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New system widens net for potential medical students

Students will no longer need straight As in their Leaving Cert to study medicine, it was announced yesterday.

From 2009 onwards, a new system for selecting medicine students will see university places allocated through a combination of points and an admission test.

The reforms will replace the current system, whereby students seeking to study medicine can only enter the course on the basis of their Leaving Cert results.

Those with more than 480 points will be eligible to apply to sit the test, while weighted credit will be given to a Leaving Cert performance of up to 550 points.

Sixth-year Leaving Cert students who think they are likely to reach the minimum threshold in their upcoming exams will sit the test in autumn/winter of 2008.

The test will not be curriculum based, but will be expected to cover areas such as critical reasoning, interpersonal understanding and written communication.

The result of the admissions test will be combined with the points achieved in the Leaving Cert exam to determine the place a candidate achieves.

A new working group of representatives from the medical education institutes and the Higher Education Authority is currently being established to select the most appropriate admission test available.