National Testing Agency (NTA) officials termed this as an overwhelming response from medical aspirants during the pandemic. The response from the students was better than last year when NEET recorded a little over 75% attendance in Assam in the all-India medical entrance test held in mid-September 2020.
“In some of the centres in Guwahati, the attendance even touched 95% and this sent a strong message that the students are ready to move ahead in their career even under the threat of Covid-19,” an NTA official told TOI.
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The exam was held between 2 and 5 pm but students started arriving in exam centres from 11 am itself. There was great enthusiasm among students, but some skipped the test mainly due to lack of preparation. “It’s highly unlikely that some students decided not to appear in the test fearing virus infection. Anyway, five to 10% students remain absent in many entrance tests,” the official added.
Areef Ahmed, biology teacher at Miles Bronson Residential School, here, said most of their students were comfortable with the biology part of the paper. He, however, opined that the chemistry portion was moderate and the physics was ‘very tough’ for the students.
Arnab Mondal, who appeared for the exam from a centre here, said, “Except for physics, the rest of the papers were easy. I put in a lot of effort preparing for the test and now I am feeling happy I could answer most of the questions.”
In the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) combined competitive exam (CCE), however, only around 49% of the registered candidates turned up in the prelims held on Sunday. A total of 75,806 candidates were registered to appear in the exam from 392 centres. “Considering the Covid situation, we believe that the attendance was not very low,” said an APSC official.
The commission made arrangements of Covid tests at the examination centres. For the candidates, who were yet to be vaccinated, furnishing valid Covid-negative certificates was mandatory. APSC officials, however, said that there were no reports of Covid positive students appearing for the exam. In NEET, too, there were no reports of any Covid positive students though special arrangements were made for such cases.