Till 2016, the Tamil Nadu medical admissions for the Govt medical colleges and the govt quota seats in the private medical colleges in Tamil Nadu is fairly straightforward. The admissions were based on the 12th board marks. There was no entrance exam. Rankings were made on the basis of the final marks got in the science subjects reduced to the base of 200 marks. Centralised counseling was done and the students were allotted the choice of their college based on the ranking list.
Intense competition used to be there among the state board students itself, with the other board students (like CBSE) having little chance of coming top in the merit ranking list. The cut-off marks used to be very high and totally around 2250 seats used to be filled using this admission process (apart from the All India Quota (AIQ) seats, which were filled through AIPMT/NEET).
Now, with the introduction of NEET as the qualifying exam for the medical admissions, the situation is drastically changed. The admission will be based on NEET marks and its ranking. 12th board marks will not be considered for the admission. The syllabus for the NEET exam is prescribed by NCERT which is more familiar to the CBSE students than that of the state board students. This clearly puts the state board students at a disadvantage and the state CBSE students at a slightly advantageous position.
In addition to this, TN as a policy has done away with the entrance exams for the professional colleges admission (for both engineering and medical) from 2006 onwards. The number of state board students taking national level entrance exams such as AIPMT/NEET and JEE has been steadily declining. It has become an unwritten rule that the CBSE students prepare and write for national level entrance exams and the state board students just focus on board final exams.
Because of the emphasis on getting very high marks on the state board final exams, TN has witnessed a unique phenomenon where a certain number of schools specialise on this and has been admitting students on a large scale across the states.
Several schools in the Namakkal-Thirchengodu belt are famous for this and they have made this an industry by itself. Students who get high marks in 10th board marks are admitted, and for the next two years very intensive (read rote) learning is forced on them. Only important chapters in 11th std is taught and the for the rest of the time only the 12th portions. As a result student passing out from these schools score most of the marks, several students getting centum in all the science subjects. This ensures them admission in the professional colleges of their choice and finally everybody is happy.
Infact most of the seats in the govt colleges (both engg and medical) are cornered by them, affecting the rural students and students form other schools. This itself is an area of concern, but it is an different topic altogether.
So, in short, TN medical aspirants are worried about NEET because of the following reasons :
- Syllabus is different from that of state board
- Lack of experience in writing competitive entrance exams
- Methodology of learning (rote learning vs application/understanding based learning)