Life at Monash-Parkville as a Pharmacy Student

My name is Leong Kum Chuan and I am studying the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) in Monash University, Melbourne Parkville campus. It was a dream come true to be given an opportunity to study in the best pharmacy school in Australia, Monash University – Victorian College of Pharmacy.

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Monash focuses mainly on research hence research assignments and lab reports are essential. The curriculum of the school of pharmacy provides me great exposure allowing me to gain a vast knowledge in the field of pharmacy. Monash provides us with the latest technology in learning such as MyDispense: a pharmaceutical leading technology allowing us to virtually dispense through a computer. Besides that, Monash University helps us to overcome stage fright and improve our communication skills through the programme through our presentations each semester. Every semester, pharmacy students are expected to present topics covered in our lectures for 15 minutes providing us bountiful of opportunities to research and explore our interests. One of my previous topics was on gastroesophageal reflux disease. To counsel patients, communication skills and confidence is essential. Besides that, having a high proficiency in English is important for a pharmacist and proficiency in other languages too provides a leverage.

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Monash University has 3 campuses in Victoria (Clayton, Parkville and Peninsula). Monash Parkville is also known as the Victorian College of Pharmacy, which is the pharmaceutical campus for Monash University. The Parkville campus is located in close proximity with the University of Melbourne. As compared to other campuses, the campus is relatively small and accommodates lesser club and societies. Therefore my friends and I joined Malaysian of Melbourne University (MoMU) and we met a lot of friends there!

For me, the highlight of the campus is the library as we can have group discussion. The library is split into a quiet zone as well as the discussion zone provided for the convenience of the students to suit the purpose of the student in using the library.

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The syllabus of pharmacy involves a lot of scientific knowledge requiring a deep understanding and memorizing which proves to be quite a challenging course. In my opinion, we are on par with a doctor as we have to be competent in communication as well as a mastery in our knowledge.

Whilst a pharmacist is a mastery in the uses, interactions and its safety uses in regards to drugs and medicines, a general practitioner is good at diagnosing and providing treatment.  Besides gaining knowledge from lectures and researches we do for our presentations, we are also have to analyse a substantive amount of case studies, workshops and group tutorials. In case studies, we are given a scenario to brainstorm with our groupmates to solve it. Case studies requires one to think out of the box and encourage a good relationship and foster teamwork with your peers to solve the problem. On the other hand, workshops are held to expose us and give us a better understanding in regards to our lectured topics. It also teaches us the procedures of the experiments with the use of a computer and molecular modelling kit.

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Each year, Monash accepts 150 pharmacy students from Australia and different countries such as Malaysia, Hong Kong and China. To put it in a nutshell, personally I think studying pharmacy in Monash University, Melbourne is great! It allow me to pursue my dream. I believe I will become a successful pharmacist in no time!


Leong Kum Chuan

Kum Chuan is currently studying the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) at Monash University Parkville campus. He is an outgoing person, with a true Melburnian spirit. Food hunting around Melbourne is what he does when he is not busy with his studies.

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 http://www.monash.edu.my/study/apply/application-form/online-application. 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.