NEET 2021 number of attempts and age limit - Know the Restrictions

NEET 2021 number of attempts and age limit - Know the Restrictions

NEET 2021 number of attempts and age limit - Aspirants who wish to pursue medicine after Class 12 have a lot of confusion about the NEET age limit and the number of attempts. As per the latest update, there are no restrictions on the NEET 2021 number of attempts and age limit. The court struck down all the restrictions on the age and number of attempts and the clause is not prevalent till the court decides.

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Through the prospectus and FAQs, NTA tries to solve the queries related to the number of attempts and age limit for NEET 2021. In the article, aspirants can know the NEET 2021 maximum attempts and age limit, who intend to appear for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). Major changes for NEET attempts and age rules were struck down in 2018 after the petition was filed in the court. The restrictions on the number of attempts and age limit for NEET exam is not expected to be there considering the uproar raised by students about them. Know more about NEET 2021 number of attempts and age limit below before applying for the entrance test.

NEET Number of Attempts and Age Limit since 2017

A major controversy cropped up in NEET 2017 when CBSE introduced an upper age cap along with a maximum attempts limit number without any warning. NEET upper age rule then specified that only unreserved candidates below the age of 25 and reserved candidates below the age of 30 would be allowed to appear for the NEET UG exam while the maximum attempts limit was set to three times. This rule was revoked by the Supreme Court in 2017. It was re-introduced again in NEET 2018 with a twist. The cap on the NEET-UG number of attempts (where candidates could only attempt NEET three times) was removed. Candidates do not have the NEET attempt limit anymore and this was to be determined by the upper age limit criterion.

Another major controversy in NEET 2019 was the ineligibility of NIOS/open school students. While they were allowed to appear for NEET until 2017, MCI decided to bar them from appearing in NEET from 2018 onwards. This clause in the NEET eligibility criteria in 2019 was later revoked and open school students allowed to appear for the exam. The other controversy was regarding the question of Biology as an additional subject. Students who had studied Biology as an additional subject in class 11 and 12 were deemed ineligible. Again this clause was revoked and such students allowed for the exam in 2019.

NEET 2021 is a single-window All India level national level entrance examination held annually for admissions to approximately 83,075 MBBS, 26,949 BDS, 52,720 AYUSH, and 525 BVSc & AH offered in colleges of India. EWS category seats introduced in 2019. Admissions to all AYUSH courses across all states are also on the basis of NEET exam result. NEET has already replaced the erstwhile All India Pre Medical Test (AIPMT) from 2017 onwards. From 2020 onwards, admission to AIIMS MBBS and JIPMER MBBS is done through NEET rank.

NEET Attempts Limit 2021

National Testing Agency (NTA) is the competent authority to conduct the NEET UG 2021 exam, there are currently no limits to the number of attempts for NEET 2021. This is in accordance with the erstwhile conducting body Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) statement on its the website, "There is no cap for the number of attempts". Then, CBSE had cited the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's letter no. U.12023/16/2010-ME-II dated December 6, 2017, for this. Therefore, NEET 2021 attempt limit no longer exists till further notice.

The three attempt limit rule for the medical entrance test introduced by the CBSE in the year 2017 no longer applies. Therefore, all candidates can appear for the NEET 2021 exam as many times as they wish to.

NEET Upper age and Lower age limits as in 2021

In 2021, NEET eligibility criteria as per the official information bulletin specified that unreserved candidates who were less than or 25 years of age as on the date of examination could fill the NEET 2021 application form. While there was a relaxation of 5 years for the aspirants belonging to SC/ST/OBC, which meant candidates should have been 30 years old as of the NEET exam date. The lower age limit rule for NEET 2021 specifies that candidates should have completed 17 years of age by December 31, 2021. The dates were given as below

Important dates regarding NEET 2021 age limit




Candidates should be born on or before December 31, 2004

Reserved (including PH)

Candidates should be born on or before December 31, 2004

The above NEET upper age limit clause was removed after students protested and challenged the same in the courts. In 2018, the upper age limit clause of NEET was upheld by the Delhi High Court and then it was further challenged in the Supreme Court. The MCI's decision to reintroduce an upper age limit in NEET was first revealed via a Gazette of India notification published on January 23, 2018.

NEET 2021 Upper Age Limit and Maximum Attempts Controversy

The confusion about the upper age limit and number of attempts in NEET began after the CBSE issued a notification in the year 2017 and also mentioned that “The number of attempts which a candidate can avail at NEET-UG examination shall be limited to 3 (three) uniformly to all the candidates. The previous attempts in AIPMT/NEET will be counted against these 3 permissible attempts. Candidates who have already exhausted their allowed 3 attempts are not eligible to apply for NEET (UG) 2017”. CBSE also set an upper age limit for unreserved candidates at 25 years and reserved candidates at 30 years stating that “The upper age limit for NEET-UG is 25 years as on the date of examination with relaxation of 5 years for the candidates belonging to SC/ST/OBC category”.

The introduction of these rules led to tremendous controversy and led to an uproar among NEET aspirants. Within a week of introducing the NEET attempt limit rule, MCI scrapped it. While clarifying on the revised eligibility, MCI communicated to MHFW that the attempts made by candidates for AIPMT/NEET prior to 2017 would not be counted. Later, the upper age limit clause was removed in March after a Supreme Court order on the same. CBSE was forced to re-open the application form window for candidates deemed ineligible by these rules and the court case verdicts also led to a delay in the release of the NEET admit cards.

In the year 2018, the upper age limit was reintroduced. Such candidates were allowed not only to appear for the exam but also to participate in admissions. For NEET, there is no indication that these rules may be reinforced. The court judgment is still awaited on these issues and candidates must check their eligibility before applying.