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

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Disclaimer: This was last updated in late-2019. I’ve not been keeping up to date with the latest changes in the admission procedures/interview process/etc., so I may not be be the best person to answer your questions regarding your med school application, but leave your questions below and I’ll try my best to answer them nevertheless! 🙂

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 in 2016, 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?

Applying for NUS Med

Timeline for YLLSoM Applications

Early MarchA-level results release
Mid MarchSubmit application
End MarchShortlisting for the interview + preparation of portfolio
Mid – End AprilNUS Selection (FSA + SJT)

NTU Selection (MMI)

Early MayNotice of acceptance!!
May – End JulyAccepted/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 the previous November.

Grades

What I appreciate about the new admission system is that grades are only used to filter who makes it to the interviews. Around 3000 people apply, and they’ll shortlist the top 800 or so for the interview stage. Once you’ve been shortlisted, your grades are disregarded and someone who scored 87.5 is as likely to get in as someone with 90 + 2 H3 Distinctions; admission is decided based on how well one performs during the FSA & SJT, which is a much fairer selection process.

  • Don’t quote me on this, but your UAS score probably has to be > 87.5 to get a definite interview call-up via the normal route. It varies from year to year, but if you have 1 H1 or 1 H2 B with otherwise straight As, you’re pretty safe.
  • Even with 1 H1 and 1 H2 B, if you have an A in H1 Chinese or O-level Higher Chinese, you can add 0.25 to your UAS score to bring it up to 87.75, which is usually a safe score unless your batch performed exceptionally well. I personally got a B in Chemistry and Project Work, but ended up with a UAS score of 87.75 because of Higher Chinese, so I made the cut-off for the normal application route!
  • If you UAS score is below that, or you’re reapplying, you can try the Exceptional Individual Scheme, it admits around 10% of our batch (30+ people). If you do a lot of volunteer work or are a star sports player, you stand a decent chance getting accepted by this route.
  • Not sure about IB, but 43 and above should get you to the interview stage?

Portfolio for NUS (updated in 2019)

  • Testimonial – The official document given to you by your school
  • CCA List – The website states that you have to include your top 10 most recent activities/achievements, from secondary school and above. I’m quite amused that they specified 10, because in my year, they let us write a 1 page resume, and some people including me oops crammed long lists of achievements into the 1 page. Guess they got tired of reading a laundry list haha
  • Personal Statement – “A letter of introduction not exceeding 500 words on your experiences that have shaped your desire to study Medicine.” That’s about 1 page, similar to my year of application; do read my tips in the section below for tips!
  • Referee Reports – Only shortlisted candidates will be invited to nominate referees, so just have a teacher in mind if/when you get shortlisted and need a referee (get one who’s likely to give you a glowing recommendation). This replaced the 2 letters of recommendation during my year, and this new form seems a lot more standardised and fair than the old system (where our referees would just write open-ended essays).

I’ve kept the original section below (2016’s portfolio requirements) just in case anyone’s interested in seeing how the application process has changed. The tips I wrote in 2016 are still highly applicable to the newer admission process.

  • Testimonial – It’s the piece(s) of paper given by your school on A level results day, and you’ll have to get it certified as a true copy at your school’s general office or sth.
  • 2 letters of recommendation – Everyone is going to be rushing their teachers to write good stuff about them in the post A-level flurry, so to make your referee/teacher’s life easier, you can prepare a copy of your CV for them so that they can list some of your achievements and good traits in their letter of recommendation. Write a nice explanatory email to them, saying that you’re requesting for them to write a recommendation for you to apply to med, and make sure you include every little detail in the email and proofread it, because it’s unprofessional to forget to attach stuff or mention important details, as if their inboxes aren’t already flooded by all your other friends applying to uni. Keep track of the deadlines by which you need your referees to submit the letters of recommendation, and gently remind them when the deadline looms, because if they forget, your application goes bust.
  • 1 resume – Follow the guidelines given on the NUS application portal; you’re generally limited to 1 A4 and a certain font size, so if you have too many achievements to fit into one page, make sure you list the most important ones first; don’t include trivial things like ‘Class chairperson’ if you have sth more important like ‘Can do 10 cartwheels’ volunteer work. Personally, I categorised the items on my resume by the domain they fell under, like ‘Community’, ‘Leadership, ‘Academics’, etc.
  • 1 personal statement – You should start working on this right after getting your A level results, because it’s something that takes time to write and has to come from the heart. It’s as much about selling yourself as it is soul-searching the reasons that motivate you to pursue a calling like Medicine. There’s a 1 page word limit and font regulations (Times New Roman + font size 11, if I recall correctly??) Write about yourself and the things that you’ve done that relate to the profession of a doctor (volunteering, leadership, research, etc.); be prepared to be asked questions from your own personal statement and make sure you can elaborate on everything you write in there. Plus, if you wait for them to call you up for the interviews before starting to work on it, you’ll need to get it ready within a week, which may cause sudden death is highly unadvisable.

ABAS (NUS Med)

If you’re worried that your UAS score isn’t high enough to make the cut for the interview round, then you could try applying via ABAS, which you can read more about here. ABAS is the Aptitude-Based (Discretionary) Admission Scheme, which was known as EIS (Exceptional Individual Scheme) during my time.

I can’t provide you with much information on this scheme since I didn’t enter via ABAS, but quite a number of batchmates were admitted via this scheme, so this is a viable route if 1) you’re outstanding in other fields and just missed the UAS cutoff by a small margin, or if 2) you’ve applied/been rejected by NUS Medicine once and are reapplying again.

I have to emphasise that your grades still have to be pretty good, since there are many individuals who apply via this scheme with good UAS scores (eg. those who applied via the normal route but were rejected the previous year). If you’re selected via this route, it will get you to the interview round only – it’s not a free pass straight into med school – you’ll be on a level playing field with the rest of the students who made it to the interview stage.

FSA

Disclaimer: I’m not allowed to explicitly mention what goes on in the FSA and SJT, because they made us sign a non-disclosure form, but I’ll try my best to give a rough overview so that y’all will have an idea of what to expect.

  • The Focused Skills Assessment comprises multiple short interview stations that seem more like a fun game show than a scary interview. They aim to test skills that medical students should have in a friendly/low-stress setting.
  • You’ll be assigned to a group of 5 or 6 after registration, and they’ll be the people you’ll be going through the FSA with, and some might become your batchmates. Make friends with them and just chill until it’s time for the FSA to start!
  • There were a total of 5 stations for my year (2016), with a few minutes of prep time before entering the room, with each station lasting 5 minutes. You enter a room and complete the tasks/talk to your interviewer, and once the time for each station is up, a buzzer will sound. You leave the room and wait outside the adjacent room for the next station.
  • I can’t say what each station aims to test, but it’s very obvious what trait they’re looking for once you read the task (while waiting outside the room/station). Just stay calm and do your best; even if you think you’ve messed up, correct yourself and continue on in a composed manner. Don’t scream like a dying chicken or panic excessively, that would probably not work out in your favour cos doctors need to be able to stay calm under pressure.
  • Just remember that your interviewers (who happen to be doctors/ faculty deans) want to get to know you as a person, so be yourself and don’t panic!!! They’re not out to kill you or ask you killer questions, they really do try to make you feel as at ease as possible, which is really nice of them imo.
  • A number of you have asked about the dress code: it’s formal, so dress like you would for a job interview! For guys, that would mean a formal shirt + formal pants + dress shoes, and proper grooming (just look presentable/neat). For girls, any blouse + pants/culottes + flats will do. In my year, us girls were told to wear pants (no skirts/dresses), as some of the stations required us to move about more.

SJT

  • You don’t need to study for this, but you can if you are kiasu af want to.
  • You’ll be given multiple case studies/situations, and some possible actions that can be taken in response to the situation. You have to judge if the actions are appropriate/inappropriate, but it’s all MCQ so don’t worry.
  • The SJT is very basic, just stick to your everyday morals and you should do okay. Going with your gut instinct is probably the best way to do the SJT, because the more you psychoanalyse the question, the more uncertain you’ll get.
  • If you wanna prep, just google around for free SJT resources for a rough idea of what the questions will look like on the day itself. Having sat for the UKCAT, I found the NUS SJT very similar to the UKCAT SJT section, so check that out if you wanna. 🙂
  • Don’t bother comparing answers with your friends, no one really knows what the ‘correct answer’ is so you’ll only freak yourself out more if you think too much about the SJT after it’s over.

This is the official link to my school’s FAQ for Med admission, which lightly touches on all aspects of the admission process. 🙂

Applying for NTU Med

  • Disclaimer: The NTU section has not been updated since 2016 and will probably never be updated, since I’m not an LKC student.
  • Only those who took the BMAT can apply to NTU, which means there’s considerably less competition, and the applicants are actually serious about med.
  • The word limit for the NTU PS is only 300 words (!!!), which means you have to slash most of your NUS personal statement to make the magical 300 word limit. Start work on it early and get your friends/seniors to give you feedback (the more critical they are, the better).

NTU Interview/MMI

  • The MMI (multiple mini interviews) is similar to the FSA, but with more stations. There were 8 stations, and each was 3 minutes long.
  • Our parents were invited to attend the pre-MMI briefing with us, where they explained the differences between NUS & NTU med and why we should pick LKC over YLL (lol @ the rivalry).
  • The atmosphere was also very relaxed, and they plied us with food before starting the interviews!!

Admission outcome & the waitlist

  • The info below was accurate as of May 2016, but may have changed since then.
  • As mentioned in the timeline, the first wave of results will be released in early May via an online portal (used for all SG uni applications). Our results were released on 5th May, but some of my friends got theirs a few days/weeks later.
  • Your online portal will show you which courses you’ve been accepted into. If it shows your 2nd/3rd choice instead of Med, then you know you’ve been rejected or at least put on the waitlist.
  • If you didn’t get accepted in the first round, you’ll be on a waiting list. There’s still hope of getting accepted into NUS/NTU when those higher up on the waitlist reject their offers. The waitlist takes a few months to clear, cos some people can’t decide whether they wanna go overseas or take their NUS/NTU place. As long as they don’t reject their offer, the waiting list doesn’t move.
  • The NTU waitlist moved a lot, because a fair number were accepted by both NUS & NTU. Almost everyone picked NUS > NTU, so the NTU list kept moving and a lot more people were suddenly accepted.
  • Some batchmates were accepted as late as mid-July, because some guys couldn’t defer NS, so the space was freed up for them. Don’t give up hope! (until term starts in Aug; by then it’s really too late)

Do read through the other comments and my FAQ post to see if I’ve already answered your query (esp if you’re asking about grades/cutoff points), as I get way too many duplicate questions! 🙂

If you’d like to stay up to date with my life as a junior doctor or see what I get up to in my free time, follow me on Insta or like my FB page!

xoxo,
Faith

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

  1. Hi Faith, if someone doesn’t get their medicine offer immediately during the first batch of offers sent out for med, will they immediately be given the second/third choice or is there a possibility that there wouldn’t be any change in their application outcome until a few day/weeks later when they get their medicine offer? (Sorry if this was confusing!)

    Like

    1. Hi Frozen, I’m not very sure about this, but I believe that once you’re offered your other choices/courses, it means you’re either on the waiting list (not sure if they will notify those on the waitlist) or have not been selected. I’m not sure about the batches/waves of acceptance letters, cos it might have changed since my batch, so I can’t really help with that, you might want to check with your batchmates or immediate seniors instead! 🙂

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      1. Hi faith! I got offered NUS medicine haha so excited!! Thank you so much for your help!

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        1. Ohmy congrats Frozen!! Welcome to the Med family, and feel free to hmu if you need any more advice or have questions abt school life! :))

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  2. HI Faith, I received news that I got into NUS Medicine!!!! But im abit worried abt the curiculum and my ability to cope? Do you have any advise on the topics/resources abt the topics taught in M1? Thank youu so much for your help

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    1. Hi Mia, congrats on getting in! Hmm I’m not sure what specific advice will help; you could read the other parts in my med school series about life as an M1-3, to get a better idea of the lifestyle and academic aspects of med school. 🙂 Do lmk if you still have any questions after reading those!

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  3. Hi Faith! I’m currently a J1 student and I’ve always wanted to pursue Med, but I’m not very smart so I’m afraid that my UAS might not meet the cut off for my year…. how should I study more effectively especially for Biology and Chemistry? I love your blog post! It’s really formative and really motivates me and spurs me on to continue chasing my goals of pursuing Med!(:

    Like

    1. Hi Brianne, thanks for supporting my blog! 🙂

      Hmm just fully utilise your school’s resources, and find a method of studying that works for you (quality > quantity!). Keep doing revision papers and getting used to the style of the exam questions, so you won’t be so stressed in the months leading up to your A levels!

      It’s great to hear that you’re taking steps to reach your goal of med school, keep it up and I wish you all the best!

      Like

  4. Hi Faith!
    What made you enter medicine instead of other allied healthcare courses (eg nursing)? What made you want to become a doctor and not eg a dentist?

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    1. Hi Elaine! To be honest, I never considered (or applied for) any course other than Medicine haha 🙂 I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to be a dentist (or any other healthcare-related course), as I don’t enjoy the academic curriculum or nature of the work as much.

      Like

  5. Hi Faith! I’m a Jc1 student currently doing IB and am really interested in studying med in future (: we’ve all chosen our subject combis not too long ago and I chose to take BCE M though I could’ve taken BCM E purely due to lack of interest in math and desire to focus on other extracurriculars. but I’m not sure if it’s the right choice? – though NUS med doesn’t require HL/H2 math as a prerequisite, I was wondering if they take it as a gauge of one’s academic ability or anything? thank you so much ><

    Like

    1. Hmm don’t quote me on this, but I don’t think they actually care abt the subject combi rather than just the raw IB score? They never specified any particular requirements for math, and they didn’t ask about our subject combi at any point during the interviews, so I don’t think it’ll put you at a significant disadvantage or anything 🙂

      Don’t worry too much and just continue working towards your dream; hope to see you around in the wards many years down the road!

      Like

  6. Hi Faith~ thanks for taking the initiative of writing a blog about nus.. I’m actually an international student and all these terms (h1, uas etc) are very confusing and to be honest i dont have that much activity in my community and in junior high since our curriculum did not include them. Just want to know if such achievement are really important? I do have good academic achievement but that’s about it. If you can, will you please help me through this?

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    1. Hi Shustine, are you a Singaporean citizen or PR? Because I’m only familiar with the admission process for local students, so I don’t think I’ll be of much help to you if you aren’t! (I believe ~99% of our students are locally-educated due to the government quota? Not v sure)

      I’d advise you to contact the NUS Med faculty directly to inquire about the admission requirements for international students, as they may differ! 🙂 All the best for ur application!

      Like

  7. Hello!!! Ummmm I just wanted to know if you will receive an sms when you get accepted (outcome) or do we have to keep looking at the NUS UAS Portal.. HAAHHAA

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    1. Haha it’ll be on the portal, and you may receive an email (I can’t rmb if my batch received emails, but I definitely didn’t get an SMS)

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  8. hello faithh. Iam currently a jc 1 student who is interested in enrolling into med, either in ntu and nus. Recently, there are a lot of questions that has been boggling my mind.

    Say if i take BMAT in 2021 and achieved 87.5 rank points for A levels (released in 2022), am i able to apply to both NUS yllsom and NTU lkcsom (in hopes that i can either get into one of them)?

    And since you have already been through this experience, do you know if whether the application periods or interview sessions (just the whole entire process it general) for both schools usually clash with each other?

    (its okay if you dont really know the following questions below :D)

    How would taking BMAT be compared to H2 bio? Would it be of same difficulty, harder or easier?

    Does having a outstanding BMAT result offset a not so good A level results. (say eg if your a level is 85 rp but your BMAT is really good)

    p.s i dont really know of anyone who is well-versed in the topic of medicine. Is it possible to contact you if i have any more questions, id really be of great help 🙂

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    1. Hi there!

      1) Yep, most ppl apply to both schools!
      2) The interviews are during the usual months when uni admission interviews are conducted, and if there’s any schedule clashes, just let either faculty’s admissions team know, they will reschedule for you!
      3) The BMAT isn’t a Biology-based exam at all; it contains writing, science (Bio/Chem/Physics/Math) and thinking components! You should google to view the components of the test and adequately prepare for it 🙂
      4) I can’t speak for NTU admissions, but Med admissions are already extremely competitive, so there will likely be many ppl who have both a good BMAT score + good A lvl grades!

      Like

  9. Hello Faith,
    I am a PR and I heard that PR has a very low acceptance rate for NUS med, do you know the number of students who are PR in NUS med? I have just ORD-ed last year and applied for NUS Med only this year. Personally, I don’t think my interview was the best, and combined with being a PR I don’t think i have a very high chance of getting selected…

    Like

    1. Hi ZB, I’ve heard similar things as well (a 1% PR quota for all local med schools), and I personally only know of 2 ppl in my batch (out of 300) who are PRs. But there may be more who I’m unaware of!

      All the best, and hope you’re able to pursue Medicine, even if not in Singapore! 🙂

      Like

  10. Hi Faith,

    Thanks for your time and effort in putting together all the details and info!

    Would like to find out if you have a feel of the number who were placed on waitlist and then later managed to receive offers. I suspect the numberthis year will be very small due to the pandemic.

    Thanks!

    Like

    1. Hi YS! Unfortunately I’m not privy to these numbers (no one is), but the number is likely more than you think it is! I personally knew of a lot of people who rejected NUS Medicine for other opportunities/scholarships (they would have helped the waitlist move up), and the waitlist was still moving until the first week of our academic year (with a few ppl pulling out or deciding to study abroad).

      The NTU waitlist moves a fair amount from what I’ve heard, since a lot of people are accepted into both med schools and most choose NUS.

      Hope this helps!

      Like

  11. I have IB score 38 and thinking of applying under EIS. Do you think my score is too low to consider this route, even on EIS ? Have you encountered pple who got in below 40?

    Like

    1. Hi Zoey! I’m not sure about the cutoff for EIS, but for normal applicants, most of my batchmates who took IB got 42-45 (back in 2015, not sure if it’s changed over the years). All the best with your application! 🙂

      Like

  12. Hi Faith, Thank you for the encouraging and informative blog. I am in Y6 student this year and plan to take BMAT later this year, apply for both local schools med admissions in ’22.

    In case this doesn’t work out I wish to explore alternatives outside Singapore. However My parents want me to try UCAT only in 22 to focus better on school and BMAT this year.

    It is not clear to me on pros/cons or how difficult or feasible to study for UCAT while in NS? Would you have any inputs please.

    Like

    1. Hi Subbu, glad my blog’s been able to help you! The UCAT (it was called UKCAT in my time) is really quite easy compared to the BMAT as it doesn’t require academic knowledge; it’s just a lot of reasoning/reading comprehension/synthesising information/some fun puzzles.

      I would recommend just buying 1 UCAT prep book at most (cos the books aren’t cheap LOL), just to get a feel of how they set the questions. 🙂 All the best!

      Like

  13. Hi Faith,

    I’m applying to YLL and LKC medicine this year and I scored 88.875 rp (including MT) with a B in GP. Will I be able to qualify for the interviews through the standard route or should I apply through the aptitude based scheme to be safe?

    Thanks so much!

    Like

    1. Hi A, there’s no harm applying via the aptitude-based scheme, since it doesn’t require much additional effort on top of the main application! Good luck! 🙂

      Like

  14. Hi Faith, you are doing a great help for the students community. My friend’s son got all As(Maths,phy.chem,GP & Economics with RP-90. all subjects are H2 except GP(H1). He is all rounder, got couple of award in academic and CCA. which option for us to chose for NUS medicine, either ABAS or standard scheme? Also what’s his chance for NUS medicine? Thanks in advance

    Like

    1. Hi Kana, do refer to my Q&A post, where I’ve addressed these questions in detail! 🙂 All the best to your friend’s son!

      Like

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