Doctors may have to pass twin tests to bag PG seats

Medical graduates will have to take two tests before they can pursue post-graduation, if a new proposal of the Medical Council of India (MCI) gets the nod.

In a recent meeting, the MCI proposed that the entrance exam for the post-graduate course, which assesses the theoretical knowledge gained during graduation, should be held immediately after the final MBBS exam and before the beginning of internship. Graduates will be expected to take the licentiate test, which will test them on practical understanding of medicine, after their internship.

At present, the PG entrance exam is held after internship and there is no licentiate test.

The decision to advance the PG entrance exam stems from numerous complaints that MBBS students don't take their internship seriously but instead get busy preparing for PG entrance tests. The last year of the five-and-a-half year MBBS course is set aside for internship.

MCI chairman Dr R K Srivastava told that the council discussed its vision document recently and will decide on the proposal shortly. According to the proposal, the exam will be held 4-6 weeks after the final MBBS exam and before the beginning of internship.

"The one-year internship is the time when students should get maximum exposure to patients. They should work in all departments and gets hands-on experience. Instead, students are so busy reading up theory for their PG tests that they bunk college during this period. This affects the learning process," said Dr Chikkananjappa, former president of the Karnataka Medical Council.

The proposed arrangement will work well too for candidates, as they would not have to go through the entire course material again for the PG entrance. "If the entrance exam is held immediately after the MBBS finals, all that students have studied would be fresh in their minds. Moreover, once the test is over, they can focus fully on internship," said an MCI officer from the PG studies department.

Dr Suranjana Basak, west zone coordinator of Save the Doctor campaign, said: "Unlike in the US or the UK, the entrance exams are mostly theory-based. Advancing the exam would make it easier as candidates will still be in touch with their books."

The PG entrance will be held online and might also undergo a makeover to include a component that will help candidates select the specialization at the master's level.

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