NUS medicine application guide 2011

Fresh from the 2011 application cycle, 404 would like future juniors to not make mistakes she made (…asking teachers to write testimonials @ a 2 weeks notice…etc)…

Here’s a very well done post about applying to medicine, which 404 discovered only after she finished the application process (ah well..) And Code Blue is another good blog for advice.(which 404 also discovered after the application process) anyway, 404 won’t overlap the content, and in this post she will detail the more mundane but hair-ripping details which every aspiring doc needs to pay attention to.

A brief overview: in 2011, ~750 students were shortlisted for the essay test+interviews after passing the grades cutoff. from these, 280 students were eventually offered a place for medicine @ yllsom for AY2011/12.

A. DEADLINES (404 guarantees the dates will NOT be accurate for your year, but it was accurate for 2011. 404 recommends readers use it judiciously as a guide in your planning. )

  1. A level results released – 4th march. 404 recommends maintenance of a composed front no matter what.
  2. application to NUS – closes 16march (or thereabouts, pardon 404 for her memory lapse)
  3. ensure the office of admissions has received your O level cert/IP cert TRUE CERTIFIED COPY(means you have to go back to your school, bringing along your original cert + photocopies, and get the office to sign&verify it) by 16march. here’s your ‘A’ Level Application Checklist 2011”
  4. Submission of your online portfolio – 3 working days before your interview – recommended to get it settled by 28march, since interviews start on 1st-21st april. remember to get your teachers to submit their references online by then too! (NUS will email them a separate email &give them usernames/passes for their online portal)
  5. Receive you snail mail confirming you’ve been shorlisted + containing other details- around 25march
  6. If you are aiming for the undergrad scholarship, deadline is 1st april. you need a teacher’s letter of recomendation & your own essay. all submitted online as well.
  7. check the online portalto figure out when your interview is. why? well, X’s experience was as such

    “Checked online and found that my interview date was 1st april. It was 23rd april and I hadn’t received my snail mail letter, so I called YLLSOM office to postpone my interview. They said the letter had been sent on 17th march. Which was weird cos I hadn’t received it. interviews ended up at 9am on 20th april”

    404 understands, you’re wondering, whats so important about the snail mail? simple enough – it contains your username/pin which you’ll need to access your  New Online System: Portfolio for Admission to Medicine (PAM)

  8. Medicine essay test  – 10april@NUS MPH (it will always be a sunday)
  9. interview – anytime between 1st-21st april. 404 advices rookies to rekke your interview venue once before your actual interview. cos NUHS can be complicated (afterall the NUH area is built on a hill..)
  10. interview results – 11may. updated on the online portal. sources says IB/NUHS students get their results earlier on 6may. some may be placed on the waiting list, which means you won’t know your results till around later bit of may.
  11. Receive snail mail with offer letter + many useful documents on 13may. read ALL your docs
  12. Deadline to accept NUS offer + submit your form P- 1st june. important, especially for those contemplating overseas vs local.
  13. Deadline for hall application (most medics stay in KE7) – 1st june for first cycle.
  14. Deadline for signing up for medicamp(4-7july) – 7june
  15. Deadline to accept hall offer – 21june
  16. Deadline for your health screening –30june
    recommended med school students do it ASAP, since they’ve to draw blood/chest x-ray/eye test/urine test/physical examination. took 404 90mins to complete it, and that was when there was no queue. costs $116 for everything minus the jabs.  you don’t need to confirm your acceptance of offer before you do this. 404 popped by nus to submit formP on 31stmay, and popped by the UHC on the same day for the health checkup.

B. PORTFOLIO (+ recommended DEADLINES)

All shortlisted candidates must submit a portfolio to the Dean’s Office. The portfolio must contain an: 

  1. official testimonial from your junior college or high school

    this refers to your SGC, which your school would have asked you to co-write in your JC2. – ask your tutor to email the pdf soft copy to you by end march , cos 1. your tutors should have finished touching up the SGC by then 2. you’ll need to upload the soft copy onto the application webbie yourself, 3 working days before your interview!
  2. two letters of recommendationwriters CANNOT be your form tutor, as your form tutor ‘wrote’ your sch testimonial. Also, on behalf of tutors, 404 pleads with aspiring medics to not be a pain in the arse & instead provide your poor tutors with ALL the relevant information, the 5W1H of all your activities in school. ask your tutor to prepare it by 25th march (and ofcourse, start asking your tutor to write it in jan, or it’ll be better if your tutor obliges to write it earlier the previous year) as interviews start on 1st april, and all your docs have to be RECEIVED (NOT SENT) 3 working days beforehand
  3. a personal statement

    one A4 page404 recommends nothing less than font size 11, she is spooked out by people who use font size 10 to ‘squeeze in more details’ – but you can tweak the page margins to narrow, no worries. also insert a decent passport picture into your document. 404 put hers at the top left hand corner of her personal statement, and it probably took up an eigth of the page.the earlier you complete it the better. 404 had applied for overseas universities, hence she tweaked&recycled her personal statement from there and it was done by feb.
    decent advice can be found on code blue’s post
  4. resume or list of extracurricular activities

    one A4 page long. font size >11- recommended table form. 404 particularly likes KCL Medicine, Pre-interview Form-1, and used a similar style in presenting her ECAs
  5. please include your name and candidate identification number on each page

    this means using your header/footer functions.
  6. Testimonials and letters will not be returned
  7. all supporting documents should reach NUS office of admission 3 working days before your interview.
  8. For nitty-gritties, refer to the New Online System: Portfolio for Admission to Medicine (PAM) webbie.


45min Essay test on 10th april 2011, Sunday. 2pm – 2.45pm, multipurpose hall1.

404 felt it was really like BMAT. They only open the hall 10min before the test..gotta bring your original shortlisted letter, NRIC and a pen(any colour). there was no rough paper is provided but there’s sufficient space to work on the question paper.

apparently you can copy down the question on your shortlisted letter, and thats how 404 can present 2011’s question here:

Everyone belongs to many different community and/or groups defined by shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.

as a sidenote, 404 realised at the essay test that that is how you figure out how many people were shortlisted based on grades – cos after the test, the admin officer will call up a list of people for whatever purpose, and they’ll call by the number.


yeap 404 managed to sneak some shots. (okay not really sneak, cos the staff gave the green light to let 404 snap them)

There are 2 interviews back to back. each interview is supposed to last <15min, with the total scheduled time for 1 interview being 30min. 2011’s interviews were scheduled to be in the Tower block of NUHS.

some find it wierd but 404 really enjoyed her interview. anyway…here’s the interview waiting area

and here’s inside the interview room.

404’s interview was at the start of the day, but 1 of 404’s interviewer was late, so 404 started 10min late. maybe 404 talked too much, or time flew by too fast, but 404 ended her interview 20min late.

The friendly staff told us to enter only when bell buzz. But note that roomA is next to roomB, don’t get confused by the other room’s bell.

404 would like to share this sidenote: Some other girl whose interview was at the same time, but @ room A, knocked on the door, then waited for it to be opened by interviewers.  And the people outside cringed for her.

404 knows aspiring docs-to-be are eagerly searching for this section, on the interview questions, so here it goes:

Interview1: 3 interviewers, 2 male 1 female. (404 obviously didn’t catch their names)

  1. what subjects did you study in school?
    1. Which did you like most,why?
    2. Which did you like least, why?
  2. Do you have any figure in biology that you look up to, why?
    1. Why telomerase, how does it work?
  3. Tell me about your project work, summarize it in 2 lines.
    1. Were you team leader, why?
  4. What do you think about medical tourism?
    1. What is medical tourism?
    2. Why do you think these tourists come?
    3. Should hospitals welcome it? Why?
  5. What do you think about doctors charging higher prices for the same service [-context: Dr Susan Lim’s case]
    1. Justified?
    2. Should they be allowed to do that?
  6. What was your purpose in joining the job shadowing programme, as well as working as a X assistant
    1. What did you hope to gain from it?
    2. List 3 or 4 things you learnt from both.
  7. What is your 2nd choice for your course of study other than medicine?
    1. What happens if you don’t get into NUS medicine?
    2. Did you go for interview overseas, what was the outcome?
  8. If say, we give you 1 year to study whatever you like at nus, Other than medicine, what course would you study and why?
  9. Do you have anything to add on?
  10. If as a house officer, you didn’t note a patient’s allergy to a drug, and administered a particular drug that caused an inflammation in your patient. Subsequently your patienr recovers after pumping him with antihistamines, and asks you “doctor, what happened?” what would you do?
    1. What happens if your MO says don’t need to write an incident report?
    2. What if your friend – a fellow HO made this mistake and lied to the patient. What would you do?
  11. Have you heard of SMC?
    1. What it’s function, purpose?
    2. Does it have legal powers? Is it a legal body?
    3. Can it suspend doctor’s lisences/meet out punishments?
  12. If you come to NUS, how will you contribute?
  13. 80 years down the road, on your deathbed, how do you want to be remembered?

Interview round2: Marcus XXX + KKH PNE Lim XXX

  1. how was the previous interview?
    1. Why interesting? [I mentioned the 80 years down the road, on your deathbed, how do you want to be remembered as?]
    2. How will you show that you’re thankful, how will you go about helping people?
  1. I see you’ve participated in Z, how was it like, what did you do?
    1. What languages can your speak? Dialects?
  2. Why not a politician/pharmacist, Why medicine?
  3. What is your “familial influence about”
    1. Why did your X dissuade you from pursuing medicine?
    2. Why weren’t you dissuaded, by the crazy working hours, and the sacrifices?
    3. How different will you make your life path from X?
  4. What do you do as a X assistant?
    1. Do you get to interact with patients?
  5. 404 asked: Why don’t medical school examiners give back your exam scripts?
    1. Marcus ans: no idea, but in medicine you’re expected to be very independent in your studies.
  6. 404 asked: Can I note down your names? (thick-skinned, 404 knows)


the question everyone asks.  404’s advices only students who are sincere about becoming a doctor, not for the $/prestige, to apply. 404 assumes those who chance across this post are those who really want to be a doctor, hence 404 shall skip the basics.
How to prepare to be a good doc in future(also applicable to ‘how to prepare for med school interview’):

  1. sit down and really get to know yourself. analyse yourself. (easy said, but hard to do.. 404 knows) know your purpose/meaning in life. your strenghts/weaknesses. your principles/philosophies in life. your value system, your priorities. your needs/wants.
    this is taking 404 a lifetime. 404 is still quite a failure cos she doesn’t know herself 100% well..
  2. Always identify the root cause before launching into follow-up action. this applies to real patient scenarios, or to issues floating around the medical society in sg&the world.
  3. Understand (like REALLY understand) issues concerning medicine/healthcare/healthcare professionals today. get all your definitions&info right.

Lastly: useful sites for med school hopefuls:

  1. NUSHS college talk
  2. Another (better) NUSHS senior
  3. Another NUSHS 2009 male senior
  4. Brightsparks
  5. Young wannabe doc
  6. Code blue

404 really hopes someone will find this post useful!


About sg404medic

A doc-to-be, called 404medic. Named after the HTTP 404 code. Believes&promotes information sharing, hence this blog. Disclaimer: No information posted here is intended to be taken wholesale, as situations described would have been specific to that context only. 404medic will leave it to the readers discretion to discern whats good for themselves.
This entry was posted in Aspiring Docs-to-be and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to NUS medicine application guide 2011

  1. Tanith says:

    Hello I’m “Wannabe Doctor!”
    I just wanted to thank you for linking me in your post, you’ve given me plenty of hits over the year 🙂
    Good luck with everything!

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