August 2013|ISSUE 7
Celebrating Our Inaugural Cohort

By Sufian Suderman

After three years of preparation, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) has finally opened its doors to welcome the 54 students who form the School's inaugural cohort.

In keeping with the School's ethos of developing the next generation of doctors you and I would like to have caring for us, the students persevered through a rigorous admission process that evaluated not just their academic capabilities but also their depth of character.

Best of the Best
Besides acing their respective examinations, the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT), impressing with their personal statements and doing well at the Multiple Mini-Interviews (MMI), the students also displayed excellent leadership potential and organisation skills, evident in the key roles they undertook in their school's co-curricular activities or personal pursuits. Some have represented Singapore in international competitions while several were commended for their exemplary conduct during National Service. Indeed, this inaugural cohort can be deemed to be the best of the best.

Assistant Dean for Admissions Professor John Laycock says, “LKCMedicine has put in place a very detailed and discerning admissions process so that we select students whom we believe have the potential to be excellent doctors. It is heartening that the 54 students that we have selected for the inaugural cohort possess both the smarts and heart that are required of a doctor. I am sure that they will be brilliant doctors when they graduate.”

LKCMedicine's First Cohort

The incoming students we spoke to agreed that the robust admission process serves the School’s goal of admitting students who have the potential to be well-rounded doctors. They noted the various components provided a more holistic overview of them as individuals, instead of merely focusing on how they scored in a written paper or performed in a traditional panel interview. They also highlighted the strict time limit of the MMI and BMAT challenged them to work well under pressure, something they would encounter frequently as future doctors.

Former National Junior College student Chia Ming Li says, “I actually enjoyed the MMI because I had the opportunity to express my true desire to pursue medicine as a career. In my opinion, the BMAT is a good barometer of my suitability to be a doctor as it tests my knowledge in science as well as my language skills.”

Echoing her sentiment is Christopher Teow from Raffles Junior College. “Having a good foundation in the basic sciences and superb communication skills are hallmarks of a good doctor. The MMI was less intimidating than I thought it would be. It felt like I was having a two-way conversation with the friendly interviewers while having a good discussion about the topic at hand.”

Excited to Learn
A significant number in the inaugural cohort displayed an inclination towards medicine from a young age. Prior to joining LKCMedicine, some of them took on learning stints at research institutes and healthcare institutions such as hospitals in order to have a first-hand look at Singapore’s healthcare scene. Others spent time at elderly homes and hospices so that they could better understand and learn how to relate to patients facing serious illnesses.

“To be part of a new medical school as its inaugural cohort is very exciting. Helping people in need by empowering them with the knowledge of medicine is what I hope to do in future and I think the training I will be receiving at LKCMedicine will help me to achieve this,”says former Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student Eugene Leong.

Going through the Orientation Programme

They firmly believe LKCMedicine’s curriculum will hone their knowledge and skills in their preparation to become doctors of the future, in particular the School’s innovative learning approaches such as the Team-Based Learning and Technology-Enhanced Learning.

Former Hwa Chong Institution student Julia Ng says, “I am excited about the School’s teaching methods such as the Simulated Patient Learning which will build both my skills and confidence when dealing with patients. The early clinical exposure that I will receive from the first year at LKCMedicine is going to be of immense help to me as a medical student because medicine is a career which requires more hands-on experience instead of just theoretical knowledge.”

Setting Culture and Traditions
The buzz around LKCMedicine is at an all-time high, with the excitement of having energetic and enthusiastic students walking down the campus hallways palpable among staff and students.

Even before school has started, some students from the inaugural cohort have been helping out with the School’s various outreach events, sharing eloquently about their experiences with the admission process and elaborating on their decisions behind joining LKCMedicine. Friendships have also begun to form, with many having connected with one another on social media platforms.

Scully Marcel Leon, formerly from Victoria Junior College, says, “As the inaugural cohort, we have the chance to help set the culture and traditions of the School. Interacting and working so closely together will help us forge a bond which will bode well for the future when we finally become doctors as we will be able to establish meaningful relationships with our fellow colleagues and also with our patients.”

With such a promising inaugural cohort, hopes are high when they eventually join the medical profession upon graduation, they will indeed be the doctors you and I would like to have caring for us.