Shift in qualifying exam
Earlier, aspirants had to appear for the MNS written test, which had questions on English, General Knowledge (GK) and Science. This was followed by a panel interview and a medical test. As per the new format, candidates will have to appear for five qualifying rounds.
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Explaining, Shishir Dixit, managing director, Centurion Defence Academy, Lucknow, says, “Candidates will have to qualify NEET, which will be followed by a Test of General Intelligence and General English (ToGIGE), which would be worth 80 marks. The remaining three rounds include an objective-type psychological assessment test (PAT), an interview and medical exam.”
PAT becomes essential because candidates opting for MNS need a specific mindset. “Apart from academics, personality assessment to judge the caliber of candidates who would potentially have the commissioned rank of a lieutenant in the Armed Forces is needed,” says Dixit.
Before the pandemic, the academic session for MNS started in June-July. In 2021, due to Covid, the session began in December. “NEET is scheduled to be held in July. Once results are declared, it will take time to hold the remaining rounds. Even this year, we are not expecting the academic session to begin before September,” says Dixit.
A retired nurse educator from the Armed Forces says that decision makers have kept the best interests of potential candidates in mind while making this call. “While NEET would check the academic qualifications of students, the remaining rounds would judge their mental and physical calibre to be able to cope with life in the Armed Forces,” says the educator. With NEET as the qualifier, the talent pool will also increase.
Dixit says that for the 220 seats in the six affiliated colleges offering the course, candidates appearing for MNS entrance exam in 2017-18 was around 40-50,000, which rose to one lakh in 2021. “Now, it is expected to go even further, which will ensure that the best talent comes forward,” he says.
Course for the MNS entrance exam was similar to standard XII curriculum. However, NEET requires us to prepare wider course material. Initially, it had been a shock to realise that our qualifying exam has changed. Instead of moping about it, most of us have started preparing in earnest so that we are able to clear the exam and achieve our aim.
— Tanu Dagar, an 18-year-old aspirant from Haryana