Applying to National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
(Don't you just miss the days it was just called "NUS Med Fac"?)
By Weng Yanyi and Gerald Tan

    This is the UNofficial "advice" site about applying for NUS Medicine. I strongly advise you to go through the official NUS Medical Faculty site for Prospective students first - it has tonnes of comprehensive (and official!) information!!

Early March
(14-15 Mar in 2009)
  • NUS Open House (attendance is optional!)
  • Mid March
    (Prev 1st April)
  • Application deadline
  • Candidates must have Chemistry at 'A' level and either Biology and/or Physics.
  • 50% of total admission score will be based on:
    GCE 'A' Level
      -   Best four content subjects (ie. 3 H2 and 1 H1 content subjects, with at least 1 contrasting subject)
      -   GP or KI grade taken in the same sitting
      -   H1 Project Work
    IB diploma (computational criteria not released)
    NUS High School Diploma (computational criteria not released)
  • Mid March
    (Prev early april)
  • Shortlisted candidates will be notified. They will be informed about:
        1) Sbmission of a portfolio (?still required?)
        2) Focused Skills Assessment
        3) Situational Judgement Test
  • Late March
      -   Testimonial, 2 letters of reccomendation, 1 resume/cca list, 1 personal statement.
      -   It is highly advisable to start on the portfolio even before you're confirmed for the interviews because "in my case, I received the notification of shortlisting around 14 April and the portfolio was to be submitted by the 20th. It'll be very rush cos teachers need time to write the recommendations too." (Yanyi)
  • April
  • New format wef 2013
      - Interviews & Essay replaced by FSA and SJT
      - Conducted in one day
      - Portfolio + FSA + SJT make up the other 50% of the admission score
      - 8 to 10 standardised stations over 90 minutes.
      - Mini-interview or standardised scenario of a focused task.
      - Aim to evaluate thinking, skills, emphathy, judgement and teamwork.
      - Similar to the Multiple Mini-Interview format used by Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCSOM)
      - Pen and paper test over 45 minutes.
      - Multiple-choice answers based on scenarios.
      - Aim to assess judgement in medicine-related situations
      - Prior medical knowledge should not be required.
    The below were used prior to 2013 and are for reference only
  • INTERVIEWS (2 rounds, usually both on the same day)
      -    First round - Faculty staff from NUS.
      -    Second round - Mix of medical doctors, nurses, alumni, current students.
      -   Question will be announced on the spot.
      -   45 minutes
      -   No medical knowledge is required. (The 2006 question was something about defining good professional behaviour and whether it should be a prerequisite for studying medicine.)
  • 7 May 09
  • More information about the new skills and judgment tests here.

    The most honest and truthful
    Guide to Medical School Admission Selection here. Serious! After all, she and I agree on the ONE most important advice we can give you at this stage. Do NOT become a doctor. I'm not kidding! (Maybe she is, but I'm not.) (I also know all of you will ignore me and still apply anyway. All I ask is that you save the Hobbit's article and remember my one line of advice, and look back in seven years time...)

    Other ways of getting into Medicine
    Exceptional Individual Scheme (EIS)
    From the NUS website:
  • The Exceptional Individual Admissions Scheme was developed as a way of exercising discretionary criteria in admitting a small number of students to the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Applications submitted through this route will be evaluated by the Selection Committee on the basis of exceptional talent and achievement in addition to academic excellence.
  • A small number of outstanding students will be offered admission, for up to 10% of the 2009 intake.
  • The EIS is the only way an applicant can have a "second chance" at an interview, if he/she came for the interview in previous years but was not offered a place in Medicine.

  • Polytechnic Students
    Two poly students accepted into NUS medicine course (2007)

       FOR the first time, two polytechnic students have been accepted into what is possibly the toughest university course here to get into - the faculty of medicine of the National University of Singapore(NUS).

       The Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine will take in 250 aspiring doctors this year. It had received 32 applications from 32 polytechnic students and selected Mr Soong Jun Wei and Mr Ron Ng. Both are 20-year-olds from Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Jun Wei graduated with a diploma in biotechnology while Ron has a diploma in biomedical laboratory technology.

       Unlike junior college students who apply with A level results, polytechnic students are assessed on their polytechnic results(80 per cent) and O-level grades(20 per cent). But like all other applicants, they had to take an essay test and go through two rounds of interviews. This article from The Straits Times
    June 18, 2007


    Essay questions
    2005Exams as assessment tools
    2006Professionalism in the medical career
    2007Justification of sacrifices
    2008Propose a change in the medical profession
    2009Write about a book you have read and how it has changed your perception about team work, etc.
    Questions courtesy of : Terence (thanks Terence!!)

    Interview questions
    First round
  • Interviewers: NUS/MOH Faculty Staff.
      -  May include dentists, administrators, researchers, etc. so don't slime those people! (i.e. Stay clear of the "I put Medicine 1st and Dentistry second coz it's more glamourous to save lives than look at stinky smelly teeth" and the "I think Health Administrators are a waste of time and money that could be spent on patients" and the "Research is a waste of manpower that could be deployed in the wards" type of replies.)
  • This is the more formal interview
  • Typical questions/topics:
      -    Facts about singapore's and maybe even other countries' healthcare standards and policies.
      -    Current affairs in Singapore Healthcare! know at least 1 health policy! (shameless plug: I have a section on this in my website)
      -    Know about at least 1 disease that Singapore has encountered or is dealing with. (Bird flu, SARS)
      -    Why do you want to do Medicine?
      -    What if you can't get into Medicine? (Don't get discouraged here)
      -    What makes you think you'll be a good doctor?

  • Second round
  • Interviewers: Mix of medical doctors, nurses, alumni, current students. (same caveat, don't slime these people too!)
  • This is more informal - Just be yourself!
  • Typical questions/topics:
      -    They like to ask random questions like what you like to do, done anything intellectual lately etc....

  • Questions from 2007 (Thanks to : Mavis, Wendy, Yee May & Ze Hao (not in any particular order))
  • "They mostly asked me questions about the healthcare system in Singapore and what opinions do I have on it. Other questions include what kind of specialty do I want to pursue in future and things about it. They have also asked some questions to ascertain my interest in medicine and pursuing a career as a doctor."
  • "I think almost everyone thinks that the first round of interview is the killer. They were asking questions like why not take nursing or health sciences, since you can care for patients too. My friend had a question on what are some of the new policies implemented in polyclinics, and asked her about dementia(since she wants to become a psychiatrist). she got stumped. i had questions on human transplant and what are some of the common diseases in spore, and really lots of questions probing on myself, until its a bit uncomfortable. And my last question was, what is the thing you want to change about the world, and please don't give answers like world peace :X So i don't think they are a bunch of bored old men, HAHAHHAHAHHA, they are like testing how long your confidence can last. Mine was quite shattered at the end:) But i did pretty well for the second round of interview, it's focused on my activities listed in my portfolio and the interviewers were generally ore friendly:) No students. After the grueling first round of med interview, i thought i can handle all other interviews in the world, HAHAHAh, i think they covered all the typical interview questions possible, besides on medicine."
  • "My interview was... uh. i don't really know how to describe it. The first interview wasn't really great. I wasn't sure whether the Dean understood what I was trying to bring across and I didn't know the answer to some of the questions that Prof asked [about the changes in Medisave- I knew what Medisave is like now but I wasn't sure which part had changed! was pretty frustrated about that after the interview]. I did answer the question but it was a wrong answer, moreover I was being quite long-winded I suppose. the Dean cut me off quite a number of times. :| They mostly asked how I coped with stress, my personality and what I would do if I didn't get Medicine, but they weren't really interested in inquiring about my experiences. Oh yeah, the Dean also asked me whether I thought the general public was unhappy with the medical profession. yeah that was the part where I wasn't sure the dean got my point.
    The second interview was excellent. Probably the best interview I've ever had. They told me they were very impressed by my determination and what I've done in my gap year at the end of the interview. Here, they asked about my experiences and what I would do after I become a doctor. haha"
  • "I cannot remember much what had happened during Round 1, probably because it was a considerably short interview for me (approx 20 mins tops?? o.O), and probably because I was very much nervous during Round 1 as compared to Round 2 =P What I can remember from Round 1 is that the interviewers asked questions based on my personal statement first before branching off into other stuff.
    As for Round 2, these are the questions I can hitherto remember:
      Tell me your greatest strength. What about weakness?
      What makes you think you will be a good doctor?
      A patient suspects that he has a cyst growing on his large intestine, and that he wishes for an operation to be carried out on him to see if he really has it. He denies on other alternatives like having an X-ray done, and insists that he trusts the doctor’s keen eyesight more than technology. He is willing to fork out the money required for the (likely unnecessary) operation as he is able to afford it. As a doctor, what will you do?

  • Other links regarding the interviews
  • NUS Faculty of Medicine Undergraduate Interview Tips by J - (30 April, 2008 - Blog post)
  • SMA News - Retrospectroscope by Prof Chee Yam Cheng (A short section on specialist interviews)

  • Declaration
    As of time of writing, I am an adjunct teaching staff at NUS YLLSOM and NTU LKCSOM, but do not participate directly in the admissions process or sit on the interview panel. (Adjunct (adj): 1. something incidental or not essential that is added to something else 2. a person who is subordinate to another 3.staff in a temporary or auxiliary capacity 4. another name for accident) 5. looks good, sounds good, but worth no money and cannot be eaten (Updated: Dec 2012)

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