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M-CAT Test: 56,272 students appeared

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Only 3,405 MBBS, 2,106 BDS seats in Public sector

By Asad Saleem

Asad Saleem

LAHORE (August 28, 2016):  A total 56,272 students appeared in the  M-CAT(Medical College Entrance Test) conducted under the  supervision of UHS (University of Health Sciences). The test held at 34 examination centers In 13 various cities of Punjab including Lahore, Faisalabad, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawalpindi, Gujrat, Bahawalpur, Sargodha, DG Khan, Hasan Abdal and Sargodha.

A total 56,272 students contesting for 3,405 MBBS, 2,106 BDS seats in Public sector whereas in private sector 3,000 seats for MBBS & 1100 seats BDS are available.

Students appear in medicl admission test. PHOTO: ONLINE
Students appear in medicl admission test. PHOTO: ONLINE

This procedure consists of 2 phases: 1) Entry Test, 2) Addmission. Out of 56,272 only 9611 lucky students will be able to reach their goals of getting admission to become a doctor or a dentist. Last year, almost 46,885 candidates were appeared in the test held at 34 examination centers In 13 various cities of Punjab including Lahore, Faisalabad, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawalpindi, Gujrat, Bahawalpur, Sargodha, DG Khan, Hasan Abdal and Sargodha, according to the UHS spokesman.

Out of 46,885 students who appeared in in MCAT test last year, 19,283 students secured 60% and more marks while 6,891 candidates secures 50% to 59% marks in MCAT test 2015. Furthermore, 6,490 students attained 40% to 49% marks in MCAT test held under the supervision of University of Health Sciences whereas 14,221 students obtained less than 40% marks.

MCAT is a pre-requisite for admissions to all medical colleges both in the private and the public sector. MCAT is a test consisting of 220 multiple choice questions. Each question is of 5 marks making the test of total 1100 marks. Each correct answer score 5 marks while each wrong answer scores -1. It consist of 88 MCQs relating to Biology, 58 to Chemistry, 44 to Physics and 30 from English. The duration of the test is 2 hours and 30 minutes.

M-CAT is being criticized all over Punjab because according to experts Medical College Entrance Test is not a proper scale to test students. The UHS is calculating test weightage at 50% and if a student fails to perform good in the test, it will lead to failure of student in the whole admission process. Some suicide cases of students has also been reported in 2013 and 2014.”The suicide cases are due to the fact that UHS MCAT is very difficult for students as it is out of syllabus. The complete loss of a year might lead to extreme depression for students and suicidal thoughts arise,” said a candidate.

However syllabus of the test is not too much but lack of time makes it difficult for many students.  Even the CEO KIPS, one the most famous Institute for Entry Test preparation is also against of it. While talking to The Educationist, he said, “There should be no entry test. I think admission should be on the basis of intermediate exam on merit”.
College Entrance Test held in 1998. Till 2000 this test was conducted by IBA Karachi and then for 7 years the test was held by UET. Later, since 2008 it is being conducted by UHS (University of Health Sciences).

A large number of institutes in Punjab takes entry test classes for MCAT preparation. KIPS is most famous institution for MCAT preparation, However STAR institute and Punjab  group are also in this race. Students pay Rs 3500 for entry test preparations but UHS does not recommend any institution for MCAT preparation and recommends only text books of Punjab Text Book, Lahore.

While talking to The Educationist newspaper, a student Ahmad said that the number of seats should be increased or board exam should the basis for admission.

On the other hand, parents said M-CAT was the wastage of time and their money. Private sector was taking advantage of this processes and earning a large amount for entry test preparations. The percentage of students appearing in the test every year was far higher than the seats. “Our children are demoralized when they failed by only .05%, they losses their confidence,” said a mother, outside the exam hall.

Doctors and faculty members said that due the  shortage of faculty, the seats cannot be increased. A doctor said there were only only 5,000 medical faculty members in Punjab.

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