10 minutes before 12

A few days ago, I was hanging around Brightsparks forum when a noticed that people had already been given an offer to study Medicine in NUS. I was so anxious (and excited) at the same time thinking that my results would have been released as well.

I headed over to the Joint Acceptance Portal and log in.

Nothing, no offers.

I then start to feel sad and worried that my dream of studying Medicine in NUS is going to be crushed. Again and badly.

I was hanging out with my friends til late at night until one of my friends came to check on me. Curious, I asked why that sudden concern. It was later revealed that another friend had been accepted and because one of my friends did not hear back from me, the assumption was made to be a negative one.

I headed over to the forum and checked the board again.

Turns out, I was supposed to check it from myaces portal instead of the Joint Acceptance Portal given that transfer applications would be notified differently. Knowing this, I immediately reset my password to myaces portal (because I have forgotten about it) and logged in.

After clicking the “Application Status” button, my anxiety and nervousness were greeted with a huge dismay. The page was seemingly the same as what I had a few days ago. I headed back to the forum and one of the transfer students asked me about my application status. He asked if my status was changed to “has been processed” and I told him that it had always been that.

His reply threw me off.

Mine was processing but changed to processed around 6 I think! No results though as the myaces page is not update yet >< let’s hope for the best 🙂

Oh! No wonder mine looked a bit different when I logged in.

Turns out, my application status when I checked that time was “HAS BEEN PROCESSED” and it had been changed from “Is processing”.

Further digging and information provided by this transfer student made me realized that the portal will update at 12 midnight and the results would be out.

Turns out, application status does indicate something. “HAS BEEN PROCESSED” tells you that either you have been accepted or rejected. However, you would need to wait til 12 midnight for the myaces portal to be updated to view.

Thankfully for me, I didn’t have to wait very long. The time was 11.50pm when I made this surprising discovery.

Let me tell you.

That 10 minutes wait was surely not the most pleasant feeling. I knew the outcome was either an acceptance or rejection. No in between.

Multiple thoughts flooded through my mind, recalling the days of my interview.

Did I do so badly that I got rejected? But I remembered the interviewers being quite impressed? Maybe it was that few stations which had little impact?

For some reason, I already knew at the back of my head that I would be accepted. However, I don’t want to hold onto this thought, only to be smashed in the face with a rejection. This was my form of protection.

5 minutes left.

My breathing was going insane. If you were to take my vitals, I think my heart rate would hit above 100, blood pressure exceeding 140/90, respiratory rate above 20. Maybe it was high. But I know my heart was going to come out and I felt difficult to breathe.

Nonetheless, I managed to calm myself a bit just before I go into shock.

When the clock struck 12, I quickly alighted from my bus stop and logged in.

Initially, I thought I the application status would be changed to “Outcome has been released”. However, seeing that the “application has been processed” made me kind of sad.

But, I noticed that application status page was slightly longer than usual.

Guess what?

I GOT ACCEPTED INTO MEDICINE!

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After 4 long years, 14 rejections, thousands of dollars spent on various entry examinations and applications, days of being so sad and depressed; I finally got in!

Jeremy-Renner

I think Jeremy Renner’s gif definitely described how I felt that day.

I wanted to accept my application immediately. However, to play safe, I headed back home to do it.

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Oh boy. This was one intense night. I had to spend 30 minutes logging in and out to check, taking screenshots sending to my friends, making sure that I did not read it wrongly.

I FINALLY GOT ACCEPTED!!!! AND I AM SO HAPPY ABOUT IT 😀

With both feet into Medicine, now it’s time to focus on being the best doctors I can ever be and achieve the many goals I’ve set!

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Lost sleep for the entire night form the excitement, but I guess all is worth it :)!

 

More inspiration to get into NUS YLLSoM

Nursing school

I hope you readers have not been waiting very long for my post! Haha, just kidding. Being away from writting for so long has made me realized the significance of blogging in my life. Not only is this a tool where I consolidate myself and collect my thoughts, but, also to unwind. 2 weeks of school has taken its toll on me.

School has been really busy especially since the start of day 1. I remembered being the overtly enthusiatistic student from my tutorial group who started getting contacts of my group mates via email. One thing led to the other and our Whatsapp group was almost full attendence and we got to know each other prior the first day of school. I guess this was a good initiative considering this was an opportunity for us, non-camp goers, to mix around. Thankfully, my tutorial mates were awesome and we have stick to each other for the past 2 weeks even though there seems to be an emergence of another clique within the 15 people group.

School work has been piling up and the introduction of projects, with heavy weightages (i.e. 40%), started crashing us down from week 1. Nonetheless, class was fun! I enjoyed my Effective Communications module because we had a lot of role playing as well as the chance to do presentations! Of course, besides that, the Anatomy and Physiology classes were amazing because we were taught not just the concept, but the application as well. Being able to make these connections into real life clinical scenarios is not easy, however, this is essential for good patient care – a topic that was frequently highlighted.

Throughout these 2 weeks, I have gained a deeper understanding of what nursing is. Nursing definitely is a noble profession, where care is constantly delievered and you get feedback from the patients. Nurses really walk down the aisle of recovery with the patients themselves. However, as much as I enjoy studying as a nursing student, I cannot see the passion in this future. Ultimately, I would like to investigate the illness and set the direction for the recovery path and help my patients out as much as possible. Doctors and nurses have very different roles. Even those in the allied health, such as therpaist and pahrmacist, they are very crucial in the setting of helping patients.

Medicine dream

However, throughout my time here, possibly due to the fact that “Asia’s world leading Medical school” is constantly highlghted and promoted (as all lecturers always do in the introductory speeches), I would want to transfer over to NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Hearing news about a senior’s successful transferred into Medicine, previously from Engineering, gave me the beam of hope that transfer is possible, and that I should never stop trying.

NUS also provided me the opportunity to partake in commnity health screening activites where we students perform simple health checks for the elderly and those financially challenged. I even signed up to join their community!

After establishing so much aspirations and commitment here in NUS, I am facing this dilemmia of flying over to Australia (if I ever gotten into UTAS Medicine) or the UK (for the UK medicine schools) if I get accepted. And moving away from these sources of comfort and abandoning the things which I invested a lot of energy in, I am unsure if I would like to do that.

I remembered confiding my friend about this and she said, “I believe you will make the right choice. No matter what happens.” I am not too sure about this, but if I have to make a choice, I might consider and hope for a successful transfer into NUS YLLSoM. UK schools would be fine too, but definitely not UTAS.

But then again, do I have the choice to decide if I am still face with uncertainities from the Medicine schools?

This is still a question I struggle to answer, but I hope the schools can shed some light and show me a path to Medicine. Regardless, I am not going to sit there like a duck and wait for things to happen. I will summon all the courage I have and make this dream a reality.

Talking is cheap, so wait til the day where I stand in front of the stage, donning on my white coat in the lecture theatre of NUS YLLSoM during the white coat ceremony.

Silent Mentors

In the first week, we had our pledge taking for the use of cadavers, or silent mentors. These are the people who have agreed to donate their bodies for anatomical studies for the good of Medicine and nursing. I was so excited during the day where we were brought to the anatomy laboratory and what greeted us were body sized trolleys. Lying flatly at the top of the trolley, were cadavers – bagged and zipped, obscuring our sight to the bodies. Surrounding each trolleys were 11-14 nursing students, a handful were excited, but fear painted over most of the students faces. It was not until the “please unzip the bag”, when the shock washed across the students – everybody jumped back at once. Except for me, bewildered by the other students’ expression. I then proceeded to unzip the bag, revealing the skinned cadaver of a 70+ year old male.

While reciting the pledge, I was admiring the innards of the cadavers. That was nothing I have seen before and it was beautiful! Words can never explain my excitement back then, but if I were to be a medical student, I think my happiness level will hit the roof and cause the building to collapse in a cacophony of pure pleasure.

12th Student Medical-Nursing Education Conference (SMEC)

What further inspired me to transfer over to NUS YLLSoM is these conferences students have to attend to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the workings in the real life clinical setting. I believe this provides a real time situation of the scene we junior doctors will experience (as well as the nurse), and enable us to integerate better into the healthcare system.

I have definitely learnt a lot from this half day conference where the Dean of the Medical School gave an opening speech, followed by a Planetry talk from one of the associate professors.

When the cohort was broken up into smaller groups for further sharing, I was hoping that I can get the oncology staff to share their experiences, since geriatology, oncology and pallative specializations were the few that are invited over.

However, I got the biggest shock of my life when I realized the specialization my group was in was Paedietrics! Imagine my excitement and enthusiaism when this portal for me to learn more about paedietrics opened! What was being shared will stay in the discussion room, but the main takeaway pointer is that being compassionate and passionate are two qualities that can led you into success and satisfaction. Specifically for paedietrics, care does not zoom only to the child himself, but also the parents – the advocates for the child. Being able to hear first hand experiences from a mom of two, she gave me vulable insights into shaping the care doctors and nurses should give. Inspiring and I definitely never regret going over to the event.

I guess if I have the free time, and there are more of such events, I will definitely head over to gain exposures!

And of course, to further give me the neccesary details and sneak preview into the life as a doctor and work towards it!

That’s all folks! Have a great weekend :)!

First day in school!

Exactly a week before school officially starts, I was able to log in into one of the NUS’s learning educational portal where our modules were listed. In the sub-content of the modules, our tutorial grouping was displayed. A click on the number ‘2’ brings out a window of a list of the students in the group. I did not take much notice of the names until several days later.

A few days before school starts, I decided to take the initiative to email my new tutorial group mates and set up a Whatsapp chat. Slowly, as the other members started replying, our group grew larger. Of course, trying to know them and then getting to school together is part and parcel of why I set the group up. I tried to initiate the introductory phase by introducing myself. The response was traumatizingly forlorn. None of them introduced themselves – substantiating reasons with the pretext of being busy – until one of them replied at night. C rekindled the introduction and soon after, the others followed suit. Honestly, I felt like a sore baby back then. But C’s response gave me so much happiness and took away the resentment I had built over within the short span of time.

Our tutorial group was not too big, 15 people in the team. Among the 15 of us, K and I were the only guys. Despite that, I clicked pretty well with most students and surprisingly, I found a handful of students who were interested in switching over to Medicine, or have the thought crossed their minds before. At least I know there are people like me, with similar goals. That became a common ground and enabled us to forge a bond different than the rest.

Day 1 of school and I met quite a few fellas from my groups, but even up till today, I still have not met at least 3 of them.

Day 2 of school was when we had a lecture, or rather a history, about Silent Mentors (i.e. the cadavers). That lecture was interesting as it gave us insights to how important cadavers were and why we should respect them. We also learnt about problems faced previously due to increased difficulties with getting them. Throughout that lecture, besides paying attention, I felt that I was in the wrong class. I was not supposed to be in the Nursing class, rather, the Medicine class.

This session made my determination grew even stronger – to get to medical school.

Just like how Digoxin has a very narrow therapeutic index, or how the nuance difference in the x-axis of an exponential graph can have a tremendous increase on the y-axis, my determination for Medicine basically exploded past my threshold when I stepped foot into the anatomy lab.

The first thing I saw were 12 bagged up bodies on the cold metal trays, arranged in a 6 by 2 setting, in the middle of the anatomy lab! I was so excited! What I saw next made me even more enthusiastic! There were plenty of anatomical specimens in transparent tanks around the lab with different partially/degree of dissection to showcase the different anatomical regions! Can you imagine how hard I have to restrain the excitement before it spews all over me?

Sadly, I had limited time to admire the specimens for most of the class were waiting for us to do the pledge taking. After the oath taking ceremony, part of the tradition to show respect and be thankful for our silent mentor’s contribution, I stayed back and let my eyes ogle.

Anyway, before the pledge taking, a group of 12-14 students stood around the anatomical table with the body still in the bag, waiting for further instructions. When the professor told us to unzip the bag and open it, I saw everybody from the table jumping back. Shocked? Definitely, I did not expect them to stifle at the sight of our silent mentor. Nonetheless, my enthusiasm got the better of me and I unzipped the bag, revealing the cadaver that was lying inside.

The cadaver has its skin and fats removed, so what we saw were the muscles. When we were told to placed our gloved left hand on the cadaver, you can see most student placing their fingers on part of the cadaver. The sight was pretty funny, considering that they were pretty timid. I cannot blame them, neither should I make judgements about it. Throughout the oath taking ceremony as well as the periods where the body was exposed to the air, I looked through the features – the arteries, nerves, cuts on the sternum and anything my eyes could feast on. From that short session, I learnt quite a bit of anatomy, or rather, recapped the different features I knew from the back of my head.

Following that session, I bonded with even more of my tutorial mates over lunch before we proceeded for more lectures.

Generally, my friends are really nice people and I appreciate their presence! I think if I were to leave the course now for Medicine, I would be hugging them and crying. However, over the days, I realised how badly I still want to be in Medicine. From the course notes supplied online, they do provide a good platform, especially the communication skills modules, on how to approach patients. But, there is a lot of limitation in which nurses play a role in the decision making of patients – something which I really want to do (which doctors have a higher responsibility for).

I guess at this juncture, I have to ace this semester first, apply for transfer, get shortlisted for UK Medical schools and prolly fly off next year to the UK, or hope to YLLSoM for MBBS.

Whichever the case is, I hope I make the right choices if University of Tasmania decided to give me an offer to study Medicine next year February.

Update on Medicine Schools

Plenty of stuffs to cover for this post. Well, actually not really.

First thing first, yesterday marked the release of my IELTS results! For those who are foreign to IELTS, IELTS is essentially an English Proficiency test that grades your Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking skills on a scale from 0 to 9, with 9 being the highest possible achievable mark.

This IELTS is usually used for entrance into overseas university programs for international students as a proof of English language capabilities. As a benchmark, a minimum of 7 in all section is needed for the entry into medicine course.

When I tried to log in yesterday, my results were nowhere to be found in the database. After attempting to log in for several times, I realized that I did not capitalize the alphabets in my personal identification number (that is so lame). When I managed to log in successfully, I got the shock of my life.

This incident brought me back in time when I was back in NYP as a polytechnic student, logging in into the student portal to check on the final semester results.

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Not only did I perform exceptionally well, I did so unexpectedly!

Remembered how I mentioned about the difficulties I faced while attempting the listening and reading portion? I thought scoring an 8 would be impossible. With regards to the writing aspect, I thought I did well, but thankfully, I managed to score a 7.0 and not any lower.

Well, that IELTS results was good news to give proper closure to my day!

IELTS done, next stop, UMAT!

Secondly, regarding the dilemma about my medicine interviews at NUS and NTU, I discovered certain dates on their websites.

For NUS, their website states that the interview dates falls in the first two weeks of April.

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And the second part of my course falls in the entire duration of April. Chances are, I need to start liaising with my bosses to see if I could withdraw from this course and attend my interviews. Probably I might be told to reschedule my interviews, but the more important factor would be to receive the shortlisted notification. We shall wait and see, hopefully, I receive some pieces of good news soon.

Anyway, given that ‘A’ level result are released next Friday, and that application for our ‘A’ level friends closes on the 1st April, my guess would be that the first batch of shortlisted candidates would be informed by the second last week of March.

For NTU, their website did not state any dates for interviewing its shortlisted candidates, however, it did mention somewhere that the MMI results would be released in the last week of April. Calculating the time norms backward of approximately 2 weeks of considerations, their interviews will be conducted in the same period of those of NUS’s and shortlisted candidates might be informed in March too.

However, while searching for the interview dates on NTU’s website, I stumbled across something interesting.

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Look at the score for the 10th percentile! Given that there were 90 students for AY 2015, at most 10 people had BMAT scores of 4.9 and below for section 1, 5.4 for section 2, and 3.5 for section 3. Even though these scores were low, there might be a possibility that 1 or 2 people among the 10 had a low score for both sections. If that were to be true and applicable to this year, I would stand a chance of getting into medicine school!

Actually, I think that would be all for this post today! So much tension and excitement are building up. Hopefully, my second layer of backup plans could withstand the test of time and the school’s admission systems.

2nd test

Before I headed to camp last week, I churned out emails asking about fellowships following my 5 year MBBS course in Malaysia. Also, I enquired if the degree is recognized. Instead of contacting the various enquiries website, I stumbled across the government’s listing, a website which provided me with the email address of the important people in the organization.

I am so glad I found it because the replies to my burning questions were quickly cleared.

The email from SMC shown below took me by surprised.

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In case the photo is not sharp enough, point 3 states that only campuses that was in existence at the time of addition to the Schedule will be recognised. Being a recently introduced campus, the Newcastle Medicine in Malaysia will, therefore, not be recognized.

Instead of feeling forlorn and disappointed, I felt happy.

I have no idea why, but probably because I have not gone through the tedious procedures of getting a VISA and a clearance into the country for study. At the same time, I saved RM20000 (approximately SGD$6667). Imagine if I have made the payment to secure the medical school placing in which would not guarantee a job back in Singapore.

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Remember this diagram from the previous post? Well, the first layer had snapped and I am falling deeper into the chasm.

As I am falling, I have submitted my application for both NTU and NUS Medicine.

NUS Medicine 

I always taught the 10th percentile for Medicine was 3.89. It did not occur to me that I was looking at the wrong cut off point until recently when my friend was scrolling through and I took notice.

The 10th percentile was 3.92, but I do not really care because my 3.89 could fall, well, in the last percentile. Jokes aside, I think I stand a chance for the interviews based on the fact that I graduated with a Merit and a Medal.

I will be applying through the EIS (Exceptional Individual Scheme) after the NUS Enquiries gotten back to me about my referee’s email.

In addition, I have applied for the NUS Scholarships and guess what? I always knew that NUS requires an essay for the scholarship application but, I missed out on the topic and the word limit.

I ended up writing an essay with a wrong focus and exceeded the word limit of 2000 characters, by an extreme 3000.

Because I have to submit my application, I decided to spend my time rewriting the essay. The topic goes something along the line of “what experience made you a better person and/or what are your aspirations for the university”. I am not quite sure if I got the first portion correct because I wrote about my aspirations for the university.

After I completed my submission, I realized an  appraisal letter was required.

NTU Medicine

Unlike the NUS’s application, NTU requires the full set of documents for Medicine. After thinking about what Samuel told me last time, I decided to look back at his personal statement. As I read, I noticed that his statement, despite being limited to 300 words, conveyed a much larger picture of his desires to study medicine. When I looked back at mine, I discovered that my 300-word essay needs reworking. And so, I did. I managed to finish it and had Yayin to skim through it. When I was writing, I felt the essay was lacking in terms of flow and content. I still had 39 words to spare when I snap a shot of my essay to Yayin. Surprisingly, she told me my personal statement was very well-written.

I think her comment sent some electric shocks throughout my body because excitement suddenly inundated me like the floodgates have been opened.

Anyway, I was asked if I have applied to the course prior. I put yes and have to answer a few more follow-up questions if I have submitted a new and improved academic and/or BMAT results. Even though my BMAT was nowhere near better, I think my academic ones were.

-Lol-

Following which, I submitted my application via the Non-academic achievements (NAA) scheme. Guess what? I need to write another essay. Oh, I actually wrote another essay for the NUS’s outstanding achievement portion and given the relevance of both essays, I re-used this essay. That sure freed up a hefty sum of my time.

Next, my application for my NTU scholarship required another set of essays. There were 3 topics, but I attempted the one saying “why you wanted to study for the course you are applying for”.

Up to this point, my application is almost completed. What is left is my reference reports as well as my EIS application.

Somehow, I felt very excited for this entire process. Maybe this is an instinctual sign that meant good news? We shall see how things go.

-Cross fingers-

My first NUS interview – Nursing

I’m not sure if I typed this somewhere, but I received a piece of good news from NUS on the 9th April when I was still in Brunei.

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I was shortlisted for the nursing interview in NUS!

Every single part of me jumped with so much excitement, even though it was just a nursing degree. Still, the intensity of happiness will never supersede the adrenaline filled joy when, predictably in the future, I receive a notification from NUS and NTU stating the securing of a slot in Medicine for the Academic Year 2016.

However, no matter how much of thrilled I am to know that this interview experience would do good for me, the dates are one major issue. I knew that this week, we had internship and the only chance I could get my interview done was to have it on this weekend, which coincides with the 96/14 commissioning parade. Interview the week after would be out of the question since I have 2 outfields that are compulsory, and at the NUS side, they need to compile results and decide on the worthy ones.

I emailed, accordingly to the instructions stipulated in the mail, and seek for assistance. Thankfully, our wing had an off in-lieu on Monday, so the administrative side from NUS could call me up at any time of the day without me worrying about receiving missed calls. I had a couple of missed calls from some unknown number that I have yet to discern the caller. Probably, the calls came from NUS whom they tried so hard to reach me, but their efforts went up in smoke.

The kind lady on the other end of the phone was kind enough to reschedule my interview to Saturday, and that my instructors were understanding enough to release me from the mandatory agonizing wait prior activation to help out in the parade.

I reached my destination earlier than expected, so I hang around and chanced upon this small pancake shop. My hunger then decided to gain a strong footing within the compound of the pancake shop. In front of me, stood a lady making her purchase and striking a simple small talk with the front line vendor. In the midst of their conversation in Mandarin, I was mentally adjudicating on what my stomach craves for. In a matter of seconds, the resolution of one kaya and one tuna pancake coupled with an ice cold soya milk would suffice to satisfy my growling stomach.

However, when the vendor transited to me, she switched from her fluent Chinese speaking skills to English. At that point in time, I stumbled for who knows what reason. Maybe I had prepared myself so much in making an order in Chinese that the sudden conflict in the language she engaged startle me completely. After a few stumblings here and there, I regained my lost composure and the order was made in English. Awkward much guys.

Fast forward to the holding room in the Alice Center for Nursing Studies at NUS, I happened to see one of my secondary school friends in the holding room when the other interviewees tried to communicate to the taciturn me.

Talking to her eased the incipient nervousness and calmed me down, and she, too, observed the therapeutic effect I mentioned above. Since I had not seen her for a really long time, several years since we graduated from Secondary School, I probed her further about her studies and was surprised that she was already a university student in the field of business where she felt the lack of human to human interaction was mentally draining for her.

Given that her soft and caring side remains the same, or better throughout these years, she would definitely make a good nurse. And I also discovered that that was her second attempt in nursing after she failed her first and was forced to take a gap year.

When the clock struck 1033, the bell to signal the next person came reverberating around the room. By then, my friend had completed her interview and left. I walked out of the holding room and then into another room where I was greeted by two interviewers. One of them was a lady, and the other was a guy. Throughout the interview, I was constantly engaged by the lady and only through certain parts, where I believed the guy felt obliged to say something, spoke.

Other than that, I think I did well, especially when the lady laugh so heartily when I casually mentioned I’m a fan of Taylor Swift.

After about 15 minutes, the interview ended and I went back.

Here are a few key takeaways from my interview I would like to share with you guys.

1. Calm down
As cliche as this two words may sound, this is really true. I went into the room feeling nervous about myself. My brain picks up every single subtle information my body is feeling, like how my fingers played with each other, how I was swiveling my chair, etc… until this small tiny part of me snapped. When it snapped, I lost control of being nervous and felt pretty comfortable. Quite ironic to describe what happened eh? It was only halfway through the interview I felt pretty comfortable and more at ease when the interviewers were entertained by me.

2. Try your very best
Even if you do not know the answer to the question, just try your best if answer them. If you are really unsure of the answers or go about questioning, ask the interviewers. Interviews are a two-way platform for both the interviewers and the interviewees. Who knows they might end up liking you more?

3. Go in with an open mind
To be honest, I was not prepared for this interview at all. I did not read about the current healthcare issues, like how I postulated this question’s presence and how it became a reality, and I smoked my way out from the depths of this pitfall. I briefly mentioned the current healthcare issues such as the lack for hospital beds, the need for more healthcare professionals as well as the public’s concern for the financial matters. Fortunately, the interviewer, might have guessed that I was not knowledgeable on this, skipped to the next question

4. Know yourself
One very interesting aspect of the interview was how most of the questions were made to elicit more information about me. The things I like, why nursing, how I stay motivated and all are usually the questions they will ask starting with a statement on “tell me more about yourself”. If I haven’t been through the army, I might be still struggling with this question. In addition to knowing and understanding yourself, know why you are there on that chair for. Convince the interviewers why they should choose you, addressing points such as your passion, your reasoning behind picking that course, etc. Justify that you are able to succeed in this field and I’m sure they’ll choose you at the end of the day.

5. Last but not least, you need luck.
Just a little bit to tide you through questions you might not answer, or facing arduous challenges that could surface.

So good luck to those who will be going through the interviews :)!

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