Australian Medical Students' Association (AMSA) National President, Mr Rob Mitchell, today said expensive private training courses threaten to undermine the integrity of undergraduate admission testing for entry into medical school.
Media reports today suggest prospective medical students are paying as much as $1,700 to attend private training courses purported to increase their chances of scoring well on the Undergraduate Medical Admission Test (UMAT).
"The emergence of UMAT training courses threatens to undermine an admissions test that purports to standardise the entry process to medical school," Mr Mitchell said.
"AMSA believes the trend for secondary school students to train for the UMAT sets an inappropriate tone for the commencement of studies in medicine.
"Exploitative, commercially-driven training programs are fostering a powerful pressure to perform well in the UMAT test.
"I am saddened to see such a competitive environment emerging amongst students who should be focusing on their Year 12 studies."
AMSA also holds serious concerns about the equity of access to UMAT preparation courses.
"They are expensive and infrequently delivered in rural and remote areas, thereby depriving many potential medical students of the chance to undertake the same courses that their wealthier urban counterparts may be attending," Mr Mitchell said.
The Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER), the body that administers the UMAT, has warned that there is no advantage in training for the test.
AMSA has recently written to the UMAT management committee suggesting means by which it might maintain fairness and equity in the medical school selection process.