The National Testing Agency released the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET 2020) on October 16 and this year’s All India rank 2 is bagged by Akanksha Singh. However, despite scoring perfect 720 marks, Soyeb Aftab has clinched rank 1. This is because of NEET’s tie-breaker policy where the candidate older in age will be given preference over the younger one.
While Akanksha belongs to Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar, however, to achieve a seat in medical college, she used to travel 70 km to her coaching institute at Gorakhpur. “I always wanted to become a doctor and study at the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Since there was no big coaching institute in my town, I have to travel for four hours to reach my institute in Gorakhpur. After passing class 10, I shifted to Delhi for plus 2 and joined Aakash institute,” she said.
After appearing for NEET, the 17-year-old was confident of scoring around 700. “I studied 10 to 12 hours daily and followed my institute’s study material. Apart from it, I also checked online classes of edtech platforms. To feel motivated, I watched public speaker Sandeep Maheshwari’s videos.” Akanksha also followed books by Anurag Mishra, IE Irodov for physics, Campbell for biology and relied on NCERT books for chemistry.
Unlike many students who wanted the exam to postponed, Akanksha believes the lockdown period gave her extra time to revise her notes, or else balancing the board exam along with entrance test preparation was a task.
Akanksha’s aim is to pursue research on neurosurgery. “After completing MBBS, I plan to take up research and practice medicine later.” Akanksha was also moved by the role of health practitioners during this COVID-19 period. “The way doctors have performed risking their lives is an inspiration for thousands like me. It has made me realise the importance and responsibility of a health worker,” she said.
Her father Rajendra Kumar Rao is a retired IAF officer, and her mother, Ruchi Singh is a primary school teacher.