Literature to be included on medical-school entrance tests

VietNamNet Bridge – Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien has drawn public attention by suggesting that medical and pharmaceutical schools should admit students based on their high school finals and university entrance exam results, including tests in literature.



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Under the proposal, students registering to study at medical schools would have to sit national high school finals in math, literature and foreign languages, and the university entrance exam in biology.

Students registering to study at pharmaceutical schools would have to take the national high school finals in math, literature and foreign languages, and the university entrance exam in chemistry.

The marks students receive on the literature exam will play an important role in deciding whether they can enroll in medical schools.

Under the current enrollment procedures, which has been used for decades, candidates for medical schools take three exams – math, chemistry and biology.

Tien said that the decision would help schools choose students with deep multi-disciplinary knowledge who would be ethical and humane.

Tien complained that she sometimes meets medical staff and officials who make many grammar and spelling mistakes when writing documents.

Nguoi lao dong newspaper has quoted an expert as saying that many doctors are not ethical, a very important characteristic of a medical worker, blaming the current educational system, which focuses solely on natural sciences and does include social sciences.

“In many cases, the prescriptions written by doctors are unreadable, while their explanations are not understandable,” he noted. “How can such doctors cure people of their diseases?”

Newsweek, in an article published recently, reported that medical schools in the US tend to favor students with good knowledge in social sciences.

The article quoted Gail Morrison, the head of the enrollment division of the medical school of University of Pennsylvania, as saying that the ability to calculate the speed of a free-falling object when someone drops the object from a tree would not help produce a better doctor.

Medical schools in the US tend to look for candidates who have both analytical ability and people skills.

However, many people don’t think having a literature exam is a good idea. Thu Trang, a member of an education forum, noted that literature would not necessarily lead to better medical ethics.

“Natural science researchers are also altruistic, even though they do not study literature,” she said. 

Thanh Mai
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