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What Medical School is really like? – Part 1

When asked the question “On a scale of 0 to 10, how stressful was medical school?”, Dr Novia Tan replied that her stress levels were anywhere from a range of 0 to 10 throughout the 5 years, unlike what people may typically think.

Dr Novia Tan is a Monash University Medicine graduate who is currently practising as a Doctor in The Alfred Hospital, one of 2 major adult trauma centres in Victoria and home to the largest intensive care unit in Australia.

AUG Singapore invited Dr Novia Tan down for a talk to share with budding medical students about her Medical School experience.

Here is part 1 of what Novia shared during the talk. Please refer to part 2 here.

How did you decide where you want to study?

In 2013, I submitted my medicine applications through AUG Singapore and received offers from all of the universities in Australia that were recognised by the Singapore Medical Council.

Initially, I considered studying Physiotherapy / Occupational Therapy so I applied to the MOH grant for Physiotherapy / Occupational Therapy and received an offer for the scholarship. However, during the applications, I discovered that medicine was truly my calling.

Eventually, I chose Monash University to pursue medicine because I knew there is a Singapore Medical Society and that I would receive lots of support from the large group of Singaporeans in Melbourne, Australia.

What is the interview process like and how can I prepare for it?

I went through the MMI (Mini Multiple Interview) which had 6 – 8 stations and this involved chatting with one of the interviewers at each of the stations about a specific situation.

I believe that the most important skill that potential Medicine students need to develop is a logical flow of thinking. Personally, I believe that there were no right or wrong answers during the interview process but students need to ensure that they are fully explaining their approach to solving different problems.

How did you know what you needed before flying over to Australia?

I gained a lot of support from joining this club (Singapore Medical Society Victoria) which is organised by Singaporeans and serve to provide support for new students joining Medical School.

Even before heading to Melbourne, I had the opportunity to take part in an orientation session right here in Sunny Singapore! I learnt about the books that I may require during Medical School, places to eat in Melbourne or where I can buy the essentials to eat, live or sleep. This was really reassuring for me as I was rather nervous as a new Medical student.

Furthermore, there are a large cohort of Singaporeans who go to Monash to study Medicine every year (40 – 50) so I managed to make close friends during the orientation session in Singapore as well.

Full Series: What Medical School is really like? Part 1 / Part 2

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Hear from our student

“Thank you Jess for the efficient processing of my applications. I was given a last minute offer by UWA to study Medicine, and had only 3 weeks to prepare before departure. Jess helped me every step of the way and did for me all the paperwork and helped me to secure my student visa in three weeks as compared to three months in normal situation.” – Ben

Note: These are some of the personal experiences that Novia had in Monash University and it may be different for each state (NSW, QLD etc) and country (UK, USA).