No out of course questions to be included in MDCAT, says PMC

Updated 30 Oct 2020

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Announcing that the Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT) will be held on Nov 15 and last date to register for it is Nov 6, the Pakistan Medical Commission on Thursday said students should not worry regarding out of course exam. — AFP/File
Announcing that the Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT) will be held on Nov 15 and last date to register for it is Nov 6, the Pakistan Medical Commission on Thursday said students should not worry regarding out of course exam. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Announcing that the Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT) will be held on Nov 15 and last date to register for it is Nov 6, the Pakistan Medical Commission on Thursday said students should not worry regarding out of course exam.

Any out of course question, if mistakenly included in the question paper, will be deleted.

As 150,000 candidates will appear in the test, over 200 examination centres are being established across the country, including in Gilgit. The process of admission will be completed by Dec 31.

“Though it is correct that there is some difference in syllabus of different boards, only common topics of all boards will be included in MDCAT. Moreover, PMC rather than the National University of Medical Sciences (Nums) will hold the test and then answer sheets will be sealed and handed over to Nums for marking,” PMC Vice President Ali Raza said.

He said an automated admission process for private colleges has been finalised, allowing students to choose the college of their liking pursuant to their requisite merit. Admissions for public colleges will be done by the provincial governments.

“It is necessity to have a uniform MDCAT to inculcate a level playing field for all aspirants. There will be no quota for foreign students but provincial and federal governments may establish any quota deemed appropriate for seats allocated to a public college under their jurisdiction. The only two requirements applicable to all such public quotas are any student being admitted on such a quota is to have qualified the national MDCAT in order to obtain a licence for post-graduation and no quota can cause the maximum seats allocated to a public college to be exceeded above the approved assigned number,” he said.

Test will be held on Nov 15 and last date for registration is Nov 6

In the past, MDCAT conducted by the University of Health Sciences (UHS) for Punjab had been consistently stated by students and provincial universities to be not as comprehensive and hence lower in difficulty level to the MDCAT being conducted by other provincial universities. This resulted in students in Punjab scoring higher than the national average which affected the merit for other provinces, leaving students at a disadvantage,” Mr Raza said.

“It is on this basis that in the past Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa asked the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council to restrict admissions in private colleges on the basis of domicile contrary to the regulations as were applicable at that time. To make this MDCAT, we took all provincial boards and extracted the overlap to create a common syllabus from which the exam would be made from. To reiterate, a new syllabus hasn’t been created for MDCAT this year. The exam is composed of all material from all provincial boards that overlap,” he said.

Mr Raza said in terms of exemption from MDCAT, only foreign students would be eligible to apply to medical colleges in Pakistan using their SAT II results and 40pc weightage will be given to biology, 35pc to chemistry and 25pc to physics/math.

“In these cases, due to the impact of Covid-19 on SAT I availability around the world, English would be exempted if their HSSC/high school programme’s medium of teaching was English. Foreign students will be required to compete with Pakistani students on the basis of merit so that there is no discrimination.”

The Foreign Medical Graduate (FMG) process is being undertaken to verify foreign colleges, he said. If an FMG has obtained their qualification from a college recognized by the commission, they will receive a provisional licence to do their house job in Pakistan and their full licence will be issued after they pass their national licensing examination (NLE).

If the FMG has completed their house job their provisional licence will expire and they will be required to take the NLE to obtain a full licence.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2020