Published on 30 Jul 2023

#askLKCMedicine2023: All things UCAT and more!

Good things come in threes. This is also true for #askLKCMedicine2023, the School’s University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) roadshow, which was a series of three events held from May to July 2023.

Organised to shed light on the UCAT, a recent addition to LKCMedicine’s admission process, the sessions were a must-attend for parents, educators and students hoping to study medicine or simply curious about their options. The first UCAT awareness event was held virtually on 26 May, attracting over 150 attendees. LKCMedicine Assistant Dean (Admissions and Overseas Electives) Professor Kwek Tong Kiat gave an overview of the School’s requirements for AY2024/2025 admissions and the process of sitting the UCAT.

Alumnus Dr Zenneth Lim (Class of 2021) was present to give the perspective of what a prospective student can expect when enrolling to LKCMedicine. The virtual session rounded off with a fun demonstration of the School’s highly acclaimed Team-Based Learning (TBL) by the Lead for TBL Facilitation Ms Yang Lishan.

To complement the virtual sharing session, the subsequent two #askLKCMedicine events were held on-site at the Novena campus on 26 and 29 July.

The Clinical Sciences Building was bustling with activity as more than 300 guests chatted with our student ambassadors and wandered the halls to have a peek at the School’s pioneering teaching spaces, such as the Anatomy Learning Centre (ALC) and the Learning Studio that houses most of the TBL classes.

For Swathi, a Catholic Junior College student, it was her first time at the School. “I visited the Medical Library and the Anatomy Learning Centre. It was very organised and conducive [for learning]. Introverts like me will enjoy these spaces,” she quipped.

The highlight of the in-person #askLKCMedicine events was the Main Programme that featured a mix of senior leadership — LKCMedicine Dean and NTU Singapore’s Senior Vice-President for Health & Life Sciences Distinguished University Professor Joseph Sung, Vice Dean (Education) Professor Jennifer Cleland, and Prof Kwek — and current and former students to provide a holistic view of the LKCMedicine experience.

Prof Cleland opened the event on 26 July, expounding the various alumni and School accolades that LKCMedicine has achieved despite being a young medical school. Addressing a big change for subsequent cohorts, she spoke about the independent NTU MBBS degree they would receive if they enrolled at LKCMedicine next year.  “[The degree] has been approved and is fully supported by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Singapore Medical Council, National Healthcare Group, and our partners across Singapore. Clearly, we will maintain the high academic quality and rigour of the current MBBS programme… [our new curriculum] will be very much future-focused. It will align with how healthcare is evolving in Singapore, with Healthier SG and the Ministry’s vision of how healthcare will be in Singapore for the next five to 20 years.”

Prof Sung, who was present at #askLKCMedicine on 29 July, captivated the audience with his experience of being a doctor during the SARS outbreak and the lessons it taught him: professionalism and empathy.  Noting that most of the young attendees are likely at a crossroads, he said, “I hope you will choose the medical field, whether as a doctor, nurse or pharmacist. What you do and learn will directly benefit people who are suffering from illness, and if you do everything right, you will be hugely helpful to them.”

The rest of the speeches and Q&A segments for the two on-site events were packed with anecdotes from LKCMedicine student ambassadors and alumnus Dr Aaron Goh Qi Yang (Class of 2021) about student life and well-being, the School’s house system and the close-knit LKCMedicine community.

Dr Goh recalled the important role the School faculty played in guiding and supporting him from the start to the end of his undergraduate career, and how LKCMedicine equipped him with skills to participate and win at international competitions for medical students. As a junior doctor, he shared, “No matter which field or specialty I rotated through during my postings, the foundations that were laid for me during medical school served me well. I was up for any challenge, and it helped me to learn fast and work hard in every posting.”

During the Q&A sessions, which were deftly moderated by Year 4 students, Marcus Chua and Lim Rong, respectively, the panellists answered questions about the best time to register for the UCAT, how the test provides greater insights into the aptitude of prospective students and even offered their candid thoughts about adapting to LKCMedicine.

Year 2 student Nigel Lee revealed that he initially “dreaded the reaction of [his] peers when [he] had to share that [he] was from a polytechnic…but then [he] realised [he] was making it a bigger thing than it actually was.”

Muhamad Shamir from Year 4 reiterated this sentiment, observing that LKCMedicine students are welcoming and it is easy to bond with peers due to the small cohort size. “You really get to know everybody and there is a sense of happiness to that. You know that everyone is in this together and it feels more wholesome,” he remarked.

Apart from the camaraderie of their contemporaries, the students spoke highly of the medical education they receive. Year 3 student Lee Xin Tien said, “Another thing I like about LKCMedicine is Foundations of Clinical Practice that is taught throughout the first two years, and not something that we are only exposed to when we start going to the hospitals. I like the emphasis on patient-centre care. From the first lesson, we are taught to see patients as human, not cases or problems to solve.”

Reflecting on the aspects that she appreciates about the School’s pedagogy, Year 2 student Cherie Tan shared that the collaborative nature of TBL has been beneficial as “it solidified [her] learning”.

Attendees left both the virtual and in-person #askLKCMedicine events well-informed and ready to decide their next steps.

“The event was very insightful, and I managed to take down a lot of notes during the Q&A. It clarified a lot of my doubts, such as when to apply for National Service. I also have a better understanding of the UCAT and I will apply for it next year,” said Nanyang Junior College student Jair.

For more information on taking the UCAT, please visit the official UCAT website.