Rusted and Rotten system of MDCAT

By: Esha Akhtar

During COVID-19, as per government policy in Pakistan, students of 12th grade have been given extra marks without taking exams. But most of them are unsatisfied with their results, especially the reformers and repeaters. Now the main issue which arises is the admission of pre-medical students in medical and dental colleges via entry test. Medical Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) is conducted by four of major medical universities in Pakistan namely: UHS, FMDC, NUMS, KMU.                                                                          In PMC’s (Pakistan Medical Commission) last year’s policy, the standard of candidate’s qualification should be 70% but before last year during PMDC (Pakistan Medical & Dental Commission) it was 60%.

Those students of grade 12 acquire extra marks without being appearing in exams, may create tough circumstances for improvers and repeaters. They won’t be able to compete with other candidates of this year. For the reason that every year merit for MBBS and BDS increases bounteously. Aggregate criteria have also changed since last year to 50/50 percent that does not assure merit transparency. Merit criteria of 70/30 percent whereabouts 70% for entrance test and 30% for HSSC exam would be a better option.

Now the next issue rises here is structure of test. It is not what that does show your aptitude, competence, proficiency and fervour for the field, nor that book-based lines which only demand cramming. Over 80% candidates fail to qualify test yearly due to outdated teaching methodologies practising in both public and private educational institutions where teachers and students adopt cram based and rote learning to achieve maximum marks in examinational boards. Whilst academies are making their business out of it. Test has been reduced to mere business rather than an aptitude exam. Medical entrance exam should include some scientific reasoning portion which can test whether you can make a cause and effect link or not.

Intellectual abilities or non-cognitive skills are equally important. Only clearing entry test shouldn’t be a license to entry into the medical college, also there must be an interview by an esteemed panel which can analyse whether you are mentally capable, self-disciplined, emotionally committed and your approach towards profession. Another important issue regarding time duration of test come to light. Prior to last year it used to be 3 hours but it’s been 2 hours 30 mins (150 mins) since last year. Physics, chemistry and to some extend biology portion includes numerical problems which require much time to resolve so 150 mins are not sufficient. Last year too, students had a lot of problems of time shortage.  It should be 3 hours again because many students are unable to complete test in due time and as result, they panic and lose percentage. From now onwards as PMDC is resurrect these issues should be noted and their feasible solutions should be extracted.                                                                                        MDCAT is an immense platform there shouldn’t be such rusted and rotten system + administration as we all saw last year in NUMS MDCAT 2019 and then re-conduct due to erroneous results and imprecise information. That was the unfavourable experience for every candidate. To avoid such type of conditions and cyber-attacks organization should remove security lapses from system so that information regarding test couldn’t be leaked.

I found an article about a candidate who tried to hack into the MDCAT system, as well as a report about an applicant who used a pinhole camera to beam images back to his friend’s computer. But overall, it doesn’t seem like MDCAT is as susceptible to fraud as SAT/ACT. However, it is not impossible to bribe or fake your way in, but manoeuvring through all the safeguards in a place might be a real heist. So precautious should be taken earlier than any kind of serious damage occur.

 

Medical eduction goal should be to transform the student from a pracitioner to a healer