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Student Reviews

Medical school admissions in Portugal: unfair and unsquare

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 01 August 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:0308305a
  1. Tiago Villanueva, fifth year medical student1
  1. 1University of Lisbon

In my country, almost every secondary school student whose career prospects lie within the life sciences aspires to study medicine. But the truth is that every year only a small number of candidates are given the opportunity to go a step further and take on the commitment many see as an honour and a dream made real.

In most countries many students are inevitably left out because it is the natural consequence of any admissions system that attempts to select the brightest. The system in Portugal is not ensuring high standards of quality and might be responsible for allowing many students with unsuitable profiles to enter medicine.

How does the admission system work? In June, thousands of final year secondary school students take national examinations. There are around five written papers, one for each course taken that year. These exams are compulsory for anyone wishing to leave secondary school with a certificate and are …

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