ISLAMABAD: More than 200,000 aspirants seeking to pursue undergraduate medical and dental education took an annual pen-and-paper test on Sunday to vie for some 21,000 seats up for grabs.
The Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC), which conducts the Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT) through federal and provincial public sector universities, said 203,791 candidates sat the exam at various venues across the country, whereas 462 candidates appeared at foreign centres set up in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Of them, 83,142 students took the test in Punjab, followed by 46,229 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 43,994 in Sindh, 17,825 in Islamabad, 9,238 in Balochistan, 2,718 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), 645 in Gilgit, 222 in Saudi Arabia, and 240 in the United Arab Emirates.
The three-and-a-half-hour test — which lasted from 11am to 2:30pm — consisted of 200 multiple choice questions (MCQs) from five subjects, including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English and Logical Reasoning. This year, the pass mark is 55pc for medical colleges (MBBS degree) and 45pc for dental colleges (BDS degree).
Some 83,142 students sit exam in Punjab, 46,229 in KP, 43,994 in Sindh, 17,825 in Islamabad, and 9,238 in Balochistan
The results are set to come out in a few days. However, a key to the answers has been uploaded on the PMC’s website to help candidates compare their answers with the correct ones and get an idea about what lies ahead.
Results will remain valid for two years, though a candidate can appear next year, and the better result will be considered for admission.
The military-run National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) had already conducted its entry test last month, in which around 74,000 students participated.
“Despite all odds, MDCAT held successfully within and outside Pakistan on one single day. I wish all these medical students will add value to the medical profession and Pakistan in future,” Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel said in a Twitter post.
He appreciated PMC’s efforts to conduct the exams and acknowledged that vice chancellors and examination heads of all public sector medical universities played their part in ensuring transparency.
Prof Dr Noshad Ahmad Shaikh, the commission’s president, said this year’s MDCAT was conducted in several cities, including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala, Sahiwal, Sialkot, Dera Ghazi Khan, Karachi, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Dera Ismail Khan, Malakand, Nawabshah, Khairpur, Swat, Swabi, Peshawar, Mardan, Kohat, Bannu, Abbottabad, Quetta, Gilgit, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur.
“I was present in Gilgit, where the PMC has conducted MDCAT for the first time, so I personally supervised the test,” Dr Shaikh said.
He said candidates with disabilities were provided with additional help to fill in the answer sheets.
In Sindh, more than 15,000 candidates took the exam in Jamshoro’s Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) alone.
The test was conducted by Dow University of Health Sciences Karachi under the vigilance, security, human resources and physical arrangements provided by LUMHS.
Mohammad Hussain Khan in Hyderabad also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2022