Academic success gauge


Whether or not entrance test for admission to medical and dental colleges of the country is useful to gauge the subsequent academic success of students, the post analysis of the Sunday’s exam and the candidates’ individual feedback have pointed out certain flaws, including out of syllabus questions, and trivial questions on synonyms of English language words. It is welcome sign for the candidates that the Pakistan Medical Council after the post-test analysis detected certain flaws and agreed to allow some concession to the candidates by allowing them grace marks, who could not comprehend the questions set out of course.
According to official statistics, as many as 204,253 students appeared in the MDCAT (Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test), which organized across the country and also in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, simultaneously. As per break-up, as many as 83,142 candidates appeared in the MDCAT in Punjab,, 43,994 in Sindh, 46,229 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 9,238 in Balochistan, 645 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 2,718 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir; 17,825 in Islamabad Capital Territory, 222 candidates in Saudi Arabia and 240 in the UAE.
In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the test was held in nine regions, including Peshawar, Abbottabad, Kohat, Malakand, Swat, Swabi, Mardan, Bannu, and Dera Ismail Khan, and as many as 46,230 candidates, 18,359 among them females, appeared in the test, which was successfully organized by the Education Testing and Evaluating Authority (ETEA). According to an official statement published in this newspaper, the Pakistan Medical Council (PMC) during a meeting chaired by its president Dr Noushad Ahmed Sheikh reviewed post analysis of MDCAT and took notice of complaints received from the candidates to the question papers, which appropriately moved Dr Sheikh to direct vice chancellors of all public universities to re-check their question papers and if any discrepancy was found in question papers, that must be compensated.
According to the PMC, the MDCAT-2022 was a paper-based exam, which was conducted through provincial public universities. It is heartening to note that the commission and all provincial universities successfully conducted the examination in the most peaceful manner. As said by Dr Sheikh, students’ bright future is their top priority and the commission is working tirelessly to facilitate getting higher professional education for the students. It is, however, a pity that the intelligence and the subsequent academic performance of the students is gauged by setting some crazy English words and requiring the students to find words of similar meaning in the same language. As put by a candidate, it is no yardstick to gauge a student’s ability by setting a stupid English word, for example “adept” in the paper and requiring the candidates to find its synonym. It should also be borne in the mind that the MDCAT does not appear to be a good tool to assess the intelligence, ability and future academic performance of the students. It is wrought with flaws. We need to focus the test to bring out the mental capabilities of students and make up for the shortfall of healthcare professionals in the country in the future.