Petition to Retain Semester System

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Date: April 15th, 2019

Article: Petition to Retain Semester Grading

From: DIMC Students and Parents of 2nd Year

To: The Respective Administrators of the Medical Institution


With Honorous Regard,

We, the 2nd-year students (with the support of our parents) of Dow International Medical College humbly request that the administration hear our concerns in respect to the deliberations over the matter of the semester vs annual exam schedule. As students with foreign outlook, we feel an obligation to bring to attention the difficulty we may face as a result of a suddenly implemented annual system in the middle of our 2nd year.

Having already completed our first year in accord with the semester examination schedule, it may be assumed that it is already understood by all parties involved that a change in the system which we were conditioned for initially would certainly require stressful adjustment and result in the onslaught of confusion during a very critical time in our academic progress.

More profoundly, the student body wishes to present the case that an annual examination would have devastating effects on the ability for the curriculum to be adequately retained and properly learned by students. Already in semester-wise examination, there seems to be an infinite amount of knowledge viable for testing and such a limited time to revise it all. At least the semester basis allows students the opportunity to grasp the material while it is constrained to the first half of the year. On the other hand, an annular examination would require that students attempt to revise double the material in the same amount of time unless the prep leave were to be extended, in which case, students would be at a loss for guidance for an extended period of time.

As students of DIMC, we very confidently and intentionally chose to take part in an institution which caters to international students or internationally-aspiring students. This is a tremendous part of the appeal of this university. We plan to take international standardized tests such as the USMLE or the PLAB, etc, and have been genuinely impressed with the intuitive modular system which was carefully designed to give students earlier preparation for such examinations. Although such a curriculum is undeniably helpful, it is still felt that more could be done to prepare students for their endeavor to become medical professionals; an annual system which would give students even less of an idea of what is expected of them is not the solution in our perspective.

Currently, the only idea that a DIMC student gets of what the final examination will be like, is via modular assessments. Other than that, we receive no intermediate testing (ex: quizzes, projects, or even homework) to verify our mastery of the topics being taught. In foreign institutions, there is a clear outline of the syllabus handed out and explained to students in person by the professor before the course is initiated, extensive projects for exploration of concept and theory, and study guides are made by teachers in order to help students organize their studies. Students are given quizzes after learning a smaller amount of topics, and then receive a grade in order for them to have an idea of where they stand in terms of their understanding of the material. This allows for students to navigate their study of the material efficiently and grants them the opportunity to seek help before it is too late. Students who receive feedback through more frequent testing achieve a deeper understanding of their own weaknesses.

By contrast, DIMC students have never received the marks sheet (with questions) of any of their modular exams so there is no way for us to know what we might have answered incorrectly or where our confusions lie, what questions to ask, etc. When a teacher assigns homework, it is usually only a couple of questions left unanswered at the end of the lecture. When a teacher would create a practice test, he or she rarely ever let students keep the questions for further study. Even most local universities offer their students homework assignments which are subsequently graded and given back. It seems as if there is no opportunity to learn from mistakes, only a blind rush to cram as much factual information as possible without any concept. An annular system shall only serve to reinforce this dangerous methodology.

It can be logically concluded that annual examinations will be significantly less beneficial to the understanding of the content by the student. Afterall, more content and less time to cover it implies that students will need to cut details and difficult concepts from their study routine in order to be sure of a generally comprehensive understanding of the entire year’s worth of material.

Even if by some point, annual examinations become commonplace in Pakistan, this kind of blanket approach to covering concepts is particularly hazardous to the target audience, being, students planning to take foreign exams-- in which questions are asked with the assumption that the student in question has studied the material with attention to detail and theory. This will result in a very serious dilemma to students and their families over whether it might be better to avoid the risk and transfer instead, as none of the students of this batch nor their families ever had the ability to foresee such a drastic change before applying.

We thank you for your time and consideration. We are truly hopeful of an ever-improving quality of education for our batch as well that of our school’s newest students. Having entered after us, they have the advantage of already understanding that they will participate in an annual system. As proud medical students of DIMC, we will be more than willing to comply with the administration in any cooperative arrangement for the betterment of this institution.


Provided, are the signatures of our 2nd year class and parental guardians to verify this petition.


DIMC Students of 2nd Year