THERE will be no entrance exams for Medicine freshmen next year as part of a transition process, following a decision by the University to finally transfer admissions to the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery to the Office for Admissions (OFAD).

Medicine Dean Jesus Valencia said the UST Board of Trustees, the highest policymaking body of the University, ordered the transfer of the processing of admissions of first-year medicine students to the OFAD earlier this year.

Medicine had been the only faculty or college in UST handling its own admission process.

“There’s a transition period and we have to facilitate and minimize the variables, kaya wala na munang entrance exam for Medicine this year,” Valencia said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

A committee of admissions will screen applicants this year, he said. The criteria are as follows: 60 percent from the average college scholastic rating, 30 percent from the National Medicine Admissions Test (NMAT), and 10 percent from other factors, such as institutional loyalty, alumni parents, certificates, and the college or university where the applicant took his pre-medicine course.

Five percent of the criteria used to be allocated for the entrance exam, but for this year, the five percent will be added to the NMAT, which used to account for 25 percent.

Valencia said applicants were not required to take an admission test in the past because the committee of admissions prioritized the NMAT results. Thus, removing the entrance exam will not affect the objectivity of the committee and the credibility of the institution, he said.

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“The entrance exam for Medicine students was not an absolute prerequisite. It was optional. We consider the UST entrance exam as basically a psychological test,” Valencia said.

The NMAT is a two-part examination consisting of tests of mental ability and of academic proficiency, and has been a prerequisite for admission to all medical schools nationwide since 1986. The test is administered by the Center for Educational Measurement, Inc., which also developed it, as authorized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

This year, the NMAT exams were set on April 6 and Nov. 23.

Online application to the Faculty of Medicine and Surgey will be from Oct. 16 until Nov. 15. The submission of required documents will be from Nov. 17 to Nov. 29.

Back to June?

The Faculty of Medicine might start the next school year earlier due to problems that may arise if it follows the new academic calendar, which starts August next year and ends in May 2016.

Unlike other medical schools, internship is not part of the curriculum in UST. Medicine students graduate first before they start their practicum, hence they will have less time to review for the August board exams compared with graduates from other universities.

According to Valencia, the Professional Regulation Commission did not change the schedule of the physician board examinations since there are two exams, and UST graduates can also take the February test.

But Valencia said this would pose a disadvantage to the University’s graduates since they would have to wait months before taking the licensure exam.

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The faculty is studying three options: start the academic year in June, July, or in August. It is also looking into the possibility of removing the semestral break for Medicine students.

“As much as we have a plan already, we cannot impose it because it is not yet official. Everything is not yet final,” Valencia said. Bianca Kristin A. Taray

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