The Aga Khan University (AKU) is certainly the top-rated medical university in Pakistan and places high on several Asian university rankings as well. In a recent study of universities around the world, Quacquarelli Symonds Limited or QS World University Rankings, rated AKU among the top 250 universities in the world for studying medicine.
Naturally, that makes admissions to the university a hard nut to crack. Although admissions to AKU are independent of candidate’s race, creed, ethnicity or religion and there are no special quotas whatsoever to hide behind, getting into the university does demand years of academic excellence, co-curricular prowess, leadership traits, as well involvement in socially and culturally relevant activities.
But most importantly, it requires a candidate to know what needs to be done to win a place at AKU. So before you begin worrying, we have the process broken down for you. Aspiring doctors, heed, as admissions are currently open for the 2018-2019 session, with the last date for submitting application being May 28.
The AKU admission process consists of three main steps that are as follows:
- Submitting an online application for the relevant programme by May 28, 2018.
- Attempting the AKU Test or its equivalent SAT/MCAT – as applicable
Candidates are shortlisted on basis of test results and the number of candidates interviewed is usually limited. The final selection is be based on a combined review of scholastic achievements, interview reports, reference letters, extra-curricular and co-curricular and other accomplishments.
AKU has no preference for any particular type of preparation and qualification and candidates who have studied at Urdu or English-medium institutions in Pakistan or abroad and completed or are close to completing their Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) (Intermediate) education may apply. Candidates who are yet to sit for the exams can also apply for a conditional admission.
However, applicants who have education other than Pakistan HSSC need to submit an equivalence certificate from the Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC). A total of three admission attempts are allowed to each applicant for the MBBS programme.
Academic Requirement For MBBS Programme
Pakistani System Of Education
- Secondary School Certificate (SSC) in science group
- Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) in pre-medical group with a minimum aggregate of 60%
- Per AKU, candidates must have satisfactorily completed Ordinary Level (O-Level) with at least six subjects including English, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. An attested copy of the O-Level statement of results/general certificate must accompany the application.
- Advanced Level (A-Level) with minimum “B grade” in each of the three subjects. The subjects must include Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Candidates studying or applying from overseas may also apply with mathematics in lieu of physics.
Requirements of other systems of education can be found here.
THE AKU TEST
The questions put forth in the AKU admission test are based on SSC and HSSC curriculum in Pakistan. The curriculum is available within the undergraduate admission page at www.aku.edu/admissions/mbbs, where you can also find sample test papers having additional information. The test has three main sections – English language, mathematical reasoning and science achievement (based on Biology, Physics and Chemistry).
The university does not require or recommend enrolling in any special preparatory class or institution before sitting for the test. The AKU test aims at testing conceptual clarity and critical thinking abilities of applicants and is based on the MCQ format.
It is a generally a good idea to thoroughly review the HSSC and SSC syllabi and understand key concepts, besides resorting to SAT preparatory books to get into that critical thinking mode and develop time management skills that the test requires.
Financial Aid & Assistance
The AKU offers highly prized five full scholarships to students making it to the MBBS programme. The award of scholarships and its related criteria is decided by the University Committee for Scholarship and its decision is considered final. Besides, AKU does run a needs-sensitive Financial Assistance Programme that offers grants and loans to financially underprivileged students.
The road leading to Aga Khan University is certainly filled with a number of obstacles that test applicants every step of the way. But for the fortunate few who step inside as students and then survive the mind-numbing demands of this top medical institution and step outside as highly skilled medical professionals, it is truly sky that becomes the limit of possibilities.