Archive for the ‘Medfac Activities’ Category

NUS Faculty of Medicine Undergraduate Interview Tips

That’s right. J., in his limited capacity as a newly graduated, haven’t-started-work, no-longer-as-idealistic-or-fresh-faced-as-first-entered-med-school house officer, is going to offer tips on what to say in the interviews to enter the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. He’s not going to talk on ‘duh’ tips like “wear a tie! look neat! don’t wear a miniskirt! speak well!” because that’s just pointless.

No wait, he is. Be sincere. Be honest. At the least, be great at pretending you are. And think, for crying out loud. Remember, at the medical interviews, everyone’s bleedin’ Mother Theresa.

Practise at own risk (AOR). Interview season’s coming!

Addendum: J.’s med school buddy has pointed out that in answering such questions, you should always address the science and the art. For instance, in the first question below, the care for patients and treating the sick is the art, and the cerebral understanding of the situation of a doctor is the science.

Let’s get a few things out of the way first. Watch Grey’s Anatomy. Watch House. Watch Channel 8 medical dramas. Now throw all that out the window. Let’s talk about some potential types of questions.

  1. Why do you want to do medicine? What makes you so sure?

    Allow J. to rephrase this question for you. “Are you a naive or pretentious bastard?” No, seriously. Let’s look at the ultimate cliché: because I want to SAVE LIVES. (pffft)

    Now, unless you’ve spent 3 months doing medical work in 3rd world countries and seen first hand the versatility and importance of doctors in improving the lives of folks, or have been working as a volunteer in hospices and am thus inspired to be a palliative physician AND have the eloquence to say that AND have proof of it… this statement is more likely than not going to make your interviewers roll their eyes.

    Someone once told J. when he was a bright-eyed CSFC student that doctors only cure about 20% of patients, and control disease for slightly more, and just relieve symptoms for a larger percentage. So the curing thing really falls short.

    So what to answer? The truth. There’s no single quality of a doctor, but a combination of everything. A big part of why you want to become a doctor because a medical professional is in a prime position to allay/prevent suffering, but you’d be lying if the combination of social respect, intellectual challenge and a comfortable but not luxurious living didn’t contribute.

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T-12hrs to first MBBS paper

S: “I feel like we’re patching holes in a sinking ship.”

J.’s never felt more helpless or unprepared one day before an examination. Ah well, here we go.

The Girl in Seminar Room M8

One evening, J. was studying in Seminar Room M8 and thinking, “Hmm… it’s already 9.30pm. I’ll just finish up this chapter and then head home.”

All of a sudden, the door flew open! In drifted a short girl, long hair untied, in a multi-coloured shift and shawl clutching boots, notes, an Acer laptop and a soft toy. She moved soundlessly across the room and placed her things on the table, then wordlessly walked out of the room.

J. looked on in amazement. “Who is this? Why this room? I’m getting the %*@# out of here!” were thoughts that raced through his mind.

Shortly after, the strange girl came back in, set and started talking to it. J. fervently hoped that she was using Windows Live Messenger/Skype and that her notebook computer had an integrated camera and microphone. He left for home, thankful that she had no once acknowledged his presence.

Some days later, J. was having his morning coffee in the Science canteen when she appeared clad in exactly the same attire, clutching the exact same items and sat down at a nearby table. J. didn’t know what to think… but was thankful that his companion noticed her as well (“Phew, I’m not hallucinating.”) He finished his coffee and left to clerk orthopedic same day admission (SDA) cases.

Most recently, J. arrived in the morning at 7.05am, ready for a fresh day of mugging. Concerned over whether he could use the seminar rooms near the old medical library, he entered the first one he saw: Seminar Room M8. The room was darkened… but the first thing that struck him was the strange, pungent smell… like food left for too long. With the faint light of the corridor, he the shadows of unattended notes, books and laptop computer perched upon the table… “Familiar… could it be?”

He flicked on the light as he pondered where the girl was. All of a sudden, a movement in the room! She had been lying across a few chairs sleeping, clad in the exact same outfit. With a start, J. apologised profusely and left as quickly as he could.

An odd experience, to be sure. Who is this girl? Why Seminar Room M8? We may never know.

Med/Sci Library Closing Time

The demolition of the old Medical Library is well under way, and the week’s Evidence-Based Nursing and Medicine Conference has ensured that people are flocking to the Med-Sci Library to study for the upcoming examinations.

It’s very peculiar, really. With two libraries’ librarians in one library, you’d think the workload should be decreased and library hours could be extended.

Not so. It seems as though extending opening hours for medical students’ use is a relic of the past. Where once medical students would study on Sundays until late at night, now it’s a strictly 5.30pm rule.

There’s also now an amazing way they close up the library… they rupture your eardrums with terrible elevator music so loud, it can be heard from the canteen. That’s 4 storeys down and 75m away.

Location at which the music is loud but not eardrum-bursting
Med/Sci Library Outside

A very loud pre-recorded tape plays: “The library will be closing in 15min time.” It’s followed immediately by an announcement that the lights will be turned off in 5min time.

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How Many Times Can I Fail in YLL SoM?

J. was rummaging through his stuff, packing things into nice little cardboard boxes to move to his new place. He chanced upon a set of paper that he received on admission (over 4 years have passed… that’s pretty quick).

Anyway, given that some people have been retaining multiple times, J. thought he’d read through it with regards as to how long one has to pass the exams. In the YLL SoM, one gets two second chances per examination. After a borderline grade in the main paper, one goes for a viva voce (like an interview) and if he fails that, goes on to the supplementary paper.

Note that for guys who have disrupted NS, the maximum number of years they’re allowed to complete medical school is 8 years (confirmation required).

Faculty of Medicine Undergraduate Course

[selective quotation ahead]
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Medsoc Exam Packs

In a day filled with not-so-good news and alright news, it was a pleasure to end with a spot of good news: the Medical Society Exam Packs (a.k.a. the morale-boosters), distributed in bags sponsored by SingTel (“Win FREE Unlimited SMS. a SingTel Mobile Student Plan lets u text till da cows come home”).

So what’s inside? A mix of the useful and the… not-so-useful, naturally.
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Medicine-Law Debate: Remuneration

The Medicine-Law Debate marked the end of the Inaugural Medicine-Law Challenge 2008, where the two faculties of NUS offering professional degrees tested their physical, mental and verbal skills against each other in soccer, rugby, floorball and debate.

Overall, Medicine wins with 3 wins to Law’s 2, but who wins and who loses doesn’t really matter. It’s more a matter of increasing interaction between the two faculties’ students and reviving a partnership that used to exist (or so J. hears, but don’t quote him on that, y’hear?)

Back to the subject at hand. The subject of the debate was [roughly] “This house believes that it is dangerous for society to pay its lawyers more than its doctors.

Pfft… when J. heard the topic, he almost puked blood. It would have been very amusing for the lawyers to be on the proposition, don’t you think? Unfortunately, the hapless medicine team set off to defend this indefe… well… difficult topic against the faculty of law.

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