Tamil Nadu’s NEET Candidates Secure Under 40 Per Cent; Just One Makes It To Top 50  Students check NEET medical entrance exam list at a school in New Delhi. (Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via GettyImages)

Tamil Nadu was lagging behind other states in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2018 performance, with just 39.56 per cent of students qualifying.

However, according to data released by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Monday, this is a 0.72 per cent improvement over the 2017 performance. As many as 1.14 lakh candidates from Tamil Nadu sat for NEET 2018, with 45,336 clearing the exam.

The overall pass percentage was much lower than other states such as Rajasthan (74 per cent), Delhi (74 per cent) Andhra Pradesh (73 per cent), Telangana (69 per cent), Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (60 per cent each). As many as 12.69 lakh candidates appeared for the test across India, of whom 7.14 lakh cleared it.

Keerthana K from PSBB KK Nagar, Chennai is the only student from Tamil Nadu to secure a rank in the top 50. She scored 676 out of 780 marks and secured all-India rank 12. She said coaching classes for competitive exams made a lot of difference to her preparation.

While there is no official data on how many government school students qualified, students who took the exam in Tamil said their chances of getting admission to a good medical college was very thin. K Deshika from Madurai, who scored 1125 in the Class 12 State Board examination, secured just 263 out of 720 in NEET. She said the Tamil technical terms used in the NEET paper were very different from the words used in her State Board textbook.

In 2017, NEET candidates were struggling with eleventh hour preparation and were caught up in legal battles between the state and Centre. But this year, the state assisted students by setting up free NEET coaching centres across Tamil Nadu, where there are 5,660 seats in 45 medical colleges.

However, the CBSE drew fire for not arranging for enough centres in the state, forcing a lot of students, especially from southern districts, to travel out of state to take the NEET.

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