Lahore : As many as 65,155 candidates including 41,563 female and 23,592 male, once again appeared in Medical and Dental Colleges’ admission test (MDCAT) which was re-conducted by the University of Health Sciences (UHS) on Sunday.
The Punjab government announced the re-conduct of MDCAT earlier this month after a high level inquiry found evidence of leakage of MDCAT paper of the test held on August 20. The test, started at 0900 hrs, went of peacefully at 28 centres set up in Lahore, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Gujrat, Gujranwala Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Multan, D.G.Khan, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawalpindi, Sialkot and Hassan Abdal. Candidates started reaching their centres as early as 6 o’clock in the morning. More than 5500 invigilators and supervisory staff performed duties at these centres. All the centres were sealed at 8:15 am.
A large number of police personnel were deployed at the centres to prevent any disruption of the examination. Ambulances and fire brigades were also made available at the centres to counter any untoward incident. Besides, close circuit TV (CCTV) cameras, mobile phone jammers and walk-through gates were installed at major centres. Body search of the candidates was also conducted. There were proper arrangements for the disabled students, parking and waiting area facilities for the parents of the candidates. Back-up power generators were also provided at some of the centres.
On the direction of Chief Minister Punjab, senior bureaucrats and government officers including provincial secretaries monitored the test. In Lahore, a total of 12573 female and 6705 male candidates appeared in the test at the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education examination halls at Lawrence Road, Punjab University examination halls at Wahdat Road, Government Comprehensive Girls High School, Wahdat Road, Divisional Public School, Model Town, Govt. Postgraduate College for Women Samanabad, University of Education, Township, Govt. College of Science, Wahdat Road and Lahore College for Women University, Jail Road.
UHS Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Faisal Masud visited various centres and monitored the arrangements. In Rawalpindi, 7612 candidates appeared in the test.
The number of candidates in Multan was 9969, Faisalabad 6643, Gujranwala 3382, Bahawalpur 3221, Sargodha 2689 Sahiwal 3553, Gujrat 1570, D.G. Khan 2496, Rahim Yar Khan 1997, Hassan Abdal 685 and in Sialkot 2060 candidates appeared in the test.
The question paper prepared by UHS this time was of single colour code instead of four different colour codes.
The candidates were allowed to bring clip boards with them but these clip boards along with the admittance cards were confiscated by the invigilation staff after the test to avert smuggling of questions outside the hall.
Talking to the media persons at Punjab University, Wahdat Road centre, UHS VC, Prof Dr Faisal Masud, said that the re-conduct of MDCAT was important as it would ensure merit and justice.
“We are aware of the hardship and agony these candidates and their parents have faced yet to ensure justice and fair play, the re-conduct of MDCAT was crucial”, he said.
He further said that new standard operating procedures were developed and fresh multi-tiered security measures were taken for each and every step of preparation, printing, packaging and transportation of MDCAT paper.
“We have done this in just 22 days although it took 4 to 5 months last time. We developed new question bank as the previous bank had become doubtful”, UHS VC said adding that the system had been made more stringent and fool proof.
UHS VC said that medical and dental colleges have always challenged the brightest and best-prepared minds. He added that admissions were consistently becoming more competitive.
“MDCAT results are extremely important. They carry 50 per cent weightage in merit as per the formula of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council. They are proof that the candidate can handle the academic rigors of medical or dental college”, the VC opined.
Later in the afternoon, UHS uploaded the answer key to the question paper on its website www.uhs.edu.pk. With the help of this key, candidates can calculate their scores themselves. The official result will be announced within a week.
In the next stage, those candidates who will score 84 per cent or above aggregate marks in accordance with the formula of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council will be eligible to apply on Open Merit basis and will opt for the colleges of their choice by submitting admission forms from November 08 to 15.
These forms, along with the Prospectus, will be available free of cost from UHS, Lahore, Nishter Medical University, Multan, and Rawalpindi Medical University, Rawalpindi, during the said dates.
The first selection list for medical/dental colleges will be displayed on November 27, whereas classes in medical colleges will commence on December 04.
There are 3405 MBBS seats in 17 public sector medical colleges and 216 BDS seats in 03 public dental colleges of the Punjab. Besides, there are 2640 MBBS and 525 BDS seats in 22 private sector medical colleges and 09 dental colleges affiliated with UHS.