Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 28, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 1:58 pm

128 top scorers fail to get into medical school

KUALA LUMPUR: As many as 128 students with top grades for their STPM and matriculation examinations failed to get into medicine in public universities because of the stiff competition and the limited number of places available.

Among the sciences, competition for the 779 places for medicine was the toughest – 14% of applicants with the maximum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.0 who put medicine as their first choice did not get a place.

Many students with excellent results also failed to get into other competitive science courses like dentistry and pharmacy because of the higher cut-off points this year, partly due to a spillover of students who missed the cut for medicine.

This year, an amazing number of students – 1,774 – obtained the maximum CGPA, and more than half of them applied to do medicine

Higher Education Department director Prof Datuk Dr Hassan Said attributed the keen competition to the high number of top scorers in last year’s STPM (Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia) examination and matriculation programme.

“The cut-off point for medicine is 4.0 this year compared to 3.88 last year. This shows how well students have to do to secure a place,” he told reporters when announcing university admission figures yesterday.

This is despite the fact that the number of places for medicine has increased from 744 last year to 779 this year, or up by almost 5%. Of those offered places to do medicine, 439 are bumiputras, 297 Chinese and 43 Indians.

The cut-off point for pharmacy has also gone up from a CGPA of 3.83 last year to 3.94 this year; dentistry from 3.78 to 3.94; and law from 3.38 to 3.50.

Under the merit system for admission into public universities introduced two years ago, STPM and matriculation students are put on the same master list and students with the best results will gain admission into the respective courses. They have to indicate eight choices in order of preference in their application forms.

Of the 85,966 students who applied for admission into 14 public universities, 84% qualified for entry based on the minimum requirement of 2.0 CGPA but only 45% were offered places. Out of the 38,892 students offered places, 63.8% are bumiputras, 30.3% Chinese and 5.9% Indians.

There were marginal increases in the number of places offered to bumiputras and Indians but a slight decline in the number of places offered to Chinese students.

“We have also achieved our target of obtaining a 60:40 science to arts ratio in public universities,” Prof Hassan said, adding that 60.8% of the enrolment was for courses in the sciences and 39.2% in the arts.

A very high percentage of Chinese students – 84% – who applied for places in the sciences were successful, compared to 58.7% for bumiputras and 60.2% for Indians.

Elaborating on the merit system, Prof Hassan said in cases where students’ CGPAs were tied, their individual component papers would be taken into consideration

“If there is still a tie, we will consider their participation in extra-curricular activities.

“In a scenario where even their extra-curricular activities are equal, then we will look at their SPM grades.”

Commenting on the common complaints from students that they were not offered courses of their choice, he said there were many applicants who applied for courses that required a higher CGPA than what they had.

“If you list medicine as five of your eight choices then you may be offered other courses if your CGPA or papers do not meet the cut-off point,” Prof Hassan said.

He advised students to be wise when selecting a course of study as the cut-off points applied to courses, regardless of universities.

This meant that if a student did not meet the grade for a particular course and had it listed as five of his options, then only the three remaining options would be considered.

Often, he added, students with good results were given a course that they did not apply for if they failed to meet the cut-off point for their choices. Their course would be based on what any of the universities wished to offer them.

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