According to a report by The Daily Star, over 1.16 lakh candidates took the medical admission test last Friday. Being one of the aspirants and experiencing the chaos surrounding the test, I am glad that I could sit for the exam, and return home safely.
Owing to all the hassles I faced while receiving an equivalence certificate, and getting my Delhi board certificate attested, I was assigned a centre in Rajshahi College. I had to travel all the way from Dhaka to Rajshahi for the exam. Travelling at a time when Covid-19 cases on the rise again was worrying, to say the least.
The movement also meant that I had to acclimatise in a new study environment. Coming miles away from home, with limited resources available, added more to the mental pressure. We were asked to report at the centre by 8:00 am. Considering the traffic congestion, I started early and reached the venue by 7:30 am. I arrived to see that candidates were already standing in a line and there was no way to ensure that social distancing is maintained.
I later talked to several of my friends in Dhaka who shared similar concerns over conducting a public examination during a surge in Covid-19 cases. Most centres did not check the temperatures of the students before they entered the hall, and many were not wearing masks.
I was one of the last ones to enter the exam hall as I waited at a distance to avoid the crowd. While this was relatively easy in a place like Rajshahi, many of the candidates in Dhaka did not have this option. In this case, increasing the number of centres would have been an effective measure for crowd management.
Some of my friends also suggested that multiple slots could have been an alternative, considering the large number of aspirants this year. Moreover, the seating arrangement inside the exam hall offered little scope for social distancing. Teachers and invigilators failed to ensure proper evacuation of students, which led to a haphazard scenario in front of most centres.
The test results were published yesterday and I have managed to secure a seat in Mugda Medical College, Dhaka. These public university admission tests are extremely competitive. As a student from an English medium background, it was quite difficult for me. Considering all the hard work that went behind this test, I am really happy that I made it.
As we enter a week of lockdown, I am skeptical of the exams that are to be conducted in the coming weeks. The need of this hour is to act responsibly and if the exams are to be conducted, I would urge the authorities to strictly ensure that all health guidelines are followed.
The author is a freelance journalist who likes reading, planning and scribbling. Write to her at