Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 263-264  

Postgraduate entrance test reforms

SV Parulekar 
 Professor and Head of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Seth G.S. Medical College & K.E.M. Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
S V Parulekar
Professor and Head of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Seth G.S. Medical College & K.E.M. Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra

How to cite this article:
Parulekar S V. Postgraduate entrance test reforms.J Postgrad Med 2011;57:263-264

How to cite this URL:
Parulekar S V. Postgraduate entrance test reforms. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2011 [cited 2023 Jun 1 ];57:263-264
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There were two interesting articles in this journal on common entrance test (CET) for admission to postgraduate medical courses, "comment on medical education" by Aggarwal [1] and "conduct of postgraduate medical entrance examinations: amendments needed by Bhan. [2] We have been quite concerned for a few years about the state of medical graduate education and the selection process for postgraduate courses. There are some issues that need to be addressed, so that the selection process become more productive and the result will be more satisfying for the resident doctors, the medical teachers, and the patients treated by the former.

The CET is the sole deciding factor for an entry into the postgraduate training programmes. The students spend a large part of their internship period preparing for the CET, that is, solving multiple choice questions (MCQs), neglecting the internship in that process. As a result, this essential part of their training remains inadequate and they are less capable as doctors than they should be. The focus needs to be shifted from CET-alone to CET plus other factors which are essential components of qualities to be possessed by resident doctors.

The scope of the CET does not include assessment for the aptitude for the subject that the entrant desires to specialize in. The only deciding factor is the marks obtained in CET, and the entrant accepts the subject available to him/her, not necessarily the subject he is good at or the one he likes. Since it would be difficult to assess in depth the expertise of the student in the desired subject, it would be useful to consider the marks obtained by the student in that subject in university examination. An aptitude test would also be useful, because that would exclude students from surgical courses if they are not likely to acquire the dexterity required despite extensive training or practice. Students need just 50% marks to be eligible for appearing for CET. Hence, they tend to neglect their undergraduate education and concentrate on the CET. An ability to solve MCQs does not reflect abilities as a good doctor. A postgraduate needs to be a good doctor too in order to be able to give comprehensive care to his patients. This problem can be resolved by keeping 50% marks of the CET reserved for a percentage of marks obtained by the student in all subjects in the university examination.

CET must include practical assessment too. In order to bring objectivity, transparency, and uniformity to it, and to avoid claims of arbitrary marking and malpractice in assessment, objective structured clinical examination and objective structured practical examination should be used in practical assessment. It is also possible to use computer-generated interactive modules for complex assessments. Resident doctors often display a lack of communication skills and managerial skills, both of which are very important in their management of patients. The CET should include questions on these subjects, so that the entrants are guaranteed to possess these skills.


1Aggarwal S. Comment on medical education. J Postgrad Med 2009;55:318-9.
2Bhan A. Conduct of postgraduate medical entrance examinations: Amendments needed. J Postgrad Med 2010;56:332-3.

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