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 (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.
PREPARING FOR THE TEST
The NMAT is intended to measure mental and academic skills that are regarded as necessary in the successful pursuit of medical education, and possibly in the profession itself. You, the prospective test taker, may have learned a wide array of mental and academic skills, but unless you know definitely which ones to use on which part of the NMAT, you will not perform in the test as well as you should.
UNDERSTANDING THE NMAT
Test taking will be greatly improved with the use of a practice set that, more or less, reflects the content and test length of the NMAT and the skills that the test measures. The practice test will help you know what each particular subtest is about, and what it measures by analyzing the information, concepts, and principles involved in the items.
The brief description of the NMAT in the previous section gives you an idea of the relative difficulty of the subtests. Part I requires more of innate abilities. The items in any of the four subtests of Part I measure a primary aptitude. Basic concepts or principles can be found in the items presented. In Part II, the items in any of the four subtests, with the exception of recall items, require the use of complex abilities such as application and analysis. This is where Part II will require references and note taking. For example, in the practice test, a problem in physics that requires the use of a formula will need your ability to recall the formula and apply it. It is, therefore, good practice to note down your analysis of the problem. A formula has a number of variables, and it is likely to appear in similar problems involving the other variables.
MANAGEMENT OF STUDY TIME
There are about three months between the registration for the NMAT and the administration of the test. Apportion your time wisely so that you can cover all the areas included In Part II. Your practice can be a good indicator of your weak areas. Early in your preparation to take the NMAT, you should try to answer all the questions in your practice set. Tick off or note all the items where you have difficulty understanding and getting the correct answers. Then reread your notes or reference books and analyze why your answers differ from the correct answer. Do your review systematically so you proceed by sections. After you have finished reviewing your weak areas, you should now be ready to take the NMAT.
To prepare yourself to take the test under time pressure, take your practice set and simulate the actual test time which is 3 hours for Part I and 2 ½ hours for Part II.
After answering the test under time pressure, score your test against the Answer Key. If you get 75% of the items correctly, you are in good shape and ready to take the NMAT. Lower than 75% correct answers will mean the need to improve your base information level on the various subtests and to sharpen your application and/or analytical skills.
CAUTION: The Practice Set is meant to guide you in your review and to provide you with an opportunity to simulate the NMAT testing procedure. Do not memorize the test questions and the answers in the answer key. The NMAT you will take will not include the same questions you see in the Practice Set.
Part I of the NMAT yields five scores, one for each of the four aptitude subtests and their summative score, the APT Composite. Similarly, Part II yields five scores, one for each of the four special subject areas and their summative score, the SA Composite. The General Performance Score, or GPS, is the summative score derived from the eight subtests. Click here to view an image of the Examinee Report Form (ERF) on which the NMAT scores are printed.
The results on the test are converted to standard scores from normalized scales which have points ranging from 200 to 800 and midpoints of 500. These scales were mathematically derived from the NMAT performance of the norm group. The test, therefore, is norm-referenced. The test results of examinees are automatically compared to those of the norm group which has mean scores of 500 (coincident to the midpoint 500) and a standard deviation of 100. In addition, a percentile rank scale was generated specifically for the General Performance Score (GPS) for purposes of ranking. This scale has points ranging from 1- to 99+, with a midpoint of 50 which-corresponds to the midpoint of 500 in the normalized standard score scales.
An examinee’s raw score or number of correct answers in a subtest is converted to its equivalent standard score. The eight subtests have a common normalized scale. This makes possible the comparison of reported scores across the eight subtests.
The APT Composite and SA Composite are the summative raw scores of Part I and Part II, respectively, which are then converted to their equivalent standard scores from a common normalized scale. The General Performance Score (GPS) is the summative raw score of the eight subtests which is converted to its equivalent standard score and corresponding percentile rank. Thus, the three standard scores are independent scores although they yield to the same interpretation of standard scores and percentile ranks.
Your NMAT score will be printed in the Examinee Report Form (ERF) and the original copy of this form will be mailed to you (or be ready for pick-up) six weeks after the test date. To safeguard the authenticity of the results, your score will also appear in the masterlist of test scores which will be sent to all Philippine medical schools, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Higher Education Regional Offices (HERO), and the office of the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges (APMC).
To maintain confidentiality, the ERF is given only to the examinee himself/herself. Phoned-in inquiries on an individual’s scores will not be entertained. In case an examinee needs a second copy of the ERF, he/she may file a written request for a second copy of the ERF at CEM after two weeks from the release of the test results. A minimal retrieval fee is charged for every copy of the ERF.
The CEM does not entertain rechecking of NMAT answer sheets. The results contained in the ERF and in the NMAT masterlists are official and are guaranteed free of discrepancies. Medical schools and Higher Education Regional Offices must therefore refer only to the masterlist for official scores. The masterlist safeguards the authenticity of the NMAT results.
NMAT consists of two parts – Part I is given in the morning and Part II in the afternoon. An examinee must sit for both parts of the test. If the examinee fails to sit for Part II of the test in the afternoon, he/she automatically waives the reporting and release of his/her NMAT results. His/her answer sheet will not be processed and no official NMAT results will be released or received by the examinee.