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NEET topper from Odisha says studied 15 hrs daily, balanced with gaming

 The 18-year-old said he spent 15 hours a day studying, including four hours of self-study apart from school and coaching.

Soyeb Aftab (second from right) with his family. Express

Two candidates attained full marks in the medical entrance exam NEET, results of which were declared on Friday night, according to National Testing Agency (NTA) officials. Odisha’s Soyeb Aftab and Delhi’s Akansha Singh have scored 720 out of 720 marks but Aftab has been ranked first and Singh second as per the NTA’s tie-breaking policy, the officials said. According to officials, the tie-breaking policy takes into account factors such as age, subject-wise marks, and number of incorrect answers.

Aftab hails from Odisha’s Rourkela district and his father has a construction company. Born in a business family, he said his inspiration to become a doctor is the fact that there are no doctors in the family. “I knew I could study hard and become a doctor. I want to pursue cardiology,” Soyeb said.

The 18-year-old said he spent 15 hours a day studying, including four hours of self-study apart from school and coaching. “I made sure that I spent some time watching videos on YouTube and playing games. That helps maintain a balance. I ensured that during study hours, my concentration was on studies and nothing else,” he said.

Aftab scored 96 per cent in his Class XII board examinations.

He said he did not expect to top the medical entrance examination with a perfect score.

Aftab had moved to Kota in Rajasthan for a two-year coaching programme. His mother and 10-year-old sister had also moved with him. Soyeb wants to pursue his MBBS degree from AIIMS Delhi. A total of 7,71,500 candidates have qualified the exam for which over 13.66 lakh candidates had appeared.

The highest number of qualifying candidates are from Tripura (88,889) followed by Maharashtra (79,974). “The result has been declared. I congratulate all candidates who have cleared the exam and wish them good luck for future. I thank NTA for giving a new cohort of doctors this year. Exams were conducted during ‘testing’ times and the spirit of cooperative federalism was also visible. I also thank all the Chief Ministers for the same,” Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ tweeted.

The NEET was conducted on September 13 amid strict precautions in view of the pandemic.

The exam was earlier postponed twice due to the pandemic and the government decided to go ahead with it, despite opposition by a section, to mitigate any further academic loss.

The National Testing Agency had set in place strict standard operating procedures in view of the pandemic, including measures like reducing the number of candidates per room from the earlier 24 to 12.

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