Exit exam for MBBS stu­dents is nec­es­sary, say ex­perts

NEW MOVE Will NEXT guar­an­tee qual­ity health­care and bet­ter doc­tors in the coun­try? WHAT’S IN STORE

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Gauri Kohli HT Ed­u­ca­tion Correspondent

The exit exam for med­i­cal stu­dents at the MBBS level pro­posed in the In­dian Med­i­cal Coun­cil (Amend­ment) Bill 2016 is es­sen­tial, say health ed­u­ca­tion ex­perts. A draft of the bill pre­pared by the health min­istry rec­om­mends the MBBS exit exam, com­bined coun­selling at the un­der­grad­u­ate (UG) and post­grad­u­ate lev­els and reser­va­tions of up to 50% post­grad­u­ate (PG) seats for med­i­cal of­fi­cers.

Sec­tion 10E, to be added to the In­dian Med­i­cal Coun­cil Act 1956, pro­poses a uni­form na­tional exit test (NEXT) be con­ducted for all med­i­cal institutions at the un­der­grad­u­ate level. NEXT will re­place the uni­form en­trance exam at the post­grad­u­ate level. Sug­ges­tions on the fea­si­bil­ity of the draft were in­vited till Jan­uary 6.

An exit test is “an es­sen­tial tool for meet­ing the ba­sic ob­jec­tives of qual­ity and safe physi­cians for the so­ci­ety,” given the vast di­ver­sity of med­i­cal institutions in the coun­try of­fer­ing med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion of vari­able stan­dards, says Dr Bipin Ba­tra, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Na­tional Board of Ex­am­i­na­tions.

The test is likely to be at the level of an MBBS fi­nal exam to as­sess the ba­sic knowl­edge and skills of a med­i­cal grad­u­ate.

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Arun Ku­mar Agar­wal, for­mer pres­i­dent, Delhi Med­i­cal Coun­cil, the con­cept of an exit exam was mooted about six years ago to im­prove the qual­ity of fresh MBBS grad­u­ates in In­dia.

He is also of the opin­ion that this exam should re­place the Na­tional El­i­gi­bil­ity cum En­trance Test (NEET) as well as the Foreign Med­i­cal Grad­u­ates Exam (FMGE) as the can­di­dates should not ap­pear for such ex­am­i­na­tions more than once dur­ing the MBBS phase.

Asked about the like­li­hood of an exit exam re­plac­ing the ex­ist­ing ex­ams or en­trance tests, Dr Ba­tra says, “It will be an ideal sce­nario if one exam in the early phase of in­tern­ship is used as the exit test and the per­for­mance is used as a grad­ing tool for rank­ing med­i­cal grad­u­ates for en­try to PG res­i­dency pro­grammes.” The same exam can be ap­pli­ca­ble for foreign and In­dian med­i­cal grad­u­ates. The United States Med­i­cal Li­cens­ing Ex­am­i­na­tion ad­min­is­tered by Ed­u­ca­tional Com­mis­sion for Foreign Med­i­cal Grad­u­ates is a sim­i­lar test used for li­cens­ing as well en­try to res­i­dency pro­grammes for do­mes­tic as well as foreign med­i­cal grad­u­ates.”

There will be no im­pact on foreign med­i­cal grad­u­ates if the exit exam is in­tro­duced. There will be no change for their li­cens­ing re­quire­ments. “Cur­rently, they write the FMGE screen­ing test, which in all like­li­hood will be sub­sumed as the exit test, bring­ing par­ity be­tween the In­dian and foreign med­i­cal grad­u­ates,” adds Dr Ba­tra.

Im­ple­ment­ing NEXT will also put pre-PG coach­ing institutes at an ad­van­tage, say doc­tors. Will that be a good thing? Not likely, says Dr Man­ish C Prab­hakar, pres­i­dent, I ndian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion Young Doc­tors’ Wing. In­stead of churn­ing out bet­ter doc­tors, In­dia will pro­duce more of med­i­cal grad­u­ates with less clin­i­cal skills be­cause of the bur­den of too many ex­ams.

Only 2,700 to 3,000 va­can­cies ex­ist in pri­mary and com- mu­nity health cen­tres in ru­ral ar­eas, while more than 60,000 MBBS grad­u­ates clear the exam ev­ery year, says Dr Prab­hakar. “There­fore, ma­jor­ity of the stu­dents will spend time in coach­ing classes or in the li­brary or study­ing at home; in a coun­try where the doc­tor-pa­tient ra­tio is al­ready so low. NEXT is an in­di­rect way to pres­surise the doc­tors to go for the ru­ral post­ings,” he adds.

The pro­posed bill also seeks to in­tro­duce com­mon coun­selling for UG and PG med­i­cal stu­dents. This in­cludes 15% all-In­dia quota seats at the UG level and 50% at the PG level, which will be con­ducted by the Direc­torate Gen­eral of Health Ser­vices. Coun­selling for re­main­ing seats in­clud­ing pri­vate col­leges and pri­vate/ deemed uni­ver­si­ties at both lev­els will also be con­ducted.

Na­tional Institutes of Tech­nol­ogy and the In­dian Institutes of Tech­nol­ogy al­ready have com­mon coun­selling.

Ex­perts say such a con­cept for med­i­cal stu­dents will be a good idea. Med­i­cal grad­u­ates across the coun­try have ap­plauded the Cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s pro­posal to con­duct com­mon coun­selling and the Delhi Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion has also sup­ported it, apart from the Supreme Court up­hold­ing it.

Aca­demic ex­perts be­lieve UG, PG and su­per spe­cialty lev­els can­di­dates need coun­selling to al­lay their anx­i­ety about par­tic­i­pat­ing in mul­ti­ple seat al­lo­ca­tion pro­cesses con­ducted at in­sti­tu­tion or deemed univer­sity lev­els. “It will also en­sure fair play and eq­uity of ac­cess of seats to all as­pir­ing can­di­dates on a com­mon plat­form,” adds Dr Ba­tra.

It will be ideal if NEXT also dou­bles up as the NEET PG i.e. one na­tional level for exit of MBBS and en­try to PG, he adds. The wastage of seats due to mul­ti­ple ad­mis­sion pro­cesses run­ning con­cur­rently and vari­able cri­te­rion used for ad­mis­sions will be min­imised and boost chances of can­di­dates get­ting ad­mis­sion only on merit.

A s D r A g a r w a l says, “Com­mon coun­selling is the only so­lu­tion, oth­er­wise there will be lot of con­fu­sion among stu­dents. It will also help those seek­ing ad­mis­sion at the PG level.” Birla In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy and Science ( BITS), Pi­lani, de­clared as deemed-to-be univer­sity un­der Sec­tion 3 of the UGC Act, is invit­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for its en­trance test. Ad­mis­sions to all the in­te­grated first de­gree pro­grammes of the in­sti­tute at its Pi­lani, Goa and Hy­der­abad cam­puses for the aca­demic year 2017- 18 will be made on the ba­sis of a com­puter-based test BITSAT-2017.

Ad­mis­sions will be con­ducted for BE, BPharm and MSc pro­grammes in var­i­ous spe­cial­i­sa­tions. For all cour­ses ex­cept BPharm, can­di­dates should have passed the Class 12 ex­am­i­na­tion from a recog­nised Cen­tral or state board or its equiv­a­lent with physics, chem­istry, and math­e­mat­ics and ad­e­quate pro­fi­ciency in English.

For ad­mis­sion to BPharm, can­di­dates should have passed the Class 12 ex­am­i­na­tion from a recog­nised Cen­tral or state board or its equiv­a­lent with physics, chem­istry, and bi­ol­ogy and ad­e­quate pro­fi­ciency in English. How­ever, can­di­dates with physics, chem­istry and math­e­mat­ics can also ap­ply for the phar­macy pro­gramme.

O n l y s t u d e n t s wh o a r e ap­pear­ing f or t he Class 12 ex­am­i­na­tion in 2017 or who have passed Class 12 in 2016 are el­i­gi­ble to ap­pear in BITSAT-2017.

The three-hour test con­sists of four parts. Part I : physics; Part II: chem­istry; Part III: (a) English pro­fi­ciency and ( b) log­i­cal rea­son­ing; and Part IV: math­e­mat­ics or bi­ol­ogy ( for BPharm can­di­dates). All ques­tions will be ob­jec­tive type ( mul­ti­ple choice ques­tions); each ques­tion with choice of four an­swers, only one be­ing cor­rect choice. Each cor­rect an­swer fetches three marks, while each in­cor­rect an­swer has a penalty of one mark.

There is no time limit for in­di­vid­ual parts of the test. The can­di­date can go back and change any of his/her an­swers among the 150 ques­tions. Dead­line to ap­ply for BITSAT-2017 is March 6, 2017. For more in­for­ma­tion on the test and the ap­pli­ca­tion process visit http://www.bit­sad­mis­sion.com/ Re s u l t s o f the Com­mon Ad­mis­sion Test ( CAT) were de­clared ear­lier on Mon­day and as many as 20 can­di­dates scored 100 per­centile. Akshay Mehndiratta, Rahul Sharma and Yash Choud­hary are among those who got the per­fect score. How did they pre­pare for the test?

S h a r i n g h i s s t r a t e g y, Mehndiratta, an I I T Delhi alumnus, work­ing with EXL An­a­lyt­ics i n Gur­gaon as a con­sul­tant, says he man­aged to achieve a per­fect work-life bal­ance with stud­ies. “I reg­u­larly took test se­ries and mocks over the last one year. My fo­cus for the last four months was on im­prov­ing my weak­ness in the ver­bal abil­ity sec­tion. I didn’t get ner­vous on the test day and kept calm. I kept telling my­self that CAT is not a test of knowl­edge but a test of ap­ti­tude,” he says.

Mehndiratta cleared CAT i n his sec­ond at­tempt and is hop­ing to make it to IIM Ahmedabad. While giv­ing the test, his tar­get was to at­tempt 31 ques­tions in ver­bal abil­ity, 25 ques­tions in data in­ter­pre­ta­tion and log­i­cal rea­son­ing and 29 ques­tions in quan­ti­ta­tive abil­ity. “But the idea was to at­tempt them with ac­cu­racy.”

For an­other 100 per­centile scorer, Yash Choud­hary, a fi­nal year stu­dent of elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing at the Col­lege of En­gi­neer­ing, Pune, ac­ing CAT was all about prac­tice. “This was my first at­tempt at CAT and I am de­lighted that I got a per­fect score. I took about 45 mock tests in the last six months be­fore the test. My plan for the test day was to first iden­tify the doable ques­tions and fo­cus on them till the end of the pa­per even if it meant leav­ing some ques­tions unan­swered. Data in­ter­pre­ta­tion and quan­ti­ta­tive abil­ity were all about prac­tice and quant was very scor­ing. I scored 99.9 in ver­bal abil­ity, 99.86 in data in­ter­pre­ta­tion and 99.96 in quan­ti­ta­tive abil­ity,” Choud­hary says.

Delhi’s Rahul Sharma feels get­ting 100 per­centile was all about han­dling the pres­sure with ease. Sharma, who works with man­age­ment coach­ing cen­tre Ca­reer Launcher, has a PG diploma in man­age­ment from IIM Ahmedabad and took the test for the third time. “My idea was to be­lieve in my plan and fo­cus on the test se­ries. The test had no sur­prises and was on the lines of CAT 2015. But I was well pre­pared for any changes this year,” he says.

SHUTTERSTOCK

An exit test is ‘an es­sen­tial tool for meet­ing the ba­sic ob­jec­tives of qual­ity and safe physi­cians for the so­ci­ety,’ say ex­perts.

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