The National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) is a standardized test 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 Foundation, Inc. (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.
There are two test administrations in a school year — the REGULAR and the BACKUP test administrations. The regular testing is scheduled usually towards the middle of the school year while the backup testing is around the end of the school year. The backup testing is intended for those who missed the regular testing or those who intend to be well-prepared in applying to the medical colleges.
Brief Description of the Test:
The NMAT is a two-part test: Part 1 consists of tests of mental ability and Part 2 are tests of academic proficiency. The four subtests that compose Part 1 measure aptitudes that were found to have significant correlations with academic performance of medical students, while the four subtests that compose Part 2 measure subject proficiency in areas which are part of the academic background required of applicants to the medical course.
The subtests in Part 1 are as follows:
- VERBAL. This subtest consists of two item types, 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 item types, 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 item types, 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.
Overview of the NMAT
|Subtest||Content Area||No. of||Recommended|
|Inductive Reasoning||Figure Series||40||50 minutes|
|Number and Letter Series|
|Quantitative||Fundamental Operation||40||50 minutes|
|Perceptual Acuity||Hidden Figure||40||40 minutes|
|Time Limit||3 hours|
|Unity and Diversity of Life||50||35 minutes|
|Cells and Cellular Processes|
|Biology||The World of Plant and Animal Development|
|Life Processes: Regulation and Homeostasis|
|Organisms and Their Environment|
|Physics||Vibrations, Waves, and Optics|
|Electricity and Magnetism|
|Social Science||Sociology and Anthropology||50||35 minutes|
|General Chemistry||50||40 minutes|
|Time Limit*||2 ½ hours|
The four subtests that compose Part 2 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 concepts that are common and basic to the curricula of college introductory courses, particularly the degree programs considered as premedical courses. On the whole, these four subtests measure complex mental abilities because answer to the items require the use of the different cognitive skills of knowledge, comprehension, application (process), analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
Preparing for the Test:
You, the prospective test taker, must familiarize yourself with the look and feel of the NMAT in advance. It will minimize your anxiety and help you be better prepared for the actual testing experience.
- 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 1 requires more of innate abilities. The items in any of the four subtests of Part 1 measure a primary aptitude. Basic concepts or principles can be found in the items presented. In Part 2, 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 2 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 two to four months between the registration for the NMAT and the administration of the test, depending on when you take the test—regular or backup. Apportion your time wisely so that you can cover all the areas included in Part 2. 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. The practice set has exactly the same directions as the actual test. You should become familiar with the specific directions before you take the test. This will make it possible for you to spend less time reading instructions and more time answering questions on the actual test.
Upon answering the 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 1 and 2 ½ hours for Part 2.
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.
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.
The CEM is NOT affiliated with, and does NOT endorse enrollment to any professional review school or any medical school in the Philippines. Please immediately inform the CEM management of incidents involving any institution and/or person(s), particularly those previously or currently connected with CEM as officers and employees or as local or foreign field representatives and coordinators for the NMAT and other CEM tests, making pronouncement or claims contrary to the above.
Part 1 of the NMAT yields five scores, one for each of the four aptitude subtests and their summative score, the Aptitude (APT) Composite. Similarly, Part 2 yields five scores, one for each of the four special subject areas and their summative score, the Special Area (SA) Composite. The General Performance Score, or GPS, is the summative score derived from the eight subtests. The Examinee Report Form (ERF), on which the NMAT scores are printed, is illustrated below. For examinees who will take the test starting October 2015, the ERF will contain your photo as additional security feature.
Figure 1. Sample Examinee Report Form (ERF)
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 are mathematically derived from the NMAT performance of the norm group. The test, therefore, is norm-referenced. The test results of examinees are compared to those of the norm group which has mean scores of 500 and standard deviations of 100. For purposes of ranking, a percentile rank scale is generated specifically for the GPS. 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.
The 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 1 and Part 2, respectively, which are then converted to their equivalent standard scores from a common normalized scale. The 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.
Each NMAT form administered measures the same basic skills and concepts but uses different questions. Because of this, there is a potential for a form to be either easier or slightly more difficult than another. Hence, an examinee’s raw scores are converted to a scale that takes into consideration the level of difficulty of the test questions on a given form. This conversion makes possible the comparison of reported scores across test forms.
Your obtained NMAT scores at any given examination year are considered sufficient and valid as basis for evaluating your application for admission to a college of medicine. You are encouraged to do well in the test and obtain your best scores to increase your chances of being accepted in the best medical schools in the Philippines.
The scores are official and are guaranteed free of discrepancies. The CEM does not entertain rechecking of NMAT answer sheets.
Release of Score Reports:
The test scores are reported in electronic and printed copies of the Examinee Report Form (ERF) and in the Master list of Test Results (MTR).
Release of Electronic Copy of the ERF
An electronic copy of your test results is available after fifteen (15) business days from the test date. You may click on the link for Test Results under the Online Options on the CEM website to view and/or download it. The electronic copy is NOT valid for admission purposes. It is only meant to make you understand your scores to help you decide to which Philippine medical schools to apply and whether or not you will retake the test. The electronic copy will NOT be sent to medical schools.
Release of the Official Printed Copy of the ERF
Your NMAT scores will be printed on the official ERF. This printed copy of your ERF is the official document that is valid for admission purposes. When you register for the NMAT, you will be asked if you want your official ERF to be mailed to your mailing address or to be picked-up at a specified test center of your choice.
In either case, all ERFs will be released according to the following schedule:
- Regular testing - six (6) weeks after the test date
- Backup testing - four (4) weeks after the test date
CEM contracts PHLPost to deliver all mailed ERFs. CEM is NOT responsible for any claims for damages due to delayed delivery of your ERF for any reason.
To maintain confidentiality, the ERF is given only to the examinee or to an authorized representative. If you will personally pickup your ERF, you must present a valid ID. If a representative will request and/or pickup your ERF, the following documents should be presented:
1. Your signed authorization letter
2. Photocopy of your valid ID
3. Valid ID of your representative
Phoned-in inquiries on an individual’s scores will NOT be entertained.
Request for another Copy of the ERF
In case you need another copy of your official ERF, you may file a written request after one week from the release of the official ERFs. A minimal retrieval fee is charged for every copy of the ERF. The identification requirements are as stated above.
Distribution of Master list of Test Results (MTR)
To safeguard the authenticity of the results, your score will also appear on the Master list of Test Results 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 Foundation, Inc. (APMC). These offices must refer only to the MTR for verification of official NMAT scores.
You must be a GRADUATE or a GRADUATING STUDENT of any college (bachelors) degree course at the time of testing. If you are currently enrolled in the UP College of Medicine Integrated Liberal Arts and Medicine (INTARMED) program, you must take the NMAT only on your second year in the program.
Ensure that you have the following before you register:
- An e-mail account that you will use for your online registration
- A digital photo that meets the following specifications:
- Must be 2” x 2”, colored, with white background
- The height of the head (top of hair to bottom of chin) should measure 1 inch to 1 3/8 inches (25 mm - 35 mm)
- Taken within the last six (6) months to reflect your current appearance
- The image pixel dimensions must be in a square aspect ratio (meaning the height must be equal to the width). Minimum acceptable dimensions are 300 x 300 pixels. Maximum acceptable dimensions are 600 x 600 pixels.
- The file size must be less than or equal to 900 kB
- Must be in JPG or PNG file format
- NO “selfies” or improper poses
Your digital photo will appear on your NMAT Identification (ID) Form, Examination Permit, and on your Examinee Report Form (ERF).
- A passport, if you are NOT a Filipino citizen or if you are taking the NMAT in a foreign test center.
- Accomplish the registration form online. Fill out the required fields in the form. Make sure that all information entered is true and correct.
- Proceed with accomplishing the Student Information Questionnaire (SIQ).
- Choose your preferred mode of payment — either by credit card or by bank payment. Applicants who register from abroad and will take the test in the Philippines or in the US, can only pay through credit card.
- Check your e-mail account — inbox and spam mailbox — for your NMAT Identification (ID) Form and a confirmation of your payment if you paid by credit card. Download and print a copy of your NMAT ID Form. You will need to submit it on the test day.
- If you need to change some or all the information given on your NMAT ID Form, follow the instructions below.
You are responsible for ensuring that your contact information is correct and current at all times.
Editing of NMAT ID Form
Editing of NMAT ID Form can only be done during the registration period. Follow these steps:
1. Click the Edit Registration link under the Online Options on the CEM website and proceed accordingly. This option is automatically disabled once the registration period is over.
2. If changes have been made successfully, you will receive a new NMAT ID Form. Discard immediately your old NMAT ID Form. Print the updated version. You will need to submit it on the test day.
Disclosure of Personal Information
Personal information is collected during registration process. You will be asked to consider submitting personal information and your NMAT score for some medical schools’ recruitment program. The option to participate in medical schools’ recruitment program is only available during registration. You will be asked to accept or decline this offer.
Registration and Test Fees
The NMAT Registration Fee (PhP500.00) covers the development, updating, maintaining, and deployment of the online registration system. This includes the online Application Form and Student Information Questionnaire (SIQ), the transaction e-mail and password, and the downloaded materials like your NMAT Identification (ID) Form, Practice Set (Parts I and II) which serves as your reviewer, and other downloadable information for the medical school applicant such as the addresses, telephone numbers, and college deans of Philippine medical schools.
The NMAT Test Fee (PhP1, 400.00) covers the costs of test development, processing the application form, test administration, processing and scoring of answer sheets, and printing and delivery of test results.
You can pay online using a credit card or go through an over-the-counter transaction at the bank. Payment should be made on or before the deadline for registration. Please note that you are NOT completely registered or fully qualified to take the NMAT if you have NOT paid the NMAT fees even if you have already downloaded, printed, and accomplished your NMAT ID Form.
* Credit Card Payment
Major credit cards are accepted and processed by Secure Pay. As soon as credit card payment is completed online, you will immediately receive a payment confirmation e-mail together your NMAT ID Form. You can then view your application status and download the NMAT Practice Set.
All applicants who will take the NMAT in foreign test centers or those who will apply from abroad and take the test here in the Philippines can only pay through credit card.
* Bank Payment
Bank payments can be made in all Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branches nationwide.
Only cash and full payment (PhP1,900.00) is accepted. BPI may collect PhP30.00 to PhP50.00 as additional service charge.
A Bank Reference Number appears on your NMAT ID Form. Bring this form with you to the nearest BPI branch and fill out a deposit/payment slip with the following details: