The NEET attempts limit and age related rules remain a topic of confusion for many aspirants appearing in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2018. Numerous changes have been introduced to the NEET eligibility rules by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) as per the NEET 2018 application form and prospectus issued on February 8, 2018. Candidates must ensure they are familiar with the NEET attempts and age limit rules as notified in the NEET 2018 official information bulletin. Knowing the maximum attempts and age limit for NEET is important for all candidates, especially those who have appeared for NEET in the past and intend to do so again. Major changes have been made to the attempts and age rule as compared to NEET last year.
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A major controversy was generated in NEET 2017 when the CBSE introduced an upper age cap and maximum attempts limit in NEET without any warning. As per the 2017 NEET upper age and maximum attempts rule, only unreserved candidates below the age of 25 and reserved candidates below the age of 30 would be allowed to appear for NEET and that too only a maximum of three times.This rule was revoked by the Supreme Court in 2017 but has been made applicable for NEET 2018. However, the cap on the number of attempts, as per which all candidates would only be able to attempt NEET three times with NEET 2017 being considered as the first attempt, has been removed. Candidates can now apply for NEET as many times as permitted to them by the upper age limit criteria. Another major NEET 2018 eligibility controversy currently doing the rounds is regarding the NIOS/open school students. While they were allowed to appear for NEET until 2017, the MCI has decided to bar them from appearing in NEET from 2018 onwards. Read more details about NEET eligibility criteria in the FAQs given on this page
NEET is held annually as a single window All India level national level entrance examination which offers admissions to 90,000 MBBS and BDS seats across 700 odd medical and dental colleges across the country. From this year onwards, admissions to all AYUSH courses across all states will also be on the basis of NEET scores. As per a 2016 Supreme Court order, NEET was introduced to completely replace the erstwhile All India Pre Medical Test (AIPMT) from 2017 onwards. More than 12 lakh candidates are expected to appear in NEET 2018, including candidates appearing for the first time and those who have already appeared for NEET or AIPMT in the past. Aspirants preparing for NEET 2018 and wishing to familiarize themselves with details on the age limit and maximum number of attempts for NEET can do so by reading further details below.
NEET Attempts Limit
As stated in the official CBSE NEET website, "There is no cap for number of attempts". The CBSE has also cited the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's letter no. U.12023/16/2010-ME-II dated December 6, 2017 for this. So this is the official rule for NEET 2018, that there is no longer any cap on the number of attempts.
The three limit rule was introduced by the CBSE last year but no longer applies. Therefore, all candidates can appear for NEET as many times as the upper age limit rule (check next section) permits them.
NEET Upper age and Lower age limits
NEET will have an upper age limit of 25 years for Unreserved candidates and of 30 years for reserved category candidates. Candidates should not have attained the specified upper age as on the date of the exam. There is also a lower age limit rule as per which candidates should also complete 17 years of age by December 31, 2018. To make it clearer, the CBSE has also produced the following dates:
Candidates should be born on or between May 7, 1993 and January 1, 2002
Reserved (including PH/PwD)
Candidates should be born on or between May 7, 1988 and January 1, 2002
The MCI's decision to reintroduce an upper age limit in NEET was first revealed via a Gazette of India notification published on January 23, 2018.
FAQs on NEET Number of Attempts and Age Rules
Q. I have appeared for NEET in 2017. How many more times can I attempt the exam?
A. You can appear for NEET as many times as you wish, provided you stay within the upper age limit.
Q. I will be appearing for NEET for the first time in 2018. How many times can I attempt the exam?
A. As stated, there is no longer any limit on attempts in NEET. Candidates should just ensure they fulfill the upper age limit criteria.
Q. I have appeared for AIPMT in 2015 and NEET in 2016 and 2017. Do I have any attempts left?
A. Yes, as long as you haven't attained the age of 25 (30 if you are reserved category candidate), you can appear for NEET as many times as you wish.
Q. I had appeared for NEET only in 2016 but not in 2017. How many times can I appear for NEET in the future?
A. You can appear for NEET as many times as you are within the upper age limit.
Q. I am from a reserved category. Will I be able to appear for NEET more times than an Unreserved candidate?
A. Yes. You will be able to appear for NEET as many times as you wish until you attain the age of 30 years while Unreserved candidates can only appear till they are 25. Effectively, you have 5 more attempts.
Q. I am currently 16 years of age and am planning to appear for NEET 2018. Will I be eligible for admissions?
A. Yes. As long as your date if birth is before January 1, 2002 and you complete the age of 17 years by the time of MBBS and BDS admissions (tentatively around August 2018) or complete the same age by December 31, 2018, you will be eligible to apply.
Q. My Date of Birth is December 1, 2001. Am I eligible to apply for NEET 2018?
A. Yes. As per the NEET 2018 eligibility and age criteria, all candidates who are born on or before January 1, 2002, will be eligible to appear for NEET 2018 and will qualify for MBBS and BDS admissions.
Q. I am above 25 years of age and I had appeared for AIPMT 2015, NEET 2016 and NEET 2017. Will I be allowed to appear in NEET 2018?
A. As per the upper age limit criteria applicable for NEET 2018, you will not be eligible to apply unless you are a Reserved Category candidate born on or after May 7, 1988. Your previous attempts do not matter here, only your age does.
Q. I completed my Class 12 as a NIOS candidate. Am I eligible to apply?
A. No, as per the NEET 2018 prospectus and eligibility rules, candidates who have completed their Class 12 from NIOS or Open Schooling Boards will no longer be eligible to appear for NEET.
Q. What is the minimum basic qualification required for appearing in NEET 2018?
A. Code 02 of the NEET 2018 Qualifying exam codes is the most important of qualifying codes, and irrespective of whether candidates clear any of the other qualifying codes, they will be required to clear certain rules mentioned in Code 02 as well. As per Code 02:
Candidates must have appeared for and cleared their Higher/Senior Secondary Examination or the Indian School Certificate Examination after a period of 12 years of study in which the last two years comprise study of Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Bio-technology (which shall include practical tests in these subjects) and English with any other elective subject.
Candidates should also have undertaken two years of regular and continous study of Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Biotechnology and English across Classes 11 and 12. This means that a gap year is not permissible between Class 11 and Class 12. Candidates should pass English and also secure an aggregate of 50% (40% if reserved) in Physics, Chemistry and Biology in their Class 12 final exam.
Candidates who have passed their Class 12 from open schools or as private candidates shall not be eligible to appear for NEET. Furthermore, study of Biology/Bio-technology as an additional subject at/after 10+2 level also shall not be permissible. However, all candidates who have studied Biology with practicals for two years, ie. in both Classes 11 and 12, will be eligible to apply for NEET 2018.
The last two rules of Code 02 as mentioned above will be applicable to all candidates wishing to apply for NEET 2018.
NEET 2017 Upper Age Limit and Maximum Attempts Controversy
The confusion about the upper age limit and number of attempts in NEET began after the CBSE issued a notification last year and also mentioned in its official NEET 2017 prospectus that “The number of attempts which a candidate can avail at NEET-UG examination shall be limited to 3 (three) uniformly to all the candidates. The previous attempts in AIPMT/NEET will be counted against these 3 permissible attempts. The candidates who have already exhausted their allowed 3 attempts are not eligible to apply for NEET (UG) 2017”. The CBSE also set an upper age limit for Unreserved candidates at 25 years and Reserved candidates at 30 years stating that, “The upper age limit for NEET-UG is 25 years as on the date of examination with relaxation of 5 years for the candidates belonging to SC/ST/OBC category”.
The introduction of these rules led to tremendous controversy and led to an uproar among NEET aspirants. Within a week of introducing the NEET attempts rule, the MCI scrapped the previous attempts criteria. While clarifying on the revised eligibility, the MCI communicated to the MHFW that the attempts made by candidates for AIPMT/NEET prior to 2017 would not be counted. Later, the upper age limit was removed in March after a Supreme Court order on the same. The CBSE was forced to re-open the application form window twice for candidates deemed ineligible by these rules and the court case verdicts also led to a delay in the release of the NEET admit cards in May.
Now it seems that with the release of the NEET 2018 official bulletin, similar controversies are going to plague NEET this year as well. The upper age limit criteria has been reintroduced, NIOS students are no longer eligible to apply, and candidates who have taken a gap year between Class 11 and Class 12 will also not be eligible. It remains to be seen whether the CBSE or Supreme Court consider the tremendous disappointment experienced by students suddenly rendered ineligible by the NEET 2018 eligibility criteria and decide to revoke the same. Until then, the criteria explained above will stay in force.