting claims of the NEET UG paper leak, the NTA official said that a background check has also been done on the NEET UG 2024 toppers. The source also said that NEET toppers have been high scorers in Class 10 and Class 12.

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