Applying to the National University of Singapore with AUSMAT

NUS Signage

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Hello there! I am Chin Jie Yin, currently a year 1 Psychology student in the National University of Singapore.

I completed my Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) in Sunway College JB in 2014, and received the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE). For those who don’t know, AUSMAT is the Australian equivalent of Cambridge A-levels. I took 5 subjects: English, Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Chemistry, and got an ATAR of 96.45, which qualified me to make an application to NUS. Their minimum requirement is an ATAR 90, with at least 94 preferred to make a competitive application, according to the website.

When I applied, I had to include my results from secondary school up till pre-u, along with various co-curricular activities and achievements along the way.  These included competitions on various levels, positions held, or any noteworthy events. I included details of my time in the drama club in secondary school, the competitions we participated in and the prizes we won. Additionally, I was supposed to submit proof of competency in English, which I did by submitting my IELTS results.

Besides these, I recall having to answer a short essay question that concerns an event that has a large impact on me. I don’t remember the exact details, but I remember writing about my time in secondary 2 and met with some obstacles that I eventually had to overcome on my own. I suppose this section was to assess language competency and how reflective one is. Well played, NUS, well played.

Aside from the application, there was no entrance test to take, unlike NTU. So all I had to do after I submitted my application was to wait for the letter of acceptance/rejection. The only test I took I was IELTS since many universities require it in the application. It was rather easy, and I just bought the reference book to look through and try the questions. I took the test after a preparation of a month and got an overall score of 8.0. The tip is to be familiar with the style and format of testing, and prepare with that in mind. The difficulty is not a problem if you have sufficient basic background to know good grammar.

As I only put these 2 choices in my application: Arts & Social Sciences and Science, I did not need to attend any interviews for admission into the courses, which were only required for Architecture, Dentistry, Industrial Design, Law, Medicine and Nursing. However, since I applied to Ridge View Residential College (RVRC), a residential college program for freshmen, I had to go through a Skype interview. The atmosphere was rather friendly, though I still felt nervous as it was my first ever interview of such nature. I was asked about my interests and why I wanted to join the program. It wasn’t very tense, as the questions were to know more about my personal opinions, so there was no pressure in giving the right answer, as long as they were answered truthfully from your own point of view.

Eventually, I think what helped me in my application are my co-curricular records and academic achievements within the school (eg. Getting best in subject or top 5 in level) Besides just CCA records, I also included the personal achievements such as being selected to do a short video for a Chinese teaching material that MOE was going to use, representing my school in the Australian Mathematics Competition and so on. In addition to these were my O level and AUSMAT results. I probably would not have made it into NUS if I only had one without the other.

That was how I applied to NUS. I will suggest future applicants to make the effort to include every single achievement or participation in events or competitions in the application, whether they are only on a school level or a larger scale, or whether you think it’s relevant to the course you’re applying for, while not forgetting to include good academic records. For the mini essay part, I would suggest applicants to write with purpose, and to write eloquently with sincerity. You only have one shot at this so make it count, so you will have no regrets. In fact, you may thank yourself later for being so serious about this when you are enjoying life in NUS.

With that, I would like to wish all prospective NUS students all the best in your application and university life!

Jie Yin

Jie Yin is a daydreamer pursuing her Psychology degree in the National University of Singapore. Sometimes when she smiles her dimples will show, but most of the time they remain hidden like elusive creatures.


A Guide to Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Netherlands, Land of Culture, Cycling, Coffee shops and more


In a Q&A session, CollegeLAH asked Matthew about his journey to the University College Utrecht (UCU) in the Netherlands.

Tell us a little bit about yourself Matthew.

I’m a proud Penangite! However, 2 years ago, I decided to take a leap of faith and ventured to Saint Joseph’s Institution International in Singapore for my sixth form studies. Academically, my next port of call will be University College Utrecht in the Netherlands where I’ll be pursuing a Liberal Arts and Sciences course.

That’s a pretty unorthodox route you’ve elected to take. What made you choose to study in the Netherlands and more particularly at University College Utrecht (UCU)?

Choosing UCU was a pretty easy choice. I felt that the course suited my learning style with its small class sizes promoting in-depth discussions while allowing students to read broadly across a wide range of subjects of their choice. For a person who hasn’t exactly found his passion yet, I figured that this would be a great opportunity seeing as instead of “closing doors”, I‘d actively be exploring avenues where my potential passions in life lie.

Additionally, UCU is the honours college of the University of Utrecht – the largest university in the Netherlands. As a result, UCU has a diverse mix of students from different backgrounds, nationalities and interests. The ability to live on campus and be part of such a driven yet diverse community was something that really appealed to me.   

Finally the generous scholarship the university awarded me was certainly an affirmation of my decision.

As to why the Netherlands, I guess that had something to do with my curiosity for adventure! However on a more practical level, many Dutch institutions are very well regarded internationally,  a plethora of courses there are conducted in English, the fees are competitively priced, it’s culturally liberal and situated in the heart of Europe… I could go on all day!

That was a pretty detailed account. What was the application process to your university like and when were the deadlines?

It was pretty straightforward. There’s a process somewhat similar to UCAS called Studielink. However I recommend contacting the university’s admissions office directly as each institution might differ slightly in their admissions process or criteria.

That being said, it is highly recommended to go to an institution’s website and read carefully. Especially, look out for what they expect of a potential candidate as well as the values that they treasure and will ultimately judge you by. This applies generally irrespective of where you’re applying to or what you’re applying for.

With regards to deadlines, a safe target to aim for would be to have everything ready and submitted by the first week of January if you’re planning to enter in Fall of that year. This chiefly includes, transcripts, letters of recommendation, essays etc. It can get pretty intense as this period is when most universities have their deadlines for international students; again this might differ based on program and institution.

Was there an interview process?

Interviews actually are the exception in the Netherlands, only the more selective courses, such as the Liberal Arts and Sciences and other numerus clauses courses, tend to interview candidates. Mine was done over Skype but otherwise admission to most programmes are usually judged based on academic merit.

How did you prepare for the interview and was there anything that stood out?

It might seem counterintuitive but a handy tip would be to ready a set of well thought out questions to ask the interviewer. The questions you ask not only reflect where your interests lie but also shows that you’ve taken the initiative to research and are genuinely curious about the subject/institution.

Apart from that I think it’s good to keep in mind that this is as much a chance for you to shine as it is for them to gauge whether you’re the right fit for their institution instead of some interrogation session. I was pleasantly surprised by how casual it all seemed especially despite our obvious differences in background we were able to converse frankly and freely on intellectually stimulating topics. Perhaps I was lucky that I got a nice interviewer, who knows?

What did you include in your personal statement/essay(s)? Maybe you could also elaborate on how you wrote the essay?

Funny you should mention it, I actually wrote my essay while on holiday somewhere in Vietnam very close to the deadline. Although the limited internet connectivity probably did help sustain my focus while writing, nonetheless I would not advise anyone to repeat that. So if you can, do start writing early!

What to include is pretty subjective, it really depends on the essay questioned posed. From my experience they tend to be short, roughly 500 words, and directed; bear in mind that this is a chance for the admissions team to get to know how you think and who you are as person. So make the best use of your words to express your ideas, it might take a couple drafts and time to proof, but that’s just part of the process.

What do you think contributed to your success of your application? What were some of the past experiences/ ECA/ work attachment/ academic achievements that you included in your essay?

Honestly, I can’t say for certain. Nonetheless, in answering the latter question, I tried to incorporate past experiences that highlighted the values that I genuinely share with the institution.

It’s not enough to say that I’ve been the president of XYZ society, or I raised XXX amount of money for charity. Personally, I think what differentiates a good candidate is how they explicitly relate their circumstance and subtly weave it into the narrative of the case that they are trying to make. In my situation, I wrote about how I adapted to leaving home for a new place to study and more specifically what I took away from the experience that might aid me in future.

One big lesson I learnt, “how you present something is often of equal importance as to what you’re presenting”.

What advice would you give to future applicants?  What are some of the useful resources you used?

Sounds like a dating website but is a very good way of narrowing things down if you’re interested in studying in Europe. is also another worthwhile site to visit if you’re looking for scholarships.

As for advice, following the theme of previous CollegeLAH contributors, START PLANNING EARLY! It’s OK to not know what you want, that’s NORMAL. As a French philosopher so aptly phrased it “I know well what I am fleeing from but not what I am in search of”.

Insofar as your search continues, speak to people, dream and make a plan with realistic goals toward the direction of your choosing. At the same time be open to new possibilities which might alter those dreams; when the opportunity arises dare to sometimes take the road less travelled, life might just surprise you!


A believer in “passing it forward”, Matthew Tan encourages more to share their university application experiences with others especially on sites like CollegeLAH.  He is currently pursuing a Liberal Arts and Sciences course in University College Utrecht in the Netherlands.

United World Colleges Application


UWC makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.”

UWC (United World Colleges) is comprised of 14 colleges spread throughout the globe and is united by the mission statement:

  • UWC Adriatic, Italy
  • UWC Atlantic College, UK
  • UWC Costa Rica, Costa Rica
  • UWC Dilijan, Armenia
  • UWC Li Po Chun, Hong Kong
  • UWC Maastricht, Netherlands
  • UWC Mahindra College, India
  • UWC Mostar, Bosnia
  • UWC Pearson College, Canada
  • UWC Red Cross Nordic, Norway
  • UWC Robert Bosch College, Germany
  • UWC South East Asia, Singapore
  • UWC Waterford Kamhlaba, Swaziland

Have I mentioned that we also do the IB (International Baccalaureate)?

PS: If you’re unaware about the UWC movement as a whole, this video is a good starting point:

Hi! My name is Josephine Foong and I am currently a second year at UWC Atlantic College and I’m here to briefly run through the application procedure.

In order to get into a UWC, students are required to go through an application process with his/her National Committee (NC). This is similar to the Malaysian NC. You begin with an application form (along with instructions) which can be found on the Malaysian NC’s website, and admission is a selective process. Upon submission of completed forms that comprise your general information, financial requirements, preferences, and some briefs to write – you then submit your application via post or deliver it to the office yourself.

Trust me when I say this was a nerve-wrecking experience.

The confirmation email stating that I was accepted to move on to the next round, was probably one of the best emails I’ve received. The next round is an individual interview. If anything, it was definitely one of the most daunting interviews I’ve had thus far. I’m not allowed to say anything specific regarding the content of the interview, but imagine being placed in the ‘hot seat’, in front of five people who listen to your every word and then use your own words against you. So, you should be knowledgeable about issues both locally and globally, be able to think on the spot and try not to sound stupid during the process.

Personally, I came out of the interview room feeling defeated and felt like my chances of entering a UWC were over.

Maybe someone in that room saw something that I didn’t, and I ended up receiving another email two weeks later saying that I passed the individual interviews and advanced into the group interview round.

The group interview was a lot less formal and more relaxed than the individual interview. Here you’ll meet the rest of the applicants that have made it thus far. You’ll be separated into smaller groups and separated again into two different rooms where two different activities take place – you either start the day with teamwork-related activities (which were very entertaining to say the least) or you’ll start it with a discussion-based activity where members of the National Committee throw prompts and issues for a group discussion to take place. The group interview lasted for about 6 hours and I was absolutely knackered after it.

With this, the NC makes the final decision – you’re either in or you’re out.

If you get in, you’ll receive a confirmation email inviting your parents and yourself to an informal interview to inform you which college you’ve been sent to alongside a Q&A session and the financial aspects of it all.

Note that you don’t choose which college you go to, because when you apply – you apply to the UWC movement as a whole.

Trust me when I say it’s an experience of a lifetime: Good Luck!


Josephine Foong is an aspiring entrepreneur/photographer who is currently doing the IB at UWC Atlantic College. She’s usually seen with her camera and flip flops. Kinder Bueno makes her very happy.

Medicine Twinning Programme in Penang and Ireland


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Hello everyone! Greetings from the land of Leprechauns and everything green!! If you are reading this article, that means you have at least a slight interest in studying Medicine in Ireland!! Well, first let me introduce myself! I am Yeo Chun Huay from Subang Jaya, currently studying medicine in University College Dublin, Ireland! I did the Cambridge A-Levels course in Taylor’s College Subang Jaya, which, I must say, helps a lot when you reach university since you would have covered quite a lot of things back in the A-Levels programme!

Now, I am actually in the Penang Medical College program, which is a twinning program. The pre-clinical years (2.5 years) will be done here in Dublin, Ireland while the clinical years (2.5 years) will be done back in Penang, Malaysia. This is a choice for people who missed out on the IUMC dates, or didn’t meet the requirements for it. For people who don’t know what IUMC is, it’s the Irish Universities and Medical Schools Consortium. That’s where you need to apply to if you are looking for a full 5-year/6-year medicine course in Ireland. For this article, I’m just going to tell you guys about the Penang Medical College programme. You don’t need to write a personal statement or anything to enter. Basically, the process is actually quite easy. All you need to do is fill out the registration form, hand it in and wait for your interview date. Once you’ve got your interview date, you have to travel to Penang (if you don’t already live there) for the interview.

For the interview, I have to say that not much preparation is needed. The common question I think was a typical medical school question, “Why do you wanna be a doctor?” Get the answer to that in your mind before you enter and you should be fine. Basically the interview is more of a confirmation from them just to check if you are serious in pursuing this medicine course and not drop out half-way. It’s a solo interview so please don’t get nerve spasms! The interviewer was quite friendly for me so you guys should have no problem. It’s most probably going to be more of a discussion than an interview anyway! If everything goes well, you will get your offer letter in matter of days or if you are lucky then in a few hours!

After getting the offer, there are some things to be done too. Health check is compulsory just to check for Hepatitis B Antigens and to get your Hep B Vaccine. IELTS is also a necessity, so you need to score a 6.5 average and a minimum of 6.0 in each of the four sections of the test. IELTS wasn’t really a very hard English test for me since I have a good English foundation since young. Some tips to get you through IELTS is just to do their sample tests or watch any videos on the test you can find on YouTube! There really isn’t any point in spending a lot of money to attend their workshop since you can find everything online anyway. Just don’t panic on the day of the test and you will be fine. Apparently you can do TOEFL instead of IELTS but I went for IELTS so you need to check that yourself. For attachments, personally I’ve never had any hospital attachments before I came here to Ireland so it’s not a compulsory thing, but you may do it just to get some exposure to the medical world. Volunteer jobs are entirely up to you; if you think that they help you then by all means go ahead!

There’s one more thing that I would like to add! On the website, the deadline for the registration for PMC is in February. But I actually applied in August and kind of rushed through my application in a month, and I arrived in Dublin on September the 1st! Although I got through within a month, please don’t be like me; apply earlier, please! The process of rushing is so not fun. NOT FUN AT ALL! Also, if you apply earlier at least you will have a goal to spur you through your A-Levels! So just to remind you, set your path as early as you can!

That basically wraps up your application process for studying in Ireland through the PMC Programme. Since I was an A-Level student, here are some tips and reminders for you guys about the CAL programme. Study hard and look around for scholarships while you are at it. Although medical scholarships are super rare, just keep an eye out or discuss with your friends. For you guys who are going to sit for AS, score as high as possible, while you guys who are sitting for A2 soon, keep doing past years and you should be fine. Heck, I did better in A2 than in AS!  Most importantly, don’t miss out on deadlines for applications! That can scar you for life, or just wait another year! Just in case some of you don’t know, Ireland is part of the European Union and not the United Kingdom, so prices for everything here is in Euro! Hope you guys have a pleasant time applying to come to Ireland! It’s a grand place and I’m sure you are going to like it here. Hope to see you guys here. Cheers!

P.s: Here are the minimum requirements for the PMC programme!

Yeo Chun Huay
1st year Medical Student in UCD (Stage 2)
8 October 2014


Yeo Chun Huay is a self-funded student currently pursuing his medicine degree in University College Dublin. He will be returning to Penang Medical College in 2017 with students from both UCD and Royal College Surgeons Ireland (RCSI). He has one motto in Ireland, if its free, don’t complain!

Medicine in Monash Malaysia


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1. What was included in the application process to read Medicine in Monash Malaysia?

I applied online through My advice is to apply as soon as your forecast/ actual results are available.  A band score of 7.0 is required in IELTS. The ISAT (International Student Admissions Test) is required too!

2. What are some of the activities you participated in that you think helped your application?

Being a member of the St John Ambulance Malaysia, I learned a lot about first aid and how to handle emergency cases. It mainly helped me in my interview, more specifically how to think critically and how to answer questions asked by the interviewer. I also believe that the school is looking for people who can work well in a team.

3. How was the interview session?

The interview session was fun because it was like a mini game going on. Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) could be tough for some people that couldn’t read carefully, think critically and answer questions quickly.

There were 4 interviewers with different questions. Candidates were given 2 minutes to read through the passage and 8 minutes to answer 5 to 6 questions.

The passages I got were on:

  • Doctors being tired due to long shifts;
  • Helping aboriginal children in funding on breakfast scheme;
  • Parents not agreeing on children studying agriculture; and
  • Team members neglecting their projects. Give advice.

Some of the interviewers are quite strict; you’ll be pestered and pushed to answer the questions. Most are very friendly and they’ll allow you to ask questions like how the syllabus is and anything you’re curious about. The “seniors” are quite helpful too! Don’t be shy to ask them for tips.

PS: Running is required, so ladies, ditch your high heels.

4. What do you think contributed to the success of your application?

I think the interview covers a whole lot in the application process. So as I mentioned earlier, ECAs and teamwork will help your answering technique. Do practice questions on ISAT and score well in your Pre-U course.

5. What advice would you give to future applicants?

Good luck in your future career as a doctor! Don’t be too stressed up on studies and do well!

*Note: Monash University Malaysia uses the same syllabus as Monash University Australia and is recognized by both the Malaysian Medical Council and Australian Medical Council. You may apply for housemanship in Australia.*

imageedit_14_6684298470Melanie Hew is a joyful girl who enjoys bringing happiness to people. She will be pursuing Bachelor of Biomedicine in the University of Melbourne. She hopes to be a paediatric cardiologist in the future.

Medicine in University of Gadjah Mada Indonesia


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Hello there! If you are looking at this wall of text, I presume you are interested in at least one of these following courses: Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Veterinarian Science. If you’re not then you might be looking at the wrong post.

Let me just be honest. I chose University of Gadjah Mada (UGM), Yogyakarta, Indonesia to study medicine due to economical considerations as I come from a middle-income family. The whole course costs around RM 200k. The fees increase from year to year, so check it out yourself.

First, let me do a brief introduction of Yogyakarta (but I believe Mr Google can do a lot better than me). Yogyakarta is a city located in central Java, famous for its special status as the only city in Indonesia with a Sultan, and also well-known for the number of universities crammed into this little city. Here, you can see university students literally everywhere, and the city’s economy revolves around the needs of students: from 24-hour photocopy shops to convenience stores and cafés – even Dunkin Donuts is open 24/7! You don’t even have to worry about your laundry, as for less than RM 1 per kilo, people will be begging you to let them do your laundry, iron it and give it back to you all neatly folded.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 
I took the SPM, then came here to study in University of Gadjah Mada after doing a short foundation in science course (7 months). For more info on this, please contact the sole agents managing the students entering this university (Medic ProLink and Nugrahan)

Link to FB:

What was included in the application process to your university?
It involved taking an entrance exam, called the Gadjah Mada Scholastic Test. I was tested on the 3 sciences, Mathematics, English, and Bahasa Indonesia. The tests that were difficult were the Mathematics and Physics tests. The test consisted of hundreds of objective questions, and the marking scheme was: 4 points awarded for each correct answer and -1 point for every wrong answer. But it appears that in 2014, the test has been altered and it is no longer that difficult. There is a psychological test and IQ test too. All the tests will be done on the same day, and you will be interviewed on the spot by doctors for aptitude (just to make sure you have interest in the course you are pursuing, nothing much). The interview is normally one-sided, where you answer questions the doctor asks. Make sure you keep up on the latest medical news as there will be a question or two on recent medical issues. The results will be announced a month or two later. The tests normally commence in June or July, so be sure to contact the agents before this period. My recommendation: study as hard as you can before the exam because whether you enter or not all depends on the test results.

What did you include in your personal statement?
For the personal statement, well I just wrote an honest summary about myself, my strengths, and my weaknesses. They just expect something simple, just so that they can see if you are suited for the course you want to pursue at their university.

Did you perform any attachment?  
I did a medical attachment before I entered university, but in my opinion it was solely to convince myself that I am interested in medicine and to experience the life of a doctor. You will get more than enough hands-on experience in the clinical years if you have the right attitude and sufficient knowledge, so do not worry.

What advice would you give to future applicants?  
Think carefully before you choose medicine, dentistry, pharmacy or veterinarian science. Once you take the first step, there is no turning back. Any regrets will probably accompany you for your entire life, and turning back will result in a big waste of your parents’ money. Consider the number of people you need to compete with after returning to Malaysia, the amount of hours you will spend dating books and journals, and just simply being in the medical world where no one but people in the same field will understand stuff you say. Be prepared, for the medicine course is a very gruesome, multilevel mental challenge. It will change your life completely, in ways you will never have imagined, be it for good or for bad.

Now for you city folks, I’m going to address your main concerns.

Q: What is the average internet speed there? Will it be fast enough for me to video call home or have an online conference video call with my friends?
A: I’d say 2 Mbps tops for 3G network (normally only enough for social messaging and light browsing) and if you have the cash, 5 Mbps if you get a telephone line connected to your rented house. 5 Mbps costs around RM700 per month? Personally I use a 1 Mbps line which costs around RM70 and share it with 2 housemates.  Just nice for all of us, as long as we don’t stream movies at the same time.

Q: What is the usual means of transport?
A: Not many people here can afford cars so we get around by motorbikes. But there are some who prefer to get a car, which costs around RM50k?

Q: What are the living conditions there?
A: Well, money talks here so, the more money you are willing to spend, the better the conditions. A typical room with air conditioning and an attached bathroom for a girl easily goes up to RM 500, with water heater even more. Because all my expenses here are on my parents, I prefer to go on saving mode. My rent costs around RM 2k per year, so that can give you a general idea of how prices can vary. It is totally dependent on what you want. Climate here is similar to Malaysia, but the dry spells and rainy seasons are much more prominent than in Malaysia. Most nights are chilly enough, so sometimes you don’t even need to turn the fan on when you go to bed. Generally, Yogyakarta’s condition is similar to Ipoh, just not as developed as Kuala Lumpur. Expect to take a free “time-travel” back to our parent’s era where Coke is still sold in glass bottles, roadside stalls sell fuel for motorcyclists, small roadside stalls everywhere etc. Ask your parents how their era was like, and it won’t differ too much in terms of infrastructure, except for the fact that you have better technology like computers and 3G networks. In my opinion, it’s not too bad, but initially I really had a culture shock. Just saying.

The student is a low-profile medical student, currently studying in University of Gadjah Mada. He believes that everything in life has an answer or solution in the end.

Applying to Medicine in Trinity College Dublin


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Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am Emily Tan from Penang. I am currently studying medicine in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. I am now in my second year. I previously did my A-levels in Taylor’s College Subang Jaya.

What was included in the application process to your university?
The application process is relatively easy compared to UCAS. Basically, there is a specific application form when applying to Ireland universities. I had to rank the universities of my choice, namely Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, University College Cork and National University of Galway. I also had to send in a resume regarding my scholastic achievements and extra-curricular activities.

Did you perform any attachment?
I shadowed an orthopaedic surgeon in Penang General Hospital for a week. That experience was truly the defining moment for me to pursue medicine as my lifelong ambition. I have gained insights on the working life of a doctor and how important the doctor-patient relationship is, besides having knowledge on your respective field of work.

What are the ECAs that you think helped your application?
Music has played a huge role in my life as I have been playing the piano and violin since young. I channelled my passion into actively participating in the music scene in high school and also in college. Besides it being my passion, it is also another way for me to unwind and de-stress after a long day.

How was the interview session?
Successful applicants are shortlisted for an interview depending on which university you get into. I was interviewed by two Trinity representatives. It was more of a conversation/discussion rather than a formal interview. It was basically an interview to get to know you better. The questions posed were rather conventional, such as “Why did you choose medicine?” and they were more focused on my resume, so re-read your resume and thoroughly know what you wrote. Most of the time, the interviewers questioned more deeply into my response, so really know what you are going to say, but most importantly, just be yourself.

What advice would you give to future applicants?
Choose a field which you are most certainly passionate about. If you are uncertain about it, do attachments or talk to seniors to gain insights on what that particular “life” is all about. Do not be afraid to approach people who have already gone through this process. Good luck!

Here’s my email, if there are any queries on anything.

Emily TanEmily Tan Chiao Wei is currently chasing her dreams of being a medical practitioner in Trinity College Dublin. She has amazing patience and this meticulous character that compliments her friendliness so well. That aside, she also loves music and dogs as much as medicine, if not more.

Application to Australian Universities


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I am an Australian Permanent Resident and I took A Levels instead of Australian Year 12. I’m going to pursue Bachelor of Biomedicine in University of Melbourne, Australia.

It wasn’t until April this year that I found out that my university application was a completely different procedure compared to other students and the placement center in my college couldn’t assist me in my application. My reaction was like “Oh My Gosh, how I wish someone told me earlier so I wouldn’t have to go through this hassle!”

And yes, I shall tell you how to overcome this and not create a (sort of) mess like I did.

Step 1: check if your parents/you are Permanent Residents of Australia.

If you are an Australian PR, congratulations! (Please proceed to Step 3)

If you are not an Australian PR, congratulations! (Please proceed to Step 2)

Step 2: International students

International students with overseas qualifications (A Levels, CIMP, CPU, STPM, Malaysian Matriculation)

International students can apply directly to universities or through education centers like IDP or AUG. You may get your application fee waived.

  1.       Prepare your certificates and forecast results. Do bear in mind that you’ll have to certify your photocopied certificates.
  2.       Go onto university websites/education centers to get the application form.
  3.       Fill up the application form CORRECTLY.
  4.       Most of the universities will give you three choices, just fill in accordingly.
  5.       Hand in your application form!

International students with Australian qualifications (SAM, AUSMAT)

Some universities accept direct application but some requires online application. Do check your status ASAP to avoid hesitation.


Students who want to apply to Medicine, Dentistry, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Veterinary Medicine will have to apply earlier (January).

Students who wish to apply to Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine MUST sit for the International Students Admissions Test (ISAT) from February to October. You may choose the date and time to sit for the test. You must register 6 weeks before the date of examination, and the fee is 300 USD (as of 2014).

Step 3: Permanent Residents

Australian Year 12 students

You do not need to certify any documents. To lodge your university application, go onto the admission websites listed below

  • (South Australia ;eg: University of Adelaide, Flinders University)
  • ( New South Wales and Australia Capital Territory; eg: UNSW, University of Sydney)
  • (Victoria; eg: Monash University, University of Melbourne, RMIT)
  • (Western Australia; eg: Curtin University, University of Western Australia)
  • (Queensland; eg: University of Queensland)
  • (University of Tasmania)

You may login to/register your account in August for the Fall intake (February of the following year). The closing date for on time application falls on the end of September.

Non Year 12 students

This is going to be scary and intimidating but don’t worry you’ll be fine.

  1.       Register yourself on the admission websites.
  2.       Choose your course preferences.
  3.       Certify your documents.*
  4.       Send your documents to Australia

You’ll have to provide certified true copies of your IELTS, SPM and Pre-U results.

My advice is to go to the Australian High Commission Kuala Lumpur (Jalan Yap Kwan Seng) to get it certified. There is a cost applied (AUD 30 as of 2014)

Students applying for Medicine, Dentistry, and Veterinary Medicine will have to sit for the Undergraduate Medicine Admissions Test (UMAT) around end of July. The nearest test center is in Singapore. The website to this is

**Non Year 12 students are NOT eligible to apply for the Chancellor Scholars Program for University of Melbourne**

UMAT Experience

My advice is to register earlier and do more practice questions within the time frame. For UMAT, time is your biggest challenge. The questions are similar to the practice questions, but critical thinking is very important. Don’t get distracted and read the questions properly!


Here are some of the example questions:
Why do you want to pursue Medicine?
Tell us about your work experience/voluntary work.
Characteristics you think a doctor should have.

UNSW Medicine requires their applicants to fill up a Medical Application Form. It is similar to a personal statement but it is guided and more structured.

I was a member of the St John’s Ambulance Malaysia in SMK Seafield as well as a member of the Pre-Medicine Society in Taylor’s College Subang Jaya. This allowed me to have exposure to volunteer work. This helped me a lot in completing the application form and also in strengthening my points.

imageedit_14_6684298470Melanie Hew is a joyful girl who enjoys bringing happiness to people. She will be pursuing Bachelor of Biomedicine in the University of Melbourne. She hopes to be a paediatric cardiologist in the future.

IMU Malaysia Medicine Application

IMU Building 2

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1. What was included in the application process to IMU?

Apply online thru No personal statement is required although we need to sit for the IELTS.

2. What are some of the activities that you participated that you think helped your application?

I was a member of the Pre-Medical Society in Taylor’s College Subang Jaya. Participating in activities organized by the society gave me a chance to be exposed to people who are less fortunate. I was also a member of the St John Ambulance of Malaysia. I learned a lot on handling emergency cases, and had the chance to talk to medical personnels.

3. How was the interview session?

The interview session was quite tense and awkward because the interviewers kept on looking at each other when I answered their questions. Be prepared to be bombarded with a lot of questions on why you want to be a doctor. The last question is usually on your critical thinking.

The question I got was:

“Will you accept gifts (eg: BMW car) from your patient’s family member as a token of gratitude?” Don’t be surprised when your interviewers ask you, “what about a small card or a fruit basket? ”I nearly fainted trying to tell them my points.

4. What do you think contributed to the success of your application?

ECAs should be able to help you a lot on answering the questions. Do well academically (at least AAB for A Levels) if you’re planning to apply for the PMS (Partner Medical School) programme.

5. What advice would you give to future applicants?

Good luck and have fun! You may find examples of the critical thinking questions online. My friend who is a final year Medical student told me that IMU seldom change their critical thinking questions. All the best!

imageedit_14_6684298470Melanie Hew is a joyful girl who enjoys bringing happiness to people. She will be pursuing Bachelor of Biomedicine in the University of Melbourne. She hopes to be a paediatric cardiologist in the future.

Pharmacy at University of Nottingham Malaysia


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The application process to study pharmacy course (MPharm) at University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) includes a personal statement and a reference letter from your referee. An interview will also be held before they give you a conditional/unconditional offer.

I believe that the personal statement is what applicants are always worried about. It is always a devil in the job since it does not only require academic-related content but also non-academic-related content such as what inspires you, why you are interested in pharmacy, and so on. But don’t worry, UNMC’s personal statement only requires applicants to tell them why you have chosen to study the course that you have applied for, what made you choose UNMC and what your future plans are. You only have to answer their questions in essay form with not more than 4000 characters. The personal statement is actually a reflection of yourself, so a simple essay with short, brief sentences will do! The most important thing is for the reader to understand the messages you are trying to convey!

On the other hand, do not worry about your reference letter. All you need to do is give one of your lecturers the reference form, which can be found on the UNMC website, and they’ll do the rest for you. (: Do also take note that your lecturer might need your CV or any relevant documents in order to write the reference letter.

I was notified to attend the interview session 2 months later. They have introduced a new interview system this year. We were given some short briefings regarding the MPharm course and given a campus tour. The 12 of us were then divided equally into 2 groups and were assigned to different sections of the interview.  My first session was actually a group activity where we were each given several cards with different information, and all we needed to do was solve a mystery together. It turned out pretty fun and it actually calmed me down. Though they informed us that it’s just a group activity, in my opinion it was to evaluate our soft skills. Thus, do your very best, and that will do!

My next interview session was divided into 6 stations. In the beginning, we were all assigned to different stations. Each station had a time limit of 5 minutes, and we had to move to our next stations when the whistle was blown. The questions asked were not the typical questions such as why you want to study pharmacy, etc. Instead, the questions all revolved around Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology and general knowledge regarding the pharmaceutical field. Though what I had prepared for my interview was about the soft skills I had that make me eligible to be a pharmacist, this actually helped me in answering certain questions. The interviewer will eventually lead you to get the answer so always keep calm so that you are able to think well.

Overall, that’s it for you to get a place in UNMC to take up MPharm. I would like to say that the early bird catches the worm, so apply earlier if you are interested! Also, utilize your free time to plan your personal statement well. Do believe in yourself, and all the best!

imageedit_2_8280296411Chong Kai Qian is a JPA scholar currently pursuing her pharmacy degree at University of Manchester although she also received an offer from University of Nottingham Malaysia.