All prospective medical (and other health sciences) students are required to complete the Health Sciences Placement Test. The Health Sciences Placement Test is managed by the Health Sciences Consortium under the auspices of the Committee of Deans of the various Faculties of Health Sciences in the country. The Department of Health’s guidelines determine that the annual intake of students should as far as possible reflect the population composition of the country.
Prof Gerhard Lindeque, Chairperson of the School of Medicine at the University of Pretoria, explains that the selection of prospective medical students takes place during the year before they start with their studies at UP.
The selection process takes various parameters into account, i.e. the results obtained in the Health Sciences Placement Test and the aggregate of the Grade 11 results ( note: the calculation of the aggregate is done by taking the actual final marks scored in four identified subjects plus the best two other subjects, and not the number of distinctions obtained.) Furthermore extracurricular achievement is also taken into account. All these results are then converted according to a set formula and a Selection Ranking Order Index (SRI) is calculated for each applicant. The various learner applicants are listed (and selected) according to their relevant SRI’s. Student applicants are evaluated on the results obtained in their courses at tertiary level.
He further explains, “At UP, students are selected in two broad categories - school leavers (learners) and students who already have tertiary experience (www.up.ac.za/medselect). To be considered for possible selection, school leavers need an APS (Admission Point Score) of at least 35 or more. The final scores in six subjects, i.e. Mathematics, Physical Sciences, two languages, (of which one has to be English), and the best two other subjects are used for the calculation of the APS. Life Orientation is not included in this calculation. Outstanding learners apply and the general performance category for these applicants boasts school leavers with an APS between 39 to 42.”
As mentioned above, applicants who comply with the minimum criteria as explained are listed according to their SRI scores, or the results obtained at tertiary level. The top achievers in the different categories are provisionally selected on the basis of these merit lists. UP compiles a waiting list of applicants who fall just below the cut-off points. All other students, whose names fall below the second cut-off point, are informed in time that their applications have not been successful.
“Should an unsuccessful applicant subsequently obtain even eight or nine distinctions in the final matric examination, it will not influence the initial selection result, as these applicants were already informed before the matric exams that their applications had been unsuccessful,” Prof. Lindeque says.
“However, candidates who were provisionally successful in their application cannot perform poorly in their Grade 12 final examinations as the initial APS on which they had been evaluated may not drop with more than 3 points in the final matric exam. The final rating code of Mathematics, Physical Sciences and the two languages may also not be lower than a 5 (60% - 69%). Should applicants not comply with these criteria in their final matric results, they unfortunately will loose their places in the medical selection list and the next person(s) on the waiting list will be selected” he concludes.