ISLAMABAD: While candidates for the Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT) have been protesting across the country, the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) on Monday issued a statement to defend allegations against it.
The PMC has hired M/S SOAR Testing and Evaluation Platform (SMC-PVT) for holding MDCAT. But the students have been alleging that out of course questions were included in the exam and there were flaws in the software due to which even toppers in educational board exams failed.In a statement, the PMC said a group of students met the president of the council Dr Arshad Taqi on Sept 23. They alleged that internet at the centres was not working which resulted in many answers not being recorded and scored.
They also alleged that the system had a technical fault due to which skipped or edited questions did not get scored and questions were out of syllabus. The students demanded to re-conduct the MDCAT or lower the passing marks or additional marks be given to each student. They also demanded that every student should be allowed to see their paper and recheck physically.
The PMC held a meeting to discuss the issue and it was noted that thousands of students had already passed the exam - a number which is already well in excess of the available 20,000 medical and dental college seats.
It said the examination system was designed to operate on a wireless local area network (LAN) at each centre. Therefore, the concern regarding internet or Wifi being down was misconceived.
“All the final answers submitted by each student at the end of the exam are uploaded to the server at each exam centre through the local area network securely without exception.
“The up-to-date data for questions marked as skipped or not attempted by all students up to date was examined. Only 0.13pc of the total answers submitted by over 140,000 students who have already taken the exam were marked as skipped or not attempted. In effect, only one skipped or not attempted question showed up for every five students on average. Therefore, the concern that skipped questions attempted later or edited answers are not being uploaded to the system and scored is not correct,” it stated.
The MDCAT syllabus was prepared by the National Medical and Dental Academic BoardT. The representatives of all the provincial boards and the federal board were invited to review the syllabus to ensure it covered the curriculum of each region, it added.
“A student can neither be provided a copy of their question paper and answers, nor shown their paper physically. The paper is in a digital format and so are the answers which are scored by a computer.”
It said all results shall be subject to a post-exam analysis and any corrections required after rechecking will be made.
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2021