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NEET Eligibility for Open School Students: A Guide

The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is a highly competitive examination in India that determines the eligibility of students for admission to undergraduate medical courses. However, there has been confusion regarding the eligibility of open school students, including those from the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), to appear for the NEET exam. In this article, we will delve into the topic of NEET eligibility for open-school students and provide a comprehensive guide.

NEET and its Importance

NEET is an all-India entrance examination conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for students aspiring to pursue undergraduate medical (MBBS) and dental (BDS) courses in India. The exam serves as a single-window process for admissions to various government and private medical institutions across the country.

The History of NEET Eligibility for Open School Students

NEET Eligibility for open schooling students
In 2017, the Medical Council of India (MCI) passed an official document stating that NIOS or open schooling board students would be ineligible to appear for the NEET exam. This decision shocked many students who were already pursuing medical courses in college.

Changes in Eligibility: MCI's Decision and the Subsequent Verdict

Following the MCI’s decision, several students filed a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking relief. In 2018, the court ruled in favor of the open schooling board students and NIOS students, allowing them to appear for the NEET exam. This verdict brought a sigh of relief to many aspiring medical students who were previously deemed ineligible.

Current NEET Eligibility for Open School Students

As of now, open-school students, including those from NIOS, are eligible to give the NEET exam. Additionally, students with an additional biology subject are also permitted to sit for the exam. To appear for NEET 2024, candidates must meet the following criteria:
  1. Age Criteria: The minimum age limit is 17 years as of December 31 of the year of admission for students belonging to all categories.
  2. There is no upper age limit for candidates appearing for NEET, as decided in the fourth NMC meeting held on October 21, 2021.
  3. Aggregate Marks: General Category – 50% (Physically Handicapped, PH – 45%); OBC/SC/ST – 40% (PH – 40%).
  4. Number of Subjects: Physics, Chemistry, and Biology (Mathematics is not considered).
  5. Number of Attempts: There is no attempt limit.
  6. Year of Passing: Candidates appearing for their board exams in 2024 and those who have appeared for Class 12 exams and are taking an improvement exam are eligible.

NEET 2024 Eligibility Criteria for State Quota

NEET Eligibility for open students
Around 85% of MBBS/BDS seats are reserved for state quota counseling, while the remaining 15% are allotted through All India Counselling. To be eligible for state quota seats, candidates must:
  1. Be a resident of the respective state.
  2. Have proper proof of residency.
  3. Have completed or be pursuing their schooling (Class 12th) from the respective state.

NEET 2024 Eligibility Criteria for State Quota

To be eligible for the All India Quota seats, candidates must:

  1. Be a citizen of India.
  2. Fulfill the age criteria mentioned earlier.
  3. From the academic year 2022-23, students from the Union Territory of Ladakh are also eligible for admission under 15% of All India Quota seats.

NEET 2024 Eligibility Criteria for NRI/Foreign Students

  1. Candidates must have completed their education from outside the country.
  2. The last examination they passed should be equivalent to the Class 12 qualification in their respective country.
  3. Candidates should have studied Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and English in their qualifying examination.
  4. They must have passed the theory and practical tests in each of these subjects.
  5. Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), and Foreign Nationals are eligible for admission to Medical/Dental Colleges.
  6. Eligibility is subject to rules and regulations framed by the respective State Governments, Institutions, and the Government of India.
  7. NRI and OCI candidates must upload a Certificate from the concerned Indian Diplomatic Mission in the country of their residence to support their claim.
  8. Foreign applicants must upload Documentary Proof (e.g., relevant pages of a valid passport or a Certificate from the Competent Authority) to support their Nationality.
  9. NEET UG 2024 application form should include the necessary documentation to establish the NRI/OCI/Foreign candidate status.

Preparing for NEET: Tips and Strategies

NEET Eligibility
Preparing for NEET requires dedicated effort and proper planning. Here are some tips to help open-school students excel in their NEET preparation:
  1. Develop a study schedule and stick to it consistently.
  2. Understand the exam pattern and syllabus thoroughly.
  3. Utilize online resources and practice mock tests regularly.
  4. Seek guidance from experienced mentors or coaching institutes.
  5. Focus on time management during the exam.
  6. Take care of your mental and physical well-being during the preparation phase.


The eligibility criteria for NEET have evolved over time, especially concerning open-school students. The initial decision by the MCI rendered them ineligible, but with the intervention of the Delhi High Court, open school students were granted permission to appear for the NEET exam. This change has provided equal opportunities for talented students, irrespective of their educational background.

In conclusion, open-school students, including those from NIOS, can now pursue their dreams of becoming medical professionals by appearing for the NEET exam. It is essential for these students to take advantage of the available resources, strategize their preparation, and stay determined to achieve their goals.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, as per the Delhi High Court's verdict in 2018, open school students and NIOS students are eligible to appear for the NEET exam.

Open school students need to fulfill the educational qualifications required by the conducting bodies for JEE and MBBS exams. This typically includes completing the 10+2 or equivalent examination with specific subjects like Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics (for JEE) or Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Biotechnology, and English (for MBBS).

No, open school students are not at a disadvantage in terms of JEE and MBBS eligibility. They have the same opportunities as regular school students to fulfill the eligibility criteria for JEE and MBBS exams, provided they meet the necessary educational qualifications and other specified criteria.

Open school students can prepare for NEET by creating a study schedule, utilizing online resources, practicing mock tests, and seeking guidance from experienced mentors or coaching institutes.

To be eligible for state quota seats, candidates must be residents of the respective state and have completed or been pursuing their schooling from that state.

Yes, educational settings provide opportunities to teach and learn these skills. Schools, colleges, and other educational institutions often incorporate skills development into their curriculum or offer specialized programs.

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