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Reservation System in Tamil Nadu Medical Admission - Explained

How does the reservation system works in Tamil Nadu, particularly with reference to medical college admissions?

Many candidates don't understand the logic behind the admission and get confused (me too, until I spent time to understand the intricacies of it).

First, let us look at what really confuses candidates and parents.

Vacancy Status at the end of Day 1 Counseling

Here is the vacancy status that is published by Selection Committee, Directorate of Medical Education, Tamil Nadu as at the end of 1st July 2018 (after the allotment of 40 seats under special category).

Tamil Nadu MBBS seat matrix, 2018
Figure 1

If you look at the above matrix, there are 757 seats under Open Category (OC), which is 31% of the total seats available. You also can notice, each college has the same kind of distribution of seats using the following reservation system:

  • Open Category (OC)- 31%
  • Backward Community (BC)- 26.5%
  • Backward Community-Muslim (BCM) - 3.5%
  • Most Backward Community (MBC) - 20%
  • Scheduled Caste (SC) -15%
  • Scheduled Caste Arundathiyar (SCA) - 3%
  • Scheduled Tribe (ST) - 1%

Vacancy Status at the end of Day 2 Counseling

Now look at the vacancy status that is published by Selection Committee, Directorate of Medical Education, Tamil Nadu as at the end of 2nd July 2018. On day two, 572 seats were allotted to candidates.

Figure 2

Total seats at end of Day 1 was 2409; 572 seats allotted on Day 2; balance seats available is 1837.
Total OC seats at end of Day 1 was 757; 572 seats allotted on Day 2; balance seats available is 185.

Perfect, everything adds up. What is the confusion then?

Now, take a closer look at individual colleges information. Let us select Pudukottai medical college for example, which is displayed as the last college in the list. At the end of day 1 (Figure 1), there were 32 seats available under BC category.

Now look at the vacancy at the end of day 2 (Figure 2). Oops! There are 54 seats available under BC category. How could seats increase??? You could also see that seats have increased under BCM category, MBC category and SC category.

Colleges without OC candidates

If you review the seat allotment list, you will also find that the following eight colleges do not have any OC candidates:

  2. ESIC Coimbatore
  3. Dharmapuri Medical College
  4. Villupuram Medical College
  5. Thiruvannamalai Medical College
  6. Thiruvarur Medical College
  7. Sivagangai Medical College and
  8. Pudukottai Medical College

If there were seats available under OC category in the above colleges at the end of Day 1, why no OC candidate was allotted to these colleges? Do we not have enough OC candidates to fill these seats? Where did the seats disappear?

Confusion in Counseling Procedure

Now, let me summarize the two doubts that candidates or parents might have:
  1. How did seats increase under reservation category from Day 1 to Day 2?
  2. How did the OC seats disappear from the eight colleges mentioned?
So, the above two questions answer each other. The disappearing OC seats should have appeared as reserved category seats. Right? But, how? Let me explain how it works.

How seat allotment happens?

Look at Figure 1. There are 757 seats available under OC category. So, the first 757 seat allotments would be counted against OC category, irrespective of which category the candidate belongs to, irrespective of which college he chooses and irrespective of which category seat he/ she is opting for.

Let me take Madras Medical College (MMC) as an example, to explain this further. Based on Figure 1, there are 65 OC category seats. Let us assume that the top 65 rank holders all opt for MMC.

So, OC category seats in MMC would be finished by the time 66th rank holder enters the counseling hall. If he is an OC candidate, he will opt for Stanley Medical College, most likely. So, he gets an OC seat in Stanley. No problem. Just move on.

But, let us say, the 66th rank holder is a BC candidate. If he is interested in any other college other than MMC, no confusion. In case he selects Madurai Medical College, he will be allotted an OC seat under Madurai since there are still OC seats available in Madurai.

But, what is most likely to happen? He wants to take a seat in MMC. He can do so, only by taking a seat under BC category. But, since he is among the top 757 candidates, any seat he chooses should be counted as OC seat.

So, what they do? They convert that one BC seat in MMC to an OC seat (this is only theoretical, but will not be reflected in any updates). That indirectly means, one BC seat is lost. So, it has to be compensated by converting an OC seat to a BC seat. To achieve this, they will decrease one OC seat in Pudukottai Medical College (or any other college) and increase one BC seat in the same college.

I believe the system would randomly choose a college to do this adjustment (or as per some rules given by the Selection Committee). This kind of re-adjustment would happen for the top 757 seat allocations, if the candidate takes up a reserved category seat. As this process of conversion continues, some colleges might run out of OC seats completely. They would have been converted to other category seats in the same college.


I tried to explain the procedure as much as I can. I know it could still be confusing. Please comment below with your queries, if any. I will try to clear them to the extent of my understanding.


  1. It's very clear. There's no confusion in your explanation. Only that, I personally feel reservation should be applied at college-level so that this kind of conversions of OC seats into BC and BC seats in OC does not happen in other colleges. Hope I am clear and you get the point I am trying to make.

    1. I do agree that college level reservation is a better proposal. It would ensure uniform distribution across all colleges rather than OCs concentrated in few colleges and completely not represented in few colleges.

    2. Theoretically even at college level allocation a college can go without oc seats. Say, for example take a college with 100 seats. After deducting for AIQ quota around 27 seats will be available for OC. If by chance 27 BC candidates are continuously ranked in overall rank list and if all they choose the same college, OC candidate may not be accommodated in this college. But still I feel college level allocation is better.
      Not sure what logic they follow in Engg admissions which is bt more complex with branches involved.

    3. Yes, it is certainly possible. But, the probability of eight colleges going without any OC candidate is comparatively lesser.

    4. It should have been done in college level with little tweak in the approach. If a BC candidate picks a seat, then BC numbers should come down first and they can opt for OC seat if BC seat availability is zero.

  2. If they do like this then where will the OC candidates go?..Is it justice to the OC candidates?

    1. Difficult question. I have no answer to this.

    2. Surely the loss is for FC candidates. But the problem is OC category is not treated as exclusive for FC candidates. It includes all categories.Infact there is no category as FC category. One way to minimize the loss is to create a separate category for FC and have exclusive reservation on that. This year out of 757 oc candidates about 472 were bC candidates another 28 might be from other categories. So about 500 candidates are form other categories. Theoretically this number might reach 757 and there will not be any OC candidate at all in the Medical colleges ! Better to create about 5 to 8% or 10% sub-category window within the 31 % OC category.
      This needs lot of political negotiating skill and lobbying - forward/general castes instead of trying to abolish reservation should work on a proportional representation within the available framework.
      Understand it ia a long haul and difficult process.

    3. College level reservation will certainly increase the so-called FC participation a little bit more.

  3. Top class in depth hard thinking work,but honestly still not 100% sure of complete understanding inspire of 3 times reading.
    One thing is clear FCs totally at big loss

    1. It took me three years to understand this. So, I am not surprised.

  4. Sir, will this method be applied for management quota also ?

    1. No, reservation system is not followed in management quota seats.

      The exceptions are CMC Vellore and IRT Perundurai. But, anyway, all seats in IRT goes only to wards of transport employees. Similarly, only 15 seats at CMC Vellore is available for open competition, in which 3 seats are reserved for SC/ ST.

      Except these two colleges, all the other colleges do not follow reservation system for management quota seats.

    2. Thank You so much Sir !!!!

  5. Sir,
    How many total vacant seats we can expect in Tamil Nadu Second Round counselling 2018.

    1. You can expect around 75-100 vacant seats for MBBS second round counseling. However, the actual number depends on the number of seats reverted from AIQ counseling.

  6. Sir what is meant by linguistic minority. my mother tongue is Bengali and also I'm Roman Catholic so will I belong to linguistic minority ? If yes then which linguistic minority

    1. Linguistic minority means candidates who speak languages that are not the mother tongue of the majority of that state.

      I believe you are from Tamil Nadu. So, anyone who is a resident of Tamil Nadu, but does not have Tamil as mother tongue, then they are considered as linguistic minorities.

      Certain private colleges are formed to help these linguistic minorities. In Tamil Nadu, we have private colleges that taken in Telugu Minority candidates and Malayalam minority candidates.

      However, there are no colleges that address Bengali Minority candidates. So, you cannot claim linguistic minority status for the admission to MBBS degree programme in Tamil Nadu.

  7. Sir I am from West Bengal and I was applying for tn counseling in order to get admitted in CMC accordingly Bengali is my mother I still belong to linguistic minority and do I need to fill up annexures VIII a and VIII b ?

    P.S - the previous comment was made by me

  8. Sir
    We are Tamil Christians residing in Dubai, can we apply fo CMC Vellore sponsored seat?

    1. To apply under sponsored category, you need to be sponsored by an organisation that comes under the CMC Vellore network.

  9. Why does this system has to consider the first 757 seats as OC seats. Why not it be straight forward that the 66th BC rank holder gets BC seat at MMC and thus one BC seat is filled before the filling of 757 OC seats?


  11. In India, most of the Colleges or Universities have a Reservation System that's why most of the students prefer to join medical colleges abroad because there is no reservation system only the deserving candidates allow to study in reputed colleges or universities & also there are universities like All Saints Universities which are providing scholarships to bright students


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