Embarking on the challenging journey toward a medical career in Singapore requires more than just academic prowess. The admissions processes at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and Duke-NUS Medical School demand a nuanced understanding of intricate criteria. This technical expert guide delves into the academic prerequisites, standardized testing, personal essay crafting, and interview preparation, offering aspiring medical professionals comprehensive insights for success in Singapore’s premier medical institutions.

Singapore’s Medical Schools

National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine:

Overview: NUS offers both undergraduate (MBBS) and postgraduate (MD) medical programs.
Admission Focus: NUS emphasizes academic excellence, leadership, and community engagement.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine):
Overview: NTU’s LKCMedicine provides an undergraduate medical program.
Admission Focus: NTU seeks academically strong candidates with leadership potential and a commitment to healthcare.

Duke-NUS Medical School:

Overview: Duke-NUS specialises in postgraduate medical education (MD).
Admission Focus: Duke-NUS looks for candidates with a strong academic background and a commitment to research and innovation.

Admissions Requirements

Academic Qualifications:
NUS and NTU: Indicative A-Level grade of AAA with at least one H2 science subject. IB requirement is 42 points with Higher Level Biology and Chemistry at a minimum of Grade 6.
Duke-NUS: Bachelor’s degree with a strong academic background.
Standardized Tests:
NUS and NTU: Utilise the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT).

A compelling portfolio can distinguish applicants. Demonstrating leadership, community engagement, and extracurricular involvement can strengthen one’s candidacy. For instance, involvement in medical-related volunteer work, research projects, or leadership roles in healthcare-related organisations can enhance the overall application.

Standardised Test:
The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) plays a pivotal role in the admissions process for UK universities and NTU, assessing cognitive abilities, critical thinking, and ethical reasoning. Duke-NUS also utilises the UCAT, emphasizing a standardized evaluation of candidates’ aptitude for medical studies.

Personal Essays:
Crafting reflective and insightful personal essays is a key requirement across all institutions. Applicants are encouraged to articulate their motivations, insights, and commitment to medicine. This provides an opportunity to showcase not only academic interests but also personal qualities, experiences, and values that align with the medical profession.

Interviews serve as a critical juncture for assessing candidates beyond academic achievements. Panel interviews and Multiple Mini Interviews have a key focus that extends to ethical reasoning, critical thinking, prioritisation, role-play, teamwork and effective communication. They also test actual scenarios faced by medical staff. Duke-NUS, recognising the interview’s significance, evaluates not only academic abilities but also personal qualities and commitment to research, adding depth to the selection process. Interviewees should be prepared to navigate complex medical ethics scenarios, showcase scientific knowledge, and communicate effectively.

Tips for writing your personal essay

  1. Reflect on Research Contributions: Showcase any research projects, publications, or presentations.
  2. Discuss the methodology, results, and implications of your research.
  3. Link Experiences to Medicine:
  4. Articulate how non-medical experiences have prepared you for the challenges of medical practice.
  5. Discuss how your experiences have cultivated skills such as problem-solving and adaptability, crucial in a medical context.
  6. Highlight Leadership and Collaboration: Illustrate instances of effective leadership or collaboration.
  7. Discuss leadership experiences in medical-related contexts, emphasizing interdisciplinary collaboration.
  8. Demonstrate Ethical Considerations: Discuss experiences where ethical considerations played a pivotal role.
  9. Showcase an understanding of complex ethical scenarios in healthcare, addressing potential dilemmas and solutions.

How to prepare for the Medical School Interviews

The interview phase is a critical juncture, probing beyond academic achievements. It assesses not just knowledge but the ability to apply it in real-world scenarios, showcasing qualities essential for a successful medical career.

Medical Ethics Scenarios: Go beyond surface-level ethical considerations. Demonstrate your ability to navigate nuanced scenarios, considering conflicting values and proposing ethically sound solutions.
Application of Principles: Clearly articulate the ethical principles guiding your decision-making process. Showcase an understanding of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice in a medical context.
In-Depth Scientific Knowledge: Integration of Concepts: Integrate scientific concepts cohesively. When discussing genetics, for instance, link it to potential medical applications or ethical considerations.
Clinical Relevance: Relate your scientific knowledge to clinical scenarios. For instance, discuss how a molecular biology concept relates to diagnosing or treating a specific medical condition.
Communication Skills Assessment: Emphasise patient-centred communication. Discuss how you would explain complex medical conditions or treatment plans to patients with varying levels of health literacy.
Empathy and Cultural Competence: Showcase empathy and cultural competence in your communication style. Address how you would adapt your communication approach based on cultural backgrounds and individual patient needs.
Critical Thinking Challenges: Demonstrate holistic problem-solving. Discuss how you would approach a medical scenario considering not only the immediate medical concerns but also the patient’s socio-economic background and mental well-being.
Evidence-Based Solutions: Emphasize your reliance on evidence-based solutions. Illustrate your ability to critically evaluate medical literature and apply findings to real-world situations.
Patient Care Scenarios: Showcase a human-centric approach to patient care scenarios. Discuss how you would prioritize the patient’s well-being while considering their preferences and values.
Pharmacology Knowledge: Discuss how your understanding of pharmacology extends to creating personalized medication plans. Consider factors such as patient history, genetics, and potential drug interactions.
Motivation and Insights: Life Experiences Impact and connect your motivations to personal life experiences. Explain how specific life events have influenced your decision to pursue medicine and shaped your values as a future healthcare professional.
Long-Term Vision: Share your long-term vision within the medical field. Discuss how you see yourself contributing to advancements in healthcare and addressing evolving challenges.
Current Affairs in Healthcare: Systemic Healthcare Understanding: Go beyond surface-level knowledge of current affairs. Discuss systemic issues within healthcare, such as healthcare disparities, and propose innovative solutions.
Global Health Perspectives: Showcase a global health perspective. Discuss how international healthcare developments impact local practices and how you plan to contribute to the global healthcare landscape.
General Science Questions: Connect concepts from physics, chemistry, and biology to showcase a holistic understanding of science applicable to medicine.
Continual Professional Development: Emphasize your commitment to continual professional development. Discuss how you plan to stay abreast of evolving medical knowledge, technologies, and healthcare policies throughout your career.


Navigating medical school admissions in Singapore demands not only a robust understanding of academic requirements but also a mastery of technical knowledge and a deep commitment to patient care and ethical practice. By approaching interviews with a comprehensive and nuanced perspective, aspiring medical professionals can confidently navigate the complex challenges posed by admissions processes. Best of luck on your journey to for your Medical School Applications!