The National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) is an instrument designed to upgrade the selection of applicants seeking admission to Philippine medical schools. It evolved from a widespread concern to screen qualified candidates aspiring for a medical degree. It intends to improve the quality of medical education in the country and envisions to elevate the medical profession to a level of competence through a careful evaluation of student potentials for future medical studies.
Pursuant to the Medical Act of 1959, the Board of Medical Education (BME), under DECS Order No. 52 series 1985 and in consultation with the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges Foundation, Inc. (APMC), required the NMAT as a prerequisite for admission in all medical schools nationwide beginning school year 1986 – 1987.
The Center for Educational Measurement, Inc. (CEM) has been authorized to manage the affairs and activities related to the operation of the NMAT since the first administration of the test in December 1985. With CEM’s experience as an educational testing agency, it was commissioned to develop the NMAT, ensure the reliability and validity of the test, and uphold the confidentiality of results and integrity of its administration.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE TEST
The NMAT is a two-part test: Part I consists of tests of mental ability and Part II tests, of academic proficiency. The four subtests that compose Part I measure aptitudes that were found to have significant correlations with academic performance of medical students, while the four subtests that compose Part II measure subject proficiency in areas which are part of the academic background required of applicants to the medical course.
The subtests in Part I are as follows:
- Verbal. This subtest consists of two types of test items, namely, word analogies and reading comprehension, which measure verbal ability in English. Items in reading comprehension are based on the content of portions of published materials covering a wide range of topics, e.g., social, scientific, medical, philosophical, literary.
- Inductive Reasoning. This subtest consists of number, letter, and figural series and figure grouping items. These items are known to measure induction which is the ability to form and test a hypothesis directed at finding a principle with which to identify an element fitting a given relationship.
- Quantitative. This subtest consists of three types of items, namely, fundamental operations, problem solving, and data interpretation. These items are intended to measure general reasoning which is defined as the ability to organize and apply knowledge of basic mathematics and reasoning to find solutions for them.
- Perceptual Acuity. This subtest consists of three types of items, namely, hidden figure, mirror image, and identical information. Solutions to these items involve accuracy in visual perception, an ability linked to extensiveness of scanning, a cognitive style associated with meticulousness, concern with detail, and sharp, yet wide-ranging focus of attention.
The four subtests that compose Part II are Biology, Physics, Social Science, and Chemistry. Social Science includes items in psychology, sociology, and anthropology. The items in the four subtests are limited to the content coverage of the areas that are common and basic to the curricula of the degree programs considered as premedical courses. On the whole, these four subtests measure complex mental abilities because solution to the items require the use of the different cognitive skills of knowledge, comprehension, application (process), analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.