What is the Difference Between Qualifying Marks and Cut Off in NEET?

by Anusha Lal, June 30, 2020

As July 26 approaches, the day when the NTA will conduct NEET exams all over the country, students find themselves scurrying in last-minute preparations and sketching out post-NEET plans. The big question remains: what is the NEET cut off this year, and what can students expect, in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis? 

This, in turn, is followed by what it means to score the NEET pass mark. It is easy to confuse the two, though there is a fine line between them and what it means for NEET candidates this year.

Qualifying Marks

The National Testing Agency or NTA is the singular board that releases the cut-off and qualifying marks for NEET every year. Like every year, the cut-off for NEET 2020 will vary for each different category. The scores are expected to be out online and will determine which NEET candidates get a seat at top medical colleges this year.

The NEET cut off and qualifying marks will also decide who gets to be eligible for admission in a variety of other allied medical sciences such as BDS (Dental) and Ayurveda courses. So what is a qualifying mark?

NEET qualifying mark is the score that a particular candidate needs, to be eligible for the counselling and selection process. A common rumour that is circulated amongst students is that the qualifying marks is 50 per cent of the total. That, if anything, is not true. One must score a minimum of 50 percentile, that is to say, his or her NEET score must rank above at least half the students who have sat for the exam. Additionally, scoring the NEET qualifying marks will not suffice and neither will it get you anywhere closer to a seat in a medical college. 

One must score the minimum cut off in his or her category as well, to stand a chance to get admission in India’s medical colleges. Likewise, the qualifying percentile for General students is 50 while for students in the reserved category (SC/ST/OBC), it is 40. 

NEET Cut-Off

2019 saw a record 14,10,755 candidates write the NEET examinations, out of which a whopping 7,97,042 candidates managed to secure the NEET exam pass mark, that is equal to or more than the cut-off. At present, there are around 76,928 MBBS seats in the country and 26,949 BDS seats. Furthermore, there are 525 seats allotted to BVSc and AH courses as well. 

So what are NEET cut off marks? And why are they so important? 

Firstly, cut off marks are accompanied by additional qualifying criteria. These criteria apply differentially to the many quotas reserved for students based on several factors. These quotas are the: 

  1. All India Quota.

  2. Seats Reserved in Central Universities/Deemed Universities and Institutions.

  3. Management Quota/NRI Seats as well as State Quota in private universities and colleges.

  4. State Government Quota.

  5. Seats that are reserved under Central Pool Quota.

Furthermore, the National Testing Agency has made reservations for students belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. Individuals or Persons with Disabilities also have a total of 5% of seats reserved exclusively for them in the NEET exams. 

  • Candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes have 15% of total seats reserved for them.

  • The NTA has also reserved 7.5% of total seats for candidates belonging to Scheduled Tribes.

  • Candidates from Other Backward Classes have 27% of total seats reserved for them.

The cut-off marks for NEET is a convenient means adopted by NTA to determine which students are eligible for admission to the medical colleges of their choice. Along with this, NTA also releases a merit list, based on the recommendations of the Dental Council of India and Medical Council of India. So it is the marks that a candidate needs to score to secure a seat in any medical college in the country. For instance, in 2016, the cut-off was set at 468. Students who scored above this would stand a chance at a seat in a medical college. The cut off also varies for the dental and related courses.

The following table highlights the tentative qualifying marks and cut-off expected in 2020 for each category.

Category/Reserved Group

Qualifying Percentile

Cut-off Marks

Scheduled Castes (SC)

40th Percentile


Scheduled Tribes (SC)

40th Percentile


Other Backward Classes (OBC)

40th Percentile



50th Percentile



40th Percentile


PWD and SC

40th Percentile


PWD and ST

40th Percentile



As the table clearly indicates, the qualifying marks and cut-off for students appearing in NEET every year depend on several factors. These range from:

  1. Difficulty levels of each subject paper,

  2. Overall performance of students,

  3. Cut off marks in the previous years,

  4. Number of students appearing in the exam in a particular year.

There are several online tools that can help you predict your score, rank and chances of securing a seat. From rank predictor tools to analysis of previous years' results, the internet leaves you spoilt for choice when it comes to figuring what happens after NEET.

The tentative dates for the declaration of NEET results are currently set at a month after the exam. Students can expect the NEET counselling session to start from around the third week of August. 

Charting Your Way to Success

Now that you have a concise picture of NEET cut off marks and what you can expect this year around, it’s time to pull up your socks and ready yourself for the toughest examination of the year. Keep the NEET exam pass mark in mind and focus on your strengths and weaknesses.

Make sure you eat well, sleep enough and relax when you need to. Remember, the key to acing NEET is a stream of steady hard work and determination. Nothing can stop you from securing a seat in the college of your dreams.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the NEET Cut Off Marks this Year?

Ans. The cut-off marks for NEET this year are 701-134 (General) and 133-107 for SC, ST and OBC categories.

2. Is 500 a Good Score in NEET?

Ans. 500 is above the qualifying marks a candidate needs to score in any category. It will help secure a seat in many of India’s well-known medical colleges.

3. When will NEET be Conducted this Year?

Ans. The NEET exams for 2020 are scheduled for July 26, this year.

What is the Difference Between Qualifying Marks and Cut Off in NEET?