PMC: Students will give MDCAT twice?

by Dr Sarmad Syed

The Chairman Provincial Admissions committee Sindh recently announced a medical entrance exam for admission into Public Medical Colleges in Sindh. The exam is slated to be held on the 18th of October 2020 and has sparked outrage amongst students applying in medical and dental colleges. Earlier, Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) announced National MDCAT (Medical and Dental College Admission Test) as compulsory for admission.

National MDCAT and Provincial MDCAT

Many students are saying the exam is not justified as they already have a competitive entrance exam in the form of MDCAT, for which they have been preparing for months. The sudden announcement of this new entry test has caught them off guard and they cannot prepare for it at such short notice. Therefore, they are requesting the government to either have the exam cancelled or at the very least, delayed.

The students are now looking up to the newly formed PMC to intervene on their behalf. A press notice on the 8th of October 2020 released by the President PMC, where he sought clarification from the Chairman Provincial Admissions committee Sindh regarding this issue.

PMC seeks clarification from Sindh

According to PMC press release, Sindh government reserves every right to conduct entrance exams for their Public colleges. Admission into any Private or Public medical college shall not be without the National MDCAT conducted by the PMC, which will have 50% weightage. Therefore, this would mean students would have to sit two entrance exams.

The Press Releases also mentioned that the Provincial Admissions committee Sindh needs to clarify what weightage their test has towards the calculation of final merit. Consequently, the committee cannot enforce this exam upon Private medical colleges in Sindh. The criteria for admissions here would be the mandatory MDCAT exam. Hence, a committee to ensure the syllabus for the MDCAT exam is formed. This will ensure no student is at a disadvantage when giving the exam. Thus, admissions to private colleges will be centralized and strictly on merit.

The never-ending confusion of PMC and MDCAT

This intervention on PMC’s part is unexpected but welcomed by all. It demands clear answers from the Sindh government. The notification urges them to issue clarifications so that students’ minds can be put at ease. Though the Sindh government had asked for clarification on this matter, they have yet to release an explanation/official statement. The notification seeking clarification was soon removed from PMC’s official website overnight.

To sum up, with lifelong pressure from the society, family and peers, our students are dealing with enough as it is. This is something extra that is certainly not warranted!

The author is a contributing writer for Dental News Pakistan and can be reached at

October 15, 2020

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