The Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences has proposed creating a new test as an additional selection tool for entry into clinical programmes.
The ‘Clinical Selection Test’ would be a three-hour long exam that includes content from POPLHLTH 111, CHEM 110, and BIOSCI 107 papers. According to the faculty, the test would be open to all 2020 first-year students, and would complement Semester GPAs in the selection process.
“Due to COVID disruptions to teaching in Semester One, we believe the conditions are such that we are likely to see higher than expected grades amongst a proportion of our students – this has already been evident in terms tests,” says Associate Professor Bridget Kool, the faculty’s Associate Dean (Academic). “We are also mindful that students are having vastly different experiences of remote learning, which may mean our most disadvantaged students may produce grades that are lower than expected due to a range of factors including access to quiet study space, lack of access to devices and secure internet.”
The proposed test is part of the faculty’s review of the limitations for entry to clinical programmes. The limitations must be presented at the University’s Education Committee and submitted to the University Council, both of which incorporate student representation.
Some students have already expressed concerns regarding the potential timing of the exam, and the fact that an extra exam would be added onto student workloads in the midst of a global pandemic. The exam will take place at the end of the first week of the second semester, with the UCAT exam taking place just weeks before this. However, the faculty has affirmed that the Clinical Selection Test will not clash with any other Semester Two assessments.
The rationale for placing the test in the first week of the second semester is “to have the proposed CST held as close as possible to the exam period in order that content is fresh in students mind, and they will have their ‘final assessment’ grades back and will know what areas to focus on,” says Kool. “In addition, we want to avoid mid-semester break, as we
know students are likely to want to travel home, work or chill.”
Despite this, multiple students have cited growing concerns for their mental health, as the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic are combined with the pressures of intense assessment. Before the exam is set in stone it must still pass numerous rounds of approval at which the student voice has an opportunity to speak on these concerns.