The (not-so-definitive) guide to applying for NUS Med/YLLSoM & NTU/LKCSoM

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been looking around for more info on whether your grades will make the cut for local med, or what the application timeline is like. I remember being in your shoes last year, equally lost and worried as to whether I would be able to make it to a local medical school, and googling for tips didn’t really dig up any results. So, I’ve written this post to shed some light on the application process for NUS & NTU, as well as to give y’all some useless tips on how to prepare your portfolio and the subsequent Focused Skills Assessment + Situational Judgement Test.

Below are some of the topics I’ll be covering in this post:

  • Timeline for NUS
  • Grade requirements
  • NUS Application + Portfolio
  • NUS: FSA + SJT
  • NTU Application
  • NTU: MMI
  • Admission outcome & the waitlist

Timeline for NUS

Early March A-level results release
Mid March Submit application
End March Shortlisting for the interview + preparation of portfolio
Mid – End April NUS Selection (FSA + SJT)

NTU Selection (MMI)

Early May Notice of acceptance!!
May – End July Accepted/rejected + waitlist

Sorry but I can’t really remember the timeline for NTU, but if you follow the NUS timeline, you won’t miss any of the NTU deadlines either, cos both have extremely similar application processes. And you can’t apply for NTU unless you took the BMAT last November.


Grades

What I appreciate about the new admission system is that grades are only used to filter who makes it to the interviews. Around 3000 people apply, and they’ll shortlist the top 800 or so for the interview stage. Once you’ve been shortlisted, your grades are disregarded and someone who scored 87.5 is as likely to get in as someone with 90 + 2 H3 Distinctions; admission is decided based on how well one performs during the FSA & SJT, which is a much fairer selection process.

  • Don’t quote me on this, but your UAS score probably has to be > 87.5 to get a definite interview call-up via the normal route. It varies from year to year, but if you have 1 H1 or 1 H2 B with otherwise straight As, you’re pretty safe.
  • Even with 1 H1 and 1 H2 B, if you have an A in H1 Chinese or O-level Higher Chinese, you can add 0.25 to your UAS score to bring it up to 87.75, which is usually a safe score unless your batch performed exceptionally well.
  • If you UAS score is below that, or you’re reapplying, you can try the Exceptional Individual Scheme, it admits around 10% of our batch (30+ people). If you do a lot of volunteer work or are a star sports player, you stand a decent chance getting accepted by this route.
  • Not sure about IB, but 43 and above should get you to the interview stage?

Portfolio for NUS

  • Testimonial – It’s the piece(s) of paper given by your school on results day, and you’ll have to get it certified as a true copy at your school’s general office or sth.
  • 2 letters of recommendation – Everyone is going to be rushing their teachers to write good stuff about them in the post A-level flurry, so to make your referee/teacher’s life easier, you can prepare a copy of your CV for them so that they can list some of your achievements and good traits in their letter of recommendation. Write a nice explanatory email to them, saying that you’re requesting for them to write a recommendation for you to apply to med, and make sure you include every little detail in the email and proofread it, because it’s unprofessional to forget to attach stuff or mention important details, as if their inboxes aren’t already flooded by all your other friends applying to uni. Keep track of the deadlines by which you need your referees to submit the letters of recommendation, and gently remind them when the deadline looms, because if they forget, your application goes bust.
  • 1 resume – Follow the guidelines given on the NUS application portal; you’re generally limited to 1 A4 and a certain font size, so if you have too many achievements to fit into one page, make sure you list the most important ones first; don’t include trivial things like ‘Class chairperson’ if you have sth more important like ‘Can do 10 cartwheels’ volunteer work. Personally, I categorised the items on my resume by the domain they fell under, like ‘Community’, ‘Leadership, ‘Academics’, etc.
  • 1 personal statement – You should start working on this right after getting your A level results, because it’s something that takes time to write and has to come from the heart. It’s as much about selling yourself as it is soul-searching the reasons that motivate you to pursue a calling like Medicine. There’s a 1 page word limit and font regulations (Times New Roman + font size 11, if I recall correctly??) Write about yourself and the things that you’ve done that relate to the profession of a doctor (volunteering, leadership, research, etc.); be prepared to be asked questions from your own personal statement and make sure you can elaborate on everything you write in there. Plus, if you wait for them to call you up for the interviews before starting to work on it, you’ll need to get it ready within a week, which may cause sudden death is highly unadvisable.

FSA

Disclaimer: I’m not allowed to explicitly mention what goes on in the FSA and SJT, because they made us sign a non-disclosure form, but I’ll try my best to give a rough overview so that y’all will have an idea of what to expect.

  • The Focused Skills Assessment comprises multiple short interview stations that seem more like a fun game show than a scary interview. They aim to test skills that medical students should have in a friendly/low-stress setting.
  • You’ll be assigned to a group of 5 or 6 after registration, and they’ll be the people you’ll be going through the FSA with, and some might become your batchmates. Make friends with them and just chill until it’s time for the FSA to start!
  • There were a total of 5 stations for my year (2016), with a few minutes of prep time before entering the room, with each station lasting 5 minutes. You enter a room and complete the tasks/talk to your interviewer, and once the time for each station is up, a buzzer will sound. You leave the room and wait outside the adjacent room for the next station.
  • I can’t say what each station aims to test, but it’s very obvious what trait they’re looking for once you read the task (while waiting outside the room/station). Just stay calm and do your best; even if you think you’ve messed up, correct yourself and continue on in a composed manner. Don’t scream like a dying chicken or panic excessively, that would probably not work out in your favour cos doctors need to be able to stay calm under pressure.
  • Just remember that your interviewers (who happen to be doctors/ faculty deans) want to get to know you as a person, so be yourself and don’t panic!!! They’re not out to kill you or ask you killer questions, they really do try to make you feel as at ease as possible, which is really nice of them imo.

SJT

  • You don’t need to study for this, but you can if you are kiasu af want to.
  • You’ll be given multiple case studies/situations, and some possible actions that can be taken in response to the situation. You have to judge if the actions are appropriate/inappropriate, but it’s all MCQ so don’t worry.
  • The SJT is very basic, just stick to your everyday morals and you should do okay. Going with your gut instinct is probably the best way to do the SJT, because the more you psychoanalyse the question, the more uncertain you’ll get.
  • If you wanna prep, just google around for free SJT resources for a rough idea of what the questions will look like on the day itself. Having sat for the UKCAT, I found the NUS SJT very similar to the UKCAT SJT section, so check that out if you wanna. 🙂
  • Don’t bother comparing answers with your friends, no one really knows what the ‘correct answer’ is so you’ll only freak yourself out more if you think too much about the SJT after it’s over.

NTU Application

  • Only those who took the BMAT can apply to NTU, which means there’s considerably less competition, and the applicants are actually serious about med.
  • The word limit for the NTU PS is only 300 words (!!!), which means you have to slash most of your NUS personal statement to make the magical 300 word limit. Start work on it early and get your friends/seniors to give you feedback (the more critical they are, the better).

NTU Interview/MMI

  • The MMI (multiple mini interviews) is similar to the FSA, but with more stations. There were 8 stations, and each was 3 minutes long.
  • Our parents were invited to attend the pre-MMI briefing with us, where they explained the differences between NUS & NTU med and why we should pick LKC over YLL (lol @ the rivalry).
  • The atmosphere was also very relaxed, and they plied us with food before starting the interviews!!

Admission outcome & the waitlist

  • As mentioned in the timeline, the first wave of results will be released in early May via an online portal (used for all SG uni applications). Our results were released on 5th May, but some of my friends got theirs a few days/weeks later.
  • Your online portal will show you which courses you’ve been accepted into. If it shows your 2nd/3rd choice instead of Med, then you know you’ve been rejected or at least put on the waitlist.
  • If you didn’t get accepted in the first round, you’ll be on a waiting list. There’s still hope of getting accepted into NUS/NTU when those higher up on the waitlist reject their offers. The waitlist takes a few months to clear, cos some people can’t decide whether they wanna go overseas or take their NUS/NTU place. As long as they don’t reject their offer, the waiting list doesn’t move.
  • The NTU waitlist moved a lot, because a fair number were accepted by both NUS & NTU. Almost everyone picked NUS > NTU, so the NTU list kept moving and a lot more people were suddenly accepted.
  • Some batchmates were accepted as late as mid-July, because some guys couldn’t defer NS, so the space was freed up for them. Don’t give up hope! (until term starts in Aug; by then it’s really too late)

Whatever your reasons for applying for med, ask yourself if you can see yourself working as a doctor for the next 30-odd years of your life, or if you’d rather be pursuing another career that you’re more interested in and is probably less tiring. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re the type who says that being a doctor is a calling, or if you’re applying for fun or due to peer pressure; the interview I had friends who wanted to do Med so badly but didn’t make it past the interview, while there are some batchmates who applied for fun and got accepted.

In my NUS and NTU applications, I listed Medicine as my first choice and put random courses for the other choices because I was going to go overseas for med if I couldn’t get a spot here, but a lot of my friends put dentistry/law as their other choices, and most succeeded in getting a place in one of these 3 courses, or they left for greener pastures in UK/USA.

If you have any questions for me, just write them in the comment section below, so I can answer it publicly for everyone’s benefit. 🙂 If you have any burning questions that you want to ask me privately,  just fill out the contact form and I’ll get back to you whenever I can (email replies will probably be slower than if you comment here publicly).

I’ve also written about what life is like as an M1, so click here to read the post! 🙂

xoxo, Faith

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29 thoughts on “The (not-so-definitive) guide to applying for NUS Med/YLLSoM & NTU/LKCSoM

  1. hello says:

    Hi there, just wanted to find out if my chances are significantly reduced because my H2 B is for my chem. I have heard that chem is quite an important factor, but thankfully I did manage to get As for my others subjects, should I still put medicine as my first choice?

    Like

    • Faith says:

      I was in your shoes too haha (B in chem), but thankfully they don’t care which subject you got an A or B in, they only consider your overall UAS score when shortlisting the 800 candidates for the interview round. 🙂 Your UAS score is safe, and definitely high enough to put med as your first choice!

      If you’re worried, you can always apply via EIS, which I did because I was kiasu and worried that my UAS score was too low to make the cut via the normal route. But many people who I met at the FSA/interview also had 1 H2 or 1 H1 B (with A’s for everything else), so we all entered by the normal route. Those with 1 H2 B + 1 H1 B would have needed to apply via EIS, but since your grades are better than that, you can rest easy 🙂

      Like

    • Faith says:

      Hi Zhang Min 🙂 I’m not 100% sure, but yeah I think they’re the same. The 2 letters of recommendation are submitted directly by your referees via the online application portal; just follow the instructions on the NUS portal and everything should be fine! 🙂

      Like

      • Faith says:

        Yep, just follow the dress code given in the letter/email; it’s office wear (pants for both girls and guys)!

        I don’t rmb bringing any documents, cos I /think/ we submitted them online via the application portal (can’t rly rmb). But I rmb bringing the letter (inviting you for the interview) which they mailed to my home. Just follow the instructions, idk if the process will change this year. 🙂

        Like

  2. Hello says:

    Hey, I got 1 H2 B + 1 H1B with a uas of 87.75. Is that a safe score as mentioned in ur blog or would I have to submit an EIS application? Also what are the chances of an 87.75 pointer entering medicine?

    Like

    • Faith says:

      I got the exact same UAS score and got in (thank goodness I took H1 Chinese haha), and there’re a lot of people with the same UAS or even lower who made it in. 87.75 is safe for almost every year; it depends on your batch’s A lvl performance though. 🙂 Anyway, I played it safe by applying through EIS, and you should do so too!

      I eventually went by the normal route. For my batch, 87.75 was the safe cutoff, cos some with 87.5 didn’t get shortlisted. I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it haha, so I was really relieved to get the call-up. All the best and if you get called up for the interviews, contact me again and I’ll help you as much as I can! 😀

      Like

  3. zmelf says:

    Hi faith, thanks for sharing these info with me. Just found out you are a fellow kpop fan too hehe ^_^ Actually I have another concern >< Will it be okay if I submit the same personal statement for medicine portfolio for nus scholarship?(If i get shortlisted)

    Like

    • Faith Choo says:

      Hi ZM, haha it’s always great to find other kpop fans! 🙂 Hmm I don’t really know about the NUS scholarship, but I suppose that you can submit the same PS, unless the requirements state otherwise. Let me know if you get shortlisted/accepted, would be lovely to see you around in school!

      Liked by 1 person

    • miracles says:

      Hi there, may I ask how were you informed of NUS medicine rejection? Were you given your second choice straight away or? I’ve yet to receive any news and its nerve wrecking as hell!! 😦

      Like

  4. brandonlim1234 says:

    Hi faith may I know whether there is anyway to prepare for the interviews? E.g read up on medical ethics, recent healthcare issues

    Like

    • Faith Choo says:

      Hello!

      Nope, there’s no academic preparation needed for the NUS interview. 🙂 They’re unlikely to ask about healthcare policies or medical ethics for the NUS interview, and no one I know was asked those kind of questions.

      Feel free to ask me more questions if you do get shortlisted! 🙂 All the best!

      Like

  5. Babylon says:

    Hi Faith! In about how many days after the application closing date will shortlisted candidates get notified for interviews?

    Thanks!

    Like

  6. miracles says:

    Hi Faith, I’ve been shortlisted for FSA in a few days time. Would they ask us about our views on controversial issues like euthanasia/gene therapy etc.? The technical stuffs :/ And also, may I just check, there is only one assessor per station yea? Thank you so much 🙂

    Like

    • miracles says:

      oh and and, i forgot to ask haha, you mentioned in the above post that we will be grouped into groups of 5 to 6; what about the station where they ask us about our personal statement? I understand that there will be a group task station to evaluate our teamwork, but what about stations examining individual characteristics? Will we still go in together as a group? Thank you 🙂

      Like

      • Faith Choo says:

        There’s only 1 station that isn’t individually assessed, which you will complete with your team. The other 5/6 stations are as per normal interviews, which is 1 assessor to 1 interviewee. 🙂

        And nope they won’t ask about medical ethics, because they don’t expect you to know how to handle it yet (that’s why we have ethics modules from M1 all the way to M5, it’s to teach us how to handle tricky ethical situations)! Don’t worry, the interview is 100% non-academic, so just stay calm and give off your best on the interview day.

        All the best and hope to see you in Aug!

        Like

  7. miracles says:

    Hi Faith, I’ve just received the offer from NUS Medicine. Thank you so much for answering my questions regarding FSA! 🙂 See you around soon!

    Like

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