Medical aspirants Soyeb Aftab and Akanksha Singh created history by scoring a 'perfect 720' and emerging as the top two rank holders in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical students, results of which were declared on October 16, 2020.
Interestingly, while both the candidates scoring full marks, Akanksha Singh from Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar was ranked second in the list behind Aftab from Rourkela, Odisha.
While Singh was awarded the second rank under NEET's Tie-Breaking Policy that ranks students with same marks on the basis of four criteria - marks in Biology, Chemistry, number of incorrect answers and the candidate's age, internet was rife with several social media users raising question as to why was Aftab declared the topper despite both of them 'scoring 720 out of 720'.
Film director Vivek Agnihotri and author Shefali Vaidya also took to Twitter questioning why was Aftab ranked first and Singh second despite scoring the same marks. NEET ranks have not received the same amount of attention and scrutiny in the previous years. View archives here and here.
NEET Tie-Breaking Policy
The National Testing Agency (NTA) has four policy statements outlining how ranks are given in NEET examinations.
The first policy statement focuses on the marks that the student scores in Biology. From the 180 questions, 90 questions are related to Biology while 45 are from Physics and Chemistry respectively.
When two or more candidates have scored the same marks, candidates' scoring higher in Biology are given a higher rank. If the candidates have scored the same marks in Biology, their scores in Chemistry are compared. Candidates with a higher score in Chemistry are ranked higher.
Furthermore, if scores in Chemistry are same, the number of incorrect answers of the candidates are compared. The candidate who has fewer incorrect answers is awarded the higher rank.
If all - the scores and incorrect answers - match, the candidates' age is taken as a factor. The older student is ranked higher.
In this case, since both Aftab and Singh scored full marks, the other three parameters could not be compared. Thus, their ages were compared. As Aftab is 18 he was ranked first while Singh, who is 17, has been awarded the second rank, a National Testing Agency official told PTI. BOOM reached out to Aftab's father but his number was switched off.
It's noteworthy that this tie-breaking policy is only specific to NEET.
The Joint Entrance Examination for engineering aspirants does not take age into consideration for its tie-breaking for ranking. Instead, it gives the same rank if two or more candidates have the same score after a three-step tie breaking policy.
Candidates with higher positive marks are awarded the higher rank. If the positive marks are the same, candidate with higher marks in Mathematics is assigned the higher rank. If they score the same, the Physics marks are considered. If the score is still the same, the candidates are awarded the same rank.
The NEET 2020 was postponed twice and was finally held on September 13 amid several protests. The students from containment zones who had missed the exam were allowed to appear on October 14.
From the 13.66 lakh students who appeared for the exam, 7,71,500 qualified for the next steps.
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