Citing COVID-19 surge, students are asking to postpone medical board exams

August 24, 2021 - 5:09 PM
A health worker prepares Remdesivir for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient admitted in the chapel of Quezon City General Hospital turned into a COVID-19 ward amid rising infections, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, August 20, 2021. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

Students sought online signatures to help in their call to postpone the Physicians Licensure Exam this coming September amid the skyrocketing COVID-19 infections.

The Philippine Medical Students Association issued this unified plea online on August 23.

“We, the different medical and allied health councils, organizations, and individuals, fully support the PLE takersʻ pleas for reconsideration of scheduling and postponement of the Physician Licensure Examination in September 2021 amid the worst surge yet of active COVID-19 cases in the country,” it said.


Last August 23, the Department of Health reported a record-breaking 18,332 additional infections, which brought the total to over 1.86 million COVID-19 cases. Active cases also soared to an alarming 130,350.

READ: Philippines reports record virus cases as Delta variant spreads

These circumstances prompted the PMSA to appeal to postpone the coming licensure exam for the safety of the examinees, proctors and other people involved in the conduct of the activity.

“These dire circumstances pose a great danger not only to the examinees, but all examination proctors and administrators, and facility personnel, who will be potentially exposed to the virus, infected and affected with the disease,” they said.

“Thus, this threatens not only their health and safety but of their families, relatives, and the general public. The worsening health crisis also puts a heavy burden on the emotional and mental well-being of the examinees on top of the taxing physical and academic demands of reviewing, which may cause them not to be in proper shape and health to take the exams,” they added.

The PMSA also hoped that should the Professional Regulation Commission decide to postpone the exam, this would be announced early.

The association cited the sudden cancelation of the Social Workers Licensure Exam in Metro Manila only two days before the exam date, which caused major inconvenience on the part of the examinees.

“As examinees are required to submit a certificate of quarantine or a negative RT-PCR swab test, while others will be traveling from distant places to examination sites, the resources used for these requisites may be wasted if no early announcement on the postponement is made,” they said.

The PMSA, along with other medical and allied health councils and organizations, therefore appealed to postpone the board exams until the situation becomes safer.

“We believe that in the face of the recent surge of active cases and overall worsening health crisis in the country, the health, safety, and protection of all PLE takers should be given utmost importance,” they said.

As of writing, the PMSA’s call for support for their petition is still open.