NEET 2020 | Family’s efforts, own hard work bear fruit for Soyeb

He secures a perfect 720 out of 720 marks in NEET.


As National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)-2020 results were declared, 18-year-old Soyeb Aftab from Odisha’s Rourkela city found his name atop 7,71,500 aspirants. He made history by securing a perfect 720 out of 720 marks.

While student fraternity and society went gaga over his spectacular feat, the sacrifice of a lower middle class family to use education to move up the social ladder came to the fore.

Since his childhood, Soyeb has been brilliant in his studies. But academic brilliance alone does not ensure success for one in personal and professional space and money matters. And Soyeb’s family understood this reality.

After he secured 96.8% marks in Class X from Desouza’s School, Rourkela, in 2018, the family took a conscious decision to facilitate medical coaching for him at Kota so that he overcomes the cut-throat competition.

In April 2018, Soyeb was not alone to move to Kota to pursue XII studies at Sarvodaya School and coaching simultaneously. His mother, Sultana Razia, a homemaker, went with him. His father, Sheikh Mohammed Abbas, kept working in Rourkela to earn to fund their stay at Kota. Mr. Abbas has tea-leaf business and he also deals with construction material.

“I had come to Kota with a dream that I would clear NEET with a good rank. As time progressed, I received support from teachers and my confidence level went up. I was expecting my ranking in the first 500,” Soyeb told media.

“When my XII results came out and I scored above 90% marks, I thought I would be in top 100. I had never expected 720 out of 720. Even after examination, I was anticipating that my marks would be around 700. I had doubts in two questions and was not sure of few more questions. But when I tallied them with the answer sheet, I realized that all my answers were correct,” he said.

“My father kept working in Rourkela while my mother and little sister stayed with me. I had not been to home during COVID-19 lockdown. In fact, I had stayed in Kota since April 2018 without a vacation. Probably the consistency which I maintained in preparation was the reason behind the feat I have achieved today,” he noted.

Aspiring to study in AIIMS-Delhi, he owed much of his success to his mother. He pointed out that his father, family members and teachers contributed significantly.

“If you are focused on your goal, you are bound to get success. Problems may come and hamper the preparations like the COVID-19 did this year, but students should not take their eye off the objective,” he exhorted.

Mother’s struggles

Ms. Razia has completed her graduation and she knows the value of education. “I stayed with him to ensure that he does not get distracted due to bad food and even I did not let him go to market. I faced all struggles for providing my son a distraction-free atmosphere,” she said.

“He has been a brilliant student since school days. I had never been in doubt that he would not secure NEET rank. It was beyond my expectations that he would create history by getting 720 out of 720,” she said, adding that students should give their best efforts in studies.

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