Med School FAQs: Is Medicine right for me?

Faith’s Med School series: Getting into Med School | Is Med for me? | Life as an M1 | Life as an M2 |

So…it’s been over a year since I wrote my first post on getting into med school (you can read it here), and I’ve been receiving a lot of questions regarding the process. The most common questions I’ve received are ‘Is Medicine right for me?’, ‘Are internships useful?’ and ‘What if I enter med school and regret it later?’, so I’ve tried my best to cover the full scope of these questions to hopefully help y’all make a more informed decision before choosing to apply for or pursue Medicine!

I’ll constantly update this post when I receive new questions, so be sure to follow my blog or like my FB page to receive any future updates! 🙂

Let’s start off with the most common question…

Is Medicine the right choice for me?

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; I had friends who wanted to do Med so badly but didn’t make it past the interviews, while there were 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’re thinking of joining Medicine just to become a specialist/get into the Residency programme, I hate to be the one who bursts your bubble, but it’s becoming more difficult (and will only get harder) to get a coveted spot for specialty training. MOH has been aggressively pushing their new agenda of having more ‘generalists’ (i.e specialties like geriatrics, family medicine) – just read this article, it explains MOH’s reasons very well – on top of decreasing the total number of residency places available. So if you’re entering Medicine hoping to be a neurosurgeon or some elusive specialty, just don’t.

Wanting to heal people and make their lives better in any capacity should be your reason for joining Medicine. Don’t do it for the money, prestige, or the dream of someday becoming a specialist. Do it for the love of the people, and wanting to help them; that’s what will keep you motivated throughout the good and bad times.

Read On: Internships, Volunteer work & more

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Life as a 2nd Year Medical Student

Faith’s Med School series: Getting into Med School | Is Med for me?Life as an M1 | Life as an M2

For anyone who’s stumbled upon my blog for the first time, hello! I’m Faith, a medical student who’s just completed her second year in NUS YLLSoM. This is part 2 of my “Life as a Medical Student” series; you can check out the 1st part here.

I’m not even sure if anyone still reads this blog, but in the event that any junior (or anyone, really) is wondering what life as a 2nd year med student in NUS Medicine/YLLSoM is like, hopefully this post will be informative. I hope I’m posting this in time for uni applications, so y’all can get a better understanding of what life in YLLSoM is like.

So…M2 is the last pre-clinical year before you’ll start hospital postings in your clinical years, which span from M3-M5 (1st years are M1s, 2nd years are M2’s and so on). The academic year starts in mid-August and ends in early March, after which there will be a month-long hospital attachment (Clinical Skills Foundation Programme), but more on that later.

This is the last year you’ll have daily lectures, a relatively empty schedule and be able to exist as a couch potato. M3 is a whole new world of suffering 10-hour days in the hospital wards, followed by having to revise the day’s cases and study for end-of-posting exams when you finally reach home – at least that’s the horror story that I’ve heard from my seniors, I’ll write about M3 once I experience it for myself.

The things you’ll learn in M2 lay the foundation for all your subsequent years in Medical school, and are extremely relevant to your future practice, so this hopefully you’ll become less useless as you progress through M2!

these-4-useless-things-a-first-year-medical-student-dopamemes-27201573
Possibly my favourite medical meme page

Jokes aside, let’s jump right in!

Read More: Life as an M2

Life as a 1st Year Medical Student

Faith’s Med School series: Getting into Med School | Is Med for me?Life as an M1 | Life as an M2

Maybe I’m googling wrongly, but there seems to be a dearth of information with regard to what life in NUS Med is like, which is why I’m attempting to write such a post – key word being attempting. In this post, I’ll try to give you a rough overview of what life as a first-year medical student is like, though everything expressed here is my own opinion, so don’t hold me liable to any damage to your sanity (did we even have any left after A levels???) if you enter med and realise it’s not like what I described.

A day in the life of an M1

(we’re M1’s, 2nd years are M2’s and so on)

  • The first lecture starts at 8.30AM; we normally have 2 to 4 hours of lectures every morning, with a 30 mins break in between to grab food
  • Lunch break!! How long you have depends on your afternoon schedule – or you might be able to go home on a good day
  • There may or may not be tutorials later on in the day, but they generally end by 4/5pm latest
  • In M1, we have 4 subjects: Anatomy, Physiology, Histology & Biochemistry
    • Anatomy: Lots of Latin and names of muscles you never even knew you had
    • Physiology: By far the most logical & interesting subject, cos it explains how the body works
    • Histology: 50 Shades of Pink; it’s been almost a year and I still can’t differentiate between the blobs
    • Biochemistry: Like H2 Bio all over again (memorising names and pathways) and thankfully not very significant in the syllabus
  • Anatomy hall is once a week, we get to examine the parts we’re studying on actual cadvers, thanks to our silent mentors (the people who donated their bodies to science)
    • Beware the fumes, and if you have a weak stomach…you’ll just have to get used to it.
    • It’s 100% free and easy, you can enter any time during your assigned 2-hour slot, and leave once you’re done with the session objectives
    • There are always many profs on standby to take your questions, so ask them anything/everything, cos they’re a treasure trove of info and can even give hints before exams 😛
  • Tutorials are compulsory, they take attendance
    • They’re for you to clarify stuff with your tutor if you’re the type who studies beforehand, or treat it as a 2nd lecture if you still haven’t caught up with the content
    • Is there anything more to be said about tutorials???
  • House system
    • You’ll be sorted into 1 of 10 houses at the start of M1. I’m in Honoris/House 8, so if any of you end up in our house, be sure to say hi to me!! 🙂
    • Each house has 30 people from your batch, and those are the people you’ll be stuck with for most of M1/M2, which could be good or bad, depending on how well you click with them. It’s pretty much like a JC class.
    • For our batch, they split each house into 4 CGs (7-8 people in each clinical group), and you’ll attend tutorials and visit hospital wards with them. If you don’t like your CG, don’t worry, you’re only gonna be with them for 2 years; from M3 onwards, you get to choose your own CG, so you can form it with your good friends instead! 😀

Read On: The good & the not-so-good

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

Faith’s Med School series: Getting into Med School | Is Med for me?Life as an M1 | Life as an M2

Disclaimer: This guide has not been updated since 2017, so it may not be entirely accurate and/or relevant to your application.

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 + EIS
  • NUS: FSA + SJT
  • NTU Application
  • NTU: MMI
  • Admission outcome & the waitlist
  • Is Medicine for you?

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.

Read On: FSA+SJT+NTU Application

on friendships made & lost

2016 has been an interesting year.

I made many new friends, stayed close to some old ones, drifted from others and lost a new friend.

The transition from 2015 to 2016 was significant enough to send some friendships into a state of flux, and I was filled with uncertainty and excitement in equal parts. 2015 was the year of our A levels, our graduation year, and the last year where I would be with the people I’d grown to know and love over the past 2 years in RI.

Read On