Life as a 1st Year Medical Student

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

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