Posted on 06-08-2007
Filed Under (Examination, teaching) by gashed

The Irish Independent reports on the government’s decision to limit the points required for entry into medicine to 450 points (Universities are looking to alter this to 480 points).  Irish students complete a Leaving Certificate examination at the end of their 2 year senior cycle, generally they sit 7 subject exams, 6 of which they use to matriculate.  If the subjects are taken at honours level any percentage over 90% is called an A1 and is awarded 100 points.  Lower percentages result in lower points.  The points of 6 subjects are added together to form an overall points total.  The students apply for entry onto a college course and those with the highest points are accepted.This ‘points race’ has placed tremendous pressure on these students; however with the expanded range of 3rd level courses, the increase in the number of places and the more flexible routes (often more expensive) into courses this pressure has been relieved for many students.  The exception is the medical courses.  Caps on the number of medical places on offer mean there is still a extremely high points requirement for these courses.  The question has often been asked does obtaining 600 points mean you are better suited to be a doctor than someone with 560 points.  The government has responded by looking to allow anyone with over 450 points to sit a separate aptitude test to determine who should gain access to these courses.It is not clear to me how extra examinations will relieve pressure on students.  Certainly it is good news for grind schools as students will flock to be prepared for these tests.  Is a measure of IQ in the form of these tests a good barometer to determine who is best equipped to become a doctor or dentist?  What does this say about our Leaving Certificate or education system that it does not allow us to select students that have the potential to become doctors?  Why is a combined score of IQ and LC be preferably to LC alone?  Is there not a concern that IQ tests have a reputation of being socially exclusive?  Does this evaluation of suitability look at the crucial traits required to be a great doctor; empathy, communication, decisiveness etc?  Are we just following the

UK and

Australia for no particular reason? 

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