NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and NTU Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine — these are the two colleges in Singapore that offer the undergraduate Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS). Ranking amongst the top Medicine schools in the QS World Rankings 2022, there is no doubt that getting in is highly competitive. With a few hundred places to fill and thousands of students applying to these schools annually, mere stellar academic results may not seem sufficient to those intrigued by the ways of medicine and passionate about improving the lives of others. So, if you’re considering pursuing a medical career in the future and have aspirations to apply to medical school after completing Junior College or graduating with a Diploma, here are a few things to consider to ensure that you are doing so for the right reason.
1. Your Motive Matters
It is a well-known fact that while working in the healthcare sector can be stressful, it is indeed an extremely rewarding career. Having great levels of commitment, hard work, resilience and responsibility, is a must. As such, take some time to decipher what your motivation for pursuing a career in this field is. Are you driven solely by the money that comes with this job? Are you genuinely up to abide by all the values, morals, and ethics that come with being a medical professional? What do you hope to benefit from this? Weigh your answers to these questions against the fact that it takes about five to six years just to complete your education and more thereafter to complete your training before you can officially attain your medical licence and advance in the field. Are you ready for it?
2. Make a Commitment to Public Service
Doctors dedicate their lives to improving the health and well-being of others — this is one of the main reasons why many are attracted to this industry as it provides them with a conduit to contribute back to society. However, there may be instances where contributing back to the community is not a student’s goal, motive or passion. When that is the case, the long-term commitment to the public can put a weight on their shoulders before they even start reaping the rewards of this fulfilling career — that is if they decide to persevere with the healthcare vocation. If you have the inclination to care for others and are able to look beyond the long hours of work and strenuous study and training schedule, then medicine is definitely worth considering.
3. Know Your Skills and Strengths
Depending on the field of medicine that you want to take, different skill sets are required. This means that beyond the basic and most critical traits that all medical professionals should possess, there are some other attributes required to perform well on the job. Some basic traits necessary include a strong work ethic, maturity, great responsibility, and good interpersonal skills. If you would like to be a dermatologist, then skills like technical and mathematical capabilities, top-notch reasoning skills, and the like are all essential. If you have dreams of becoming an immunologist, for example, then being meticulous and attentive to detail, and being logical are all key skills.
4. Prepare to Work Hard
The road to becoming a doctor necessitates a serious educational commitment. To get into NUS or NTU Medicine, you’ll need to ace your H2 Chemistry and pass either your H2 Biology or Physics. If you’re in a Polytechnic or plan to get your Diploma instead of an ‘A’ Level certificate, then you need to get a good GPA in a Health Science-related diploma like Biomedical Science that requires stellar ‘O’ level results to get admission. This means that your journey into the medical field can start as early as your secondary school years. From getting yourself enrolled in Chemistry tuition and Physics tuition classes in secondary 3 to getting additional help, there are several things you can do at a young age to increase your chances of meeting all the academic prerequisites of medical schools. But all this is just to get a spot in a medicine school.
As mentioned, it can take up to six years just to complete your education at university. Following that, there is a training period for your chosen speciality area too — this is known as the residency training. Also, when you start your medical school experience, it is normal to feel out of place and not be able to relate to your friends who are taking different courses. You’ll have to remain confident and resilient and stick things through to achieve your dreams.
5. Seek Help When Needed
Lastly, given the challenging nature of getting into medicine school, be sure to seek help when needed. Be it while in secondary school or Junior College, do all that you can do so that you can get into the school you want to. This means seeking the advice of your peers and asking them about the requirements of the courses in medicine school, enrolling in Biology, Physics and Chemistry tuition classes as early as when you’re in secondary school and speaking to industry professionals to get their two cents on things.
Being accepted into renowned universities is in and of itself challenging but it gets even more stringent when it comes to medical schools. According to some reports, it is stated that of every 2,000 students who apply to the NUS Medicine school, only 1,200 get shortlisted, and of these, only 280 will proceed with the admissions assessment. With only a 1 in 4 chance of being admitted, you’ll not only have to show exemplary grades but also deliver an excellent interview performance.
Shape Your Desire to Study Medicine with Zenith Education
At Zenith Education Studio, we offer more than just tuition for JC students as well as for those in secondary school. Aside from providing our students with the confidence and knowledge to excel in a career of their choice in the future, we also offer mentorship to better assist our students. Our Beyond-the-Books approach assists our students by providing them with a platform to better understand their career options by organising talks by professionals, guiding them through their university application, and advising them on methods of acing their interviews.