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. With only around a month remaining for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to release the NEET 2018 application form, candidates must ensure they are familiar with the NEET attempts and age limit rules. 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. 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. Those who had already appeared for NEET or AIPMT three times in the past would not be allowed to appear for NEET 2017. After strong protests by student bodies across the country, the CBSE revoked the rule and made NEET 2017 the first attempt for all candidates. After a long legal battle, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of NEET 2017 aspirants and removed the upper age limit as well.
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. As per a 2016 Supreme Court order, the exam 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 per the existing rule which is expected to apply for NEET 2018 as well, a candidate can appear for NEET a maximum of three times. However, the following criteria will be applicable:
If a candidate has already appeared for NEET in 2017, then that would be counted as the candidate’s first attempt and then a candidate can only appear two more times.
If any aspirant is planning to appear for NEET for the first time in 2018, then the candidate can appear for NEET 2018 and a further two times (total three times).
From the above two criteria, we can conclude that anybody who fulfills the basic NEET eligibility criteria in terms of Class 12 marks and minimum age can apply for NEET 2018. Every candidate intending to appear for NEET 2018 has a maximum of two attempts left if they have appeared in NEET 2017 and a maximum of three attempts left if they have not appeared in NEET 2017.
NEET Upper age limit
If the NEET 2017 rule stands, there will be no upper age limit for NEET. The CBSE had tried to introduce an upper age limit of 25 years for unreserved candidates and of 30 years for reserved candidates in NEET 2017. This was later removed by the Supreme Court of India. Therefore, candidates who were above the age of 25 were also allowed to appear for NEET 2017. While the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW) have recently indicated that the same upper age limit rule might be reintroduced for NEET 2018, candidates should wait until the official notification regarding the same is released by the CBSE.
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. If you have appeared for NEET in 2017, then that will be counted as your first attempt. You will now be able to appear for NEET two more times.
Q. I will be appearing for NEET for the first time in 2018. How many times can I attempt the exam?
A. Appearance in NEET 2018 will be counted as your first attempt. You will be able to appear a further two times so you have a total of three attempts remaining.
Q. I have appeared for AIPMT in 2015 and NEET in 2016 and 2017. Do I have any attempts left?
A. All attempts made before 2017, whether it is for NEET 2016 or AIPMT 2015, will not be counted. If you have appeared in NEET 2017, then that will be counted as one attempt so you have a further two attempts remaining.
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. If you have not appeared in NEET 2017, then you have all of the three NEET attempts remaining.
Q.I am from a reserved category. Will I be able to appear for NEET more times than an Unreserved candidate?
A. No. The candidate’s category is not related to the number of NEET attempts. All candidates can only appear for NEET a maximum of three times irrespective of their category.
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 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. Yes, as per the current rules, there is no upper age limit for NEET. Unless an official notification is issued by the MCI or CBSE in this regard, candidates above age of 25 can appear. Also, attempts before 2017 do not count. So yes, even if you are above 25 years of age and have appeared for AIPMT 2015, NEET 2016 and NEET 2017, you can still appear for NEET two more times.
Q. Certain reports are saying that MCI is ending the number of maximum attempts and will allow general candidates to attempt the exam 9 times and reserved category candidates upto 14 times? Also, the upper age limit will be reintroduced. Is this true?
A. No. Until it is confirmed officially by the CBSE or the MCI, it is not true. A lot of fake and unsubstantiated news is generated around major exams like NEET. All candidates should take care they do not believe any news that appears online or in print unless it is backed by official sources. For now, the NEET number of attempts rule is still applicable. Also, while there are reports indicating that the age limit for NEET will be reintroduced, it is advised that candidates wait for official information.
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.
Accordingly, the Ministry communicated to the CBSE that, “The attempts made by candidates for AIPMT/NEET prior to 2017 should not be counted. Thus, appearance in NEET 2017 shall be counted as the first attempt for all candidates, irrespective of all previous attempts”. The CBSE was asked to issue an official notification that the revised eligibility criteria on the number of attempts is revoked which NEET 2018 candidates can see in the window below.
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.
Going by the above state of affairs, the expectation for NEET 2018 is that it will be counted as the second attempt for candidates who have already appeared in NEET 2017 and these candidates will be able to appear one more time. For NEET 2018 candidates who haven’t appeared in NEET 2017, the NEET 2018 attempt will be counted as the first one and they will be able to appear a further two times. Also, candidates above the age of 25 years should be allowed to apply but this will only be officially confirmed once the CBSE issues the official NEET 2018 notification