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I could not get into medical school so this was what I did.

When I was in the IBDP, the two subjects I enjoyed thoroughly and consistently excelled in were Mathematics and Chemistry. For me, it felt ‘right’ working with numbers and chemical equations. I vividly recall how the chemical tragedy in the case of Thalidomide - a drug used to treat morning sickness during early pregnancy, piqued my interest in studying Medicine. Beyond my passion to serve and giving back to the community, it was the fascinating theories I discovered in the Mathematics and Science field that propelled me to realize my Medicine dream.

Having been in the IBDP, I am greatly aware of the rigour and stress students go through within a mere two years. From my personal experience, I definitely felt burnt out having to juggle competitive dragon boating, community service with the elderly and disabled children, and weekly band practice, on top of academic work including EE, TOK, IAs, and other miscellaneous tests. Certainly, the overwhelming responsibilities and demands of the IBDP meant that we are constantly tight on time. Nonetheless, I seized every opportunity that came my way and even took up a week-long internship with the Ministry of Law in the middle of Year 6, to enhance my portfolio and gain life-changing experiences.

With this in mind, it is crucial to efficiently allocate time to each task at hand. This then begets the question: how is one able to attain maximum results whilst putting in minimal time?

Unfortunately, my IB score of 40 points fell short by 2 points to make the minimum cut of studying Medicine in Singapore. Whilst the odds were against me, I still managed to pull together an essay and submitted my application, hoping for the best. Once again, my plan did not go smoothly and I did not get a place in Medicine. As much as I was upset, I swallowed the hard truth and chose to refocus on choosing other university courses. Frankly, choosing a 'Plan B' university course was extremely daunting, especially when there was little time to wallow in self-pity. In order to make a decision I would not regret, I had to find my focus — something seemingly easy but difficult to do. All along, I knew I wanted to work in a hospital and to do so successfully, I had to specialise in the area of healthcare, even if it weren’t in the clinical aspect.

Coincidentally, I wrote my Extended Essay on Economics with a focus on the underconsumption of healthy meals in diabetics. In doing so, I found it meaningful to examine and conduct cost–benefit analyses on Singapore’s healthcare initiatives. Eventually, I saw an opportunity to pursue my preferred industry whilst studying a subject I was familiar and comfortable with. As such, I am currently majoring in Healthcare economics. Recently, I also had the opportunity to intern at a healthcare startup, where I helped to pilot business initiatives and explored various strategies in balancing the cost and benefits of our product for patients, payers and others. With these experiences, I am able to develop a deeper appreciation for healthcare and affirm my interest in this field.

Being a user-tester for Ed-XP’s prototype, I must commend that Ed-XP is an excellent platform for IB students to ‘work smart’. Ed-XP is a platform that provides exam-type questions in a topical fashion. It not only marks your work for you but also provides you with straightforward explanations and detailed marking schemes. More importantly, the platform also assesses your proficiency level across a myriad of topics, thereby determining which topics require greater focus and attention. Had Ed-XP existed in my days as an IB student, I would not have had to plough through the endless amounts of exam papers and marking schemes, thereby granting me more time for other commitments. Looking back, perhaps if I had the luxury of time, I could have done better in studying for my weaker subjects and obtain a better score in the IB.

To this end, it cannot be emphasised enough that working intelligently and being time-efficient are the key determinants of doing well in the IBDP. Whilst some things may seem unattainable, a new opportunity arises when we simply adjust our lens on what truly matters.


This article was written by Amelia, a student at Singapore Management University and a former IBDP student who scored 40 points at St. Joseph's Institution, Singapore. She is currently pursuing a career in healthcare, most recently completed an internship doing business development at a Healthcare Medtech startup. Amelia is also actively involved with EdXP as a consultant in the creation and development of the platform.


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