NTU's medical school takes in 78 Singaporeans in its second cohort

SINGAPORE - Competition for places was keen, with the school receiving more than 800 applicants this year. Just 330 were short-listed for interviews and only 78 survived the cut.

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NTU's press statement:

NTU increases its intake of medicine students
A growing number of top students attracted to NTU's joint medical school with Imperial College London

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has attracted even more top students and enlarged its intake of medicine students for its second cohort at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), from the inaugural batch of 54 to 78 this year.

The new medical school has some of the brightest students in Singapore, most of whom scored three As or more at GCE A Levels or near perfect International Baccalaureate scores. They also aced their BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) and stood out at the school's Multiple Mini Interviews.

This year, NTU received more than 800 applications from those who had taken the required BMAT. From here, 330 applicants were shortlisted for its Multiple Mini Interviews. The final 78 students admitted comprise 48 male and 30 female students. All are Singaporeans.

Today, NTU held the White Coat Ceremony which symbolises the freshmen's initiation into medicine at the Art, Design and Media Auditorium at NTU.

Among those who received their white coat is 21-year-old Russell Chuah, LKCMedicine's first polytechnic graduate, who scored a near-perfect GPA from Singapore Polytechnic, and Ishwarpal Singh Grewal, 20, a national hockey player who chose to join NTU instead of accepting an offer from Imperial College London to study medicine.

Like Ishwarpal, many of these top students are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a university. NTU President, Professor Bertil Andersson said it is heartening to see so many bright Singapore students making LKCMedicine their first choice.

"The medical school has continued to attract the very best students from Singapore, who wish to commit their lives to medicine and be among the pioneers to go through our world-class medical education developed jointly with Imperial College London," said Prof Andersson.

"We will train them not just in cutting-edge medical knowledge, but also in interdisciplinary modules such as those from business, bioengineering and humanities to develop them into a well-rounded healthcare professional.

"Through LKCMedicine's innovative pedagogy and patient-centric approach, I'm sure that our medical students will become compassionate doctors with excellent medical knowledge who can tackle Singapore's healthcare challenges of tomorrow."

The White Coat Ceremony was presided over by Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of LKCMedicine's Governing Board who is also the Chairman of the Agency of Science Technology & Research (A*Star).

Professor James Best, the medical school's new Dean, presented each student with a white coat and the promise that they can expect to be immersed in clinical settings from the onset of their medical education.

"I am delighted to mark the start of the medical journey for the Class of 2019, our second cohort. All of them have met the astonishingly high standards to gain admission and we thank them for entrusting their training to us," said Prof Best.

"In return, we will provide them with opportunities to learn from the most outstanding professors using the most innovative tools. Throughout their time with us, we will reinforce the clinical importance of what they learn, and cultivate in our students a patient-centred approach to the practice of medicine. The conferment of the white coat, which will be used throughout the medical course, symbolises their acceptance as junior members of the medical profession and their first step on the journey towards becoming a first-rate doctor."

At the ceremony, LKCMedicine Senior Vice-Dean Professor Jenny Higham led the students to recite the Declaration of a New Medical Student, where they pledged to practise medicine with integrity, humility, honesty and compassion, without discrimination of gender, race and religion.

The students also received a copy of Blood and Guts: A Short History of Medicine by British historian Roy Porter from Professor Dermot Kelleher, Vice-President (Health) at Imperial College London and the previous Dean of LKCMedicine.

Ishwarpal said he has no regrets giving up his place to study medicine in Imperial College London to join NTU, as he wants to practise in Singapore and was drawn to the school's Team-Based Learning pedagogy.

The Raffles Institution graduate was inspired to become a doctor after he saw his grandmother pass away from liver failure. "I know it is impossible to save every single patient but I feel that practising medicine is the best way that I can help people, so that's why I want to be a doctor," said Ishwarpal.

"I'm excited to be among the pioneering students at NTU's Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine with its proven Imperial curriculum suited to the healthcare needs of Singaporeans. I also look forward to shaping the culture of the school, having no limits and boundaries set by others before us."

Adam Mohamed Naveeth, 20, a graduate from Victoria Junior College said he chose LKCMedicine because the School has a top-notch curriculum developed by a solid team of experts.

"The School's forward-looking approach and willingness to embrace new technology in creating a great learning experience also attracted me to it," said the polyglot who speaks four languages - English, Tamil, French and Malay.

"LKCMedicine is the result of a partnership between NTU and Imperial College London, two established institutions, which gives me the assurance that I'm receiving a quality medical education."

Some families are proud to have a doctor in the family, but the Chua family are expecting two - 21 year-old Chua Kee Leng and his sister Chua Min Kuan, 19.

The siblings will be sharing the same classroom because Kee Leng gave up the offer to study medicine at University of Aberdeen, Scotland's top medical school, in favour of getting his medical training right at home in Singapore. Prior to applying to NTU's medical school, both of them had volunteered in various hospitals here and in the process found that medicine was truly their calling.

LKCMedicine students will graduate from the five-year programme with a joint NTU-Imperial Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree.