Since the inception of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) UG, 74 students managed to score a perfect 720 on 720. Of them, 91 per cent (that is 67 students) are from this year’s exam. A whopping 67 students scoring 100 per cent marks was one of the contentions raised by protestors, who alleged irregularities in the conduct of the examination.

Data also show that 2024 was the only year any student scored 719 or 718 marks. There have been allegations from various students and educators that it is impossible to score such marks in the exam and that the second highest score can only be 716.

After the issue escalated, the centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the decision to give grace marks to 1,563 NEET-UG, 2024 candidates has been cancelled and that they will be given the option to take a retest on June 23. According to the National Testing Agency, the government body that conducts the examination, compensatory marks were awarded to 1,563 students on the grounds of loss of time.

Exam made easier?

This year, a record 23.3 lakh students wrote NEET UG. Of them, 13.16 lakh managed to clear the exam. In line with the increase in the demand for the exam going up every year, more students have been clearing NEET UG. However, the pass percentage in the examination has been constant at around 56 per cent since 2019.

2019 was the year when the NTA began conducting the exam, which was earlier conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education.

Salem-based career consultant Jayaprakash Gandhi points out that this also means that the exam has become easier over the years, especially in 2023 and 2024. “The minimum qualifying mark for the exam has been going up and so is the number of students clearing NEET. This means the exam has got much easier,” he says.

For a student in the unreserved category to pass NEET, they have to be placed in the top 50th percentile. The minimum marks required to fall into this category vary every year. While it was 117 in 2022, it was 137 in 2023 and 164 in 2024. Despite this, the pass percentage in these three years was 56.28 per cent, 56.21 per cent and 56.41 per cent respectively.

Despite a record number of students passing the entrance examination, there still exists a demand-supply issue. Though 13.16 lakh students cleared the exam, India currently has only 1.08 lakh medical seats, according to the latest figures from the National Medical Council.