CET: Proposing a NEET Idea

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I have had this presentation made by Dr. Avinash Supe, Professor and HOD, Department of Gastrosurgery, KEM Hospital and Seth GS Medical College and was waiting for the right time to publish it online. It seems like the time is now here!

Knowing how the Google Docs to WordPress thingy does not always work smoothly, here is a copy of the original presentation as well:

I do not own the rights to this presentation and am using it with permission from Dr. Supe. If you intend to use it for any other purposes please get in touch with Dr. Supe. You can email him at avisupe AT gmail DOT com. Or get in touch with him on Facebook. He accepted my friend invite in a few minutes!

Download for informational purposes only. Please respect copyright. Examination Reforms Proposed by MCI

In this presentation Dr. Supe makes a compelling argument for the examination reforms proposed by the MCI. However, it has not quite panned out the way one would have expected it to…

I especially like the idea of institution of an MCI administered licentiate examination that would act as a grand unifier of medical students all across the country with the stamp of Indian Medical Graduate (the USMLE will then have to rename the International Medical Graduates to something else… but on second thoughts, they might not, as well, considering the fact that most IMGs are Indians anyways). This would demand a certain level of uniformity of syllabus and testing patterns all over the nation, which is sorely lacking. While this ideal may be time taking and hard to realize, it is worth the wait and the work.

Another thing which would take the Indian medical pedagogy a step closer to the NBME/USMLE format would be the application of online tests. However, considering the fact that several rural institutes in India have poor connectivity and online examination centers are time taking to establish and monitor, I think this might be several years away. Now I do not want to be a Doubting Thomas, but, given the propensity of corruption to seep into the system, these online centers need to be strictly monitored to prevent any sort of malpractices here. The ProMetric centers used by the USMLE to administer their steps may be a good template to follow!

Now since I am more focused on the NEET-PG thing, I like the idea of using multimedia questions. Now that will not be possible without an online format. Only the pictures can be administered on the paper version of the test. But even so, clinical graphs, EKGs, CT Scans, X Rays, etc. can be given in order to test our clinical abilities (something which is really not done in the test formats as of now). However, as and when the system goes online, audio visual questions will give an extra edge to testing candidates. In this connection, I like the proposal that in case of ties, these clinical problem solving questions will be the tie breakers.

And that brings me to the next phase of this post.

In the present environment of medical teaching (in most colleges), it would be nothing but a disaster to introduce this examination format without some heavy duty medical education reforms at first. The MCI should not take the easy way out of just issuing a few model question sets. In India, as unfortunate as it sounds, the situation is pretty grim. There are few, if any medical schools, that teach using a problem based learning pattern. Most of our knowledge is obtained via the conventional rote based studying, as information passes from the mouth of the teacher to the ear of the student without passing through the brains of either.

If the MCI institutes such radical measures in the setting of this educational background, it will be very unfair to the students. While I believe that this system should change, I also strongly advocate that the students get enough time to adapt to this change. It goes without saying that the half a decade of learning we do in medical school, will need a lot of unlearning before one can crack these problem based exams.

The important thing in this presentation are towards the end. The proposed time table for the half-a-decade long reality survival show:

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Is it just me or does this seem a LOT like the US system? And what exactly are we going to do in the Electives period? Knowing medical students, they will take a crap elective so that they can do their mugging in peace until and unless a way is found to make them accountable for this period. I also think this would be a great time to give some research exposure. There, I said it. Integrating medical research with medical education. This seems like a nice little period to put in a research elective which will be taken into account during the selection to post graduation course. Also, this is the only way we medical students can actually get some hands on, real time training in doing medical research. Another point which supports my claim is that during the year long internship, students get enough clinical experience, as it is… so why not use this phase to get them interested in Medical Research? Opportunities of working on short term projects for the ICMR or other prestigious institutes could be handed out on a proficiency basis, and a remuneration could be given as an incentive to apply to these competitive elective programs. While this would mean more work for the scientists and physician researchers, this would surely be a firm step forward in producing more R & D people from the Indian Medical corpus.

In hindsight, these are the best of times, these are the worst of times… what do you think?

Skeptic Oslerphile, Scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases. Interests include: Emerging Infections, Public Health, Antimicrobial Resistance, One Health and Zoonoses, Diarrheal Diseases, Medical Education, Medical History, Open Access, Healthcare Social Media and Health2.0. Opinions are my own!

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