LAHORE - As many as 65,155 candidates (41,563 females and 23,592 males) appeared in the medical and dental colleges admission test for Punjab that was conducted by the University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore simultaneously in 13 cities of the province amid tight security on Sunday. Last year, 56,272 candidates appeared in the test.

The test started at 09:00am and went of peacefully at 28 centres set up in Lahore, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Multan, DG Khan, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawalpindi, Sialkot and Hassan Abdal. Candidates started reaching their centres as early as 06:00am. More than 5,500 invigilators and supervisory staff performed duties at these centres.

A large number of police personnel were deployed at the centres to prevent any disruption of the examination. Ambulances and fire brigades were also made available at the centres to counter any untoward incident. Besides, closed-circuit cameras, mobile phone jammers and walkthrough gates were installed at major centres. There were proper arrangements for the disabled students, parking and waiting area facilities for the parents of the candidates. Backup power generators were also provided at some of the centres.

The candidates and parents expressed their satisfaction on the arrangement made by UHS and the provincial government. Parents were seen reciting Holy Quran for the success of their children. No untoward incident was reported during the course of the test.

On the direction of the Punjab chief minister, senior bureaucrats and government officers monitored the test. In Lahore, a total of 12,573 female and 6,705 male candidates appeared in the test at the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education examination halls on Lawrence Road; Punjab University examination halls on Wahdat Road; Government Comprehensive Girls High School, Wahdat Road; Divisional Public School, Model Town; Government Postgraduate College for Women, Samanabad; University of Education, Township; Government College of Science, Wahdat Road and Lahore College for Women University, Jail Road. UHS Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Junaid Sarfraz Khan visited various centres and monitored the arrangements.

In Rawalpindi, 7,612 candidates appeared in the test. The number of candidates in Multan was 9,969, Faisalabad 6,643, Gujranwala 3,382, Bahawalpur 3,221, Sargodha 2,689, Sahiwal 3,553, Gujrat 1,570, DG Khan 2,496, Rahim Yar Khan 1,997, Hasan Abdal 685 and Sialkot 2,060.

Talking to newsmen on this occasion, the UHS VC said that medical and dental colleges had always challenged the brightest and best-prepared minds. He added that admissions were consistently becoming more competitive.

“MDCAT results are extremely important. They carry 50 per cent weightage in merit as per formula of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council. They are proof that the candidate can handle the academic rigours of medical or dental college,” the VC opined. He said that admission to private sector medical and dental colleges would also be regulated to ensure merit. “The UHS has made the process structured and transparent which is regularly reviewed to ensure that only the best candidate is admitted,” he said, adding the UHS believed that all candidates should have an equal opportunity to show their suitability for the MBBS and BDS programmes.

Later in the afternoon, the UHS uploaded answer keys to question papers of different colour codes on its website With the help of these keys, candidates can calculate their scores themselves. The official result will be announced within a week.

In the next stage, those candidates who will score 84 per cent or above aggregate marks in accordance with the formula of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council will be eligible to apply on Open Merit basis and will opt for the colleges of their choice by submitting admission forms from October 4 to October 14.

These forms, along with the prospectus, will be available free of cost from UHS, Lahore; Nishtar Medical University, Multan and Rawalpindi Medical University, Rawalpindi, during the said dates. The first selection list for medical/dental colleges will be displayed on October 30, whereas classes in medical colleges will commence on November 13. There are 3,405 MBBS seats in 17 public sector medical colleges and 216 BDS seats in three public dental colleges of the Punjab. Besides, there are 2,590 MBBS and 555 BDS seats in 21 private sector medical colleges and nine dental colleges affiliated with the UHS.