Of the 88,881 students who applied to take NEET-UG at eight cities in the state this year, 15,206 students opted for the Tamil language paper.
Sri Ramachandra University former vice chancellor J S N Murthy said students from the state performed reasonably well in comparison with the national average.
“Around six lakh candidates of the 11 lakh (or around 50%) who took the test nationwide qualified, so the state’s pass percentage of nearly 40% gives one reason to be optimistic,” he said. “This is just the beginning of NEET and [the performance of Tamil Nadu students] only makes me believe that they will do better in the coming years.”
With the right coaching and the ability to attune themselves to the test format, students from the state will in no way be less capable of scoring well in a competitive test, he said.
Some students proved their mettle by individually putting in extra effort. A Lakshanya, a state board student from Velammal Matriculation School, who scored 635, said she had thoroughly covered both the state board and CBSE textbooks over a period beginning in Class XI and had also prepared for AIPMT.
Coaching centres in the city reported that their students performed well in NEET-UG. Akash Educational Services said a majority of the students who took the test through the centre qualified with good scores. “The scores have improved from last year and the number of candidates qualifying from our centre was also higher,” said Sanjay Gaglani of Winner’s Academy, Chennai.”More time for preparation this year was helpful.”
Some coaching centres, however, shared concerns over several state board students, particularly from Tamil-medium schools, encountered problems in the NEET physics paper due to new terminology.
“For Tamil-medium students, there is no material or test paper with which to prepare for this kind of exam,” said C Nadasurateja of Jupiter Education Academy, Chennai. “Several technical terms were not clear to students who were used to learning only theory for state board exams. They need to be given time to prepare and cannot be disregarded due to a set process.”