We recently conducted an interview with one of our students who had gotten into Cambridge, Imperial, NUS and NTU for Medicine. We wanted to know more about her journey through her admissions test preparations and applications to help upcoming students in their application process.
Name: Jasmine (Name changed to remain anonymous)
Academic profile: 4 H2s (Biology, Chemistry, Math, Economics) and H3 Biology in JC (A-Levels)
CCA: String Ensemble and Science Society (JC); Band (Secondary School)
Outcome: Accepted by Cambridge, Imperial, NUS and NTU
Question: Tell us a little bit about your profile academically and CCA-wise. Where did you apply and get accepted to?
Answer: I took 4H2s (BCME) and H3 Biology in JC. I was part of my JC’s String Ensemble and Science Society and was previously from Band in secondary school.
I applied to Cambridge, Imperial, Cardiff and St. George for Medicine in the UK. I applied to NUS and NTU for Medicine locally. I got accepted by Cambridge, Imperial, NUS and NTU.
Q: What was most challenging about the process of applying to medical schools for you?
A: Deciding on which schools to apply to in the UK was very difficult for me. I wanted to maximise my chances of getting into medical school so choosing the combination of 4 schools based on my portfolio was challenging.
Q: Medical schools require standardised tests as well (UCAT, BMAT, ISAT…). How did you study for them? What tips do you have for students who are about to embark on this process?
For the BMAT Section 1, I used the How to Master the BMAT book and did about 5 past year papers. For Section 2, I studied the content guide on the official website and practiced about 5 past year papers and worked on my mental sums. For Section 3, I did not study besides doing one essay for exposure. I started preparing rigorously about 2 weeks before the test.
For the UCAT, I would strongly recommend others to practice for about a month continuously because it is very doable but just a time-pressured exam and you need to get used to it. If you have more practice, you will understand how to hack it. Also, I highly recommend Medify. Preparing for the UCAT SJT using Medify’s explanation helped me a lot in understanding how a medical student and a doctor should conduct themselves as well as answering interview questions about difficult decisions.
Related: Top Tips For UCAT
Q: What tips would you give your past self, right before starting on applications? What kind of approaches to applying helped the most?
A: Just do it and don’t doubt yourself is what I would tell myself. I would have started practicing for my UCAT test earlier and booked it before my prelims started to get a better score. I would have also done more past year papers to prepare for the BMAT Section 1. For interview answers, don’t prepare your responses word to word, just points will do. This is something I learned after my first interview preparation.
My approach was to start early for my personal statement and also compile all the possible interview questions from online sources and think of my responses. As for interviews, starting early is great to get your content and answers ready but the final few days before the interview was very important for me. Most of my preparation took place a few days before the actual interview date, especially for my Cambridge and NUS interviews. But for the MMI interviews (Imperial and NTU), I started early, about three weeks before the interview date.
Q: What aspects of the application were most daunting – from personal statements to interviews?
A: Most daunting would be the interview and then, writing the personal statement. Preparing for the interview was nerve-wracking because I just did not know what to expect, what is the right way to prepare, and how much to prepare. Writing the personal statement was actually quite daunting as well because of the very low character count but I had so much to include. Choosing which details to leave out was difficult.
Q: Did you find Prep Zone helpful in the process? What assistance did you appreciate the most, and why?
A: Yes, I appreciate the rigorous interview practice I received before my Cambridge interview because it really helped me to prepare for all my 4 interviews and I got an idea of what to expect. It helped me to think on the spot, structure my answers, say them out loud and improve on them from the feedback. It also improved my confidence levels and helped me be less nervous during the actual interview as I was confident that I had enough preparation.
Q: Would you recommend Prep Zone test and admissions preparation services to other students? Why?
A: Yes, I would recommend the admission preparation services to other students as I was successful in gaining admission into medical school. I received helpful feedback on both my interview skills and personal statements.