Sunday, April 10, 2011

NUS Dentistry - Applying, Interview, MDT

*Update (17 March 2016): This year, I've heard that the faculty is making some changes to the MDT and Interview. The MDT will be 2 hours long instead of 3 hours. Also, instead of a panel of interviewers, Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) will be conducted. According to the faculty website, "The MMIs comprise a circuit of stations which could include an interview or performance of a specific activity.  These stations aim to examine the applicants’ interest in Dentistry and if they suitably display attributes oral health care professionals should espouse."

Let me say first that I am not (and have never been) involved in the application/interview/test process in ANY way whatsoever. The information I have about this year's changes are only from the faculty website,so I'm just as clueless as you are! 

I know I've posted in depth about the MDT and Interview before but that was just my own experience 5 years ago as a fellow applicant. Evidently, things have changed since then. I'm an "oldie" now so it would probably be better to talk to a current dental student who's in touch and up-to-date with all this information!

From all the emails I've been getting from people about the dentistry interview and Manual Dexterity Test, I thought I should just answer some frequently asked questions here. :)

Applying for Dentistry
I suggest only applying if you're sincerely interested in dentistry and have a passion for it. It's a fun course, but it's also tough and demanding. Your timetable is fixed, you don't get to choose modules. By the time you get to Year 2 onwards, it's basically 8am-5pm everyday (except half days on Friday usually) with 1 hour break for lunch. Year 3 and 4 would probably involve even longer hours. Plus, I found my Year 2 exam period tougher and more intense than A levels! I'm not saying this to scare you off but rather warn you so you won't get a shock if you get into the course. Haha. This profession also involves a lot of interaction with people and patients especially. You should preferably be good with your hands, if not you might find it quite tough to keep up in school. Grades wise, you don't necessarily need to get straight As. The interview and MDT also play a part in whether you get in or not. Working at a dental clinic prior to that isn't necessary but it would be better. It would give you an edge over other applicants who didn't do so, and would show that you're genuinely interested in dentistry.

I blogged about my interview here. If that's not enough, other tips on how to prepare for your interview would include preparing the basic questions like why did you choose dentistry, why did you put the rest of your choices (e.g. NUS Science, Medicine etc), what will you do if you don't get into NUS Dentistry. It might be a good idea to look at the NUS Dentistry website and have a glance through all the goals, mission statements etc. Also try and look up who are the important people (e.g. Deanery, Heads of Department) because they'll be the ones interviewing you. They might also ask you about your hobbies, your school etc. They could possibly ask you about current affairs too (like they asked my classmate about the AWARE saga when it was going on). Just be confident of yourself, relax and smile :)

Manual Dexterity Test (MDT)
It's a 3 hour test and has 3 stages. First is wire bending where they'll ask you to bend a wire according to the shape drawn on the paper, usually W or M. Try and keep the wire flat on the table. Secondly, they'll give you a model of a molar, and you have to use plastercine to mould the shape of the molar. Third part is where you'll be given a cylindrical block of plaster of paris, and you have to carve out blocks/cubes from it. Try and achieve straight lines and 90 degree angles.

If you want to read more of my blog posts regarding dentistry, just click on the "dentistry" label on the right or at the bottom of this post (or just click here!) The posts before I got into dentistry are earlier in March-May 2009 so you might have to scroll back a bit for those. Hope this helps all you dentistry hopefuls! :)

You can also visit the Brightsparks forum here. The moderator, Ashearo, is my classmate :)


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Hi! I went for the interview in april for dentistry this year. Was wondering if you remembered when you heard back from NUS?
    Thanks :)

    1. Hi Yan Qin, I think I heard back around May. :)

  3. Hi my name is colin. I like your blog very much. Just curious do you do braces in your work?

    1. Hi Collin, thanks for commenting! Nope, I don't do braces.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hi Liz, may I know how many students are shortlisted for interview/test each year? -Charles

  6. Hi, sorry I don't know.

  7. Hi liz, may i know where can one learn how to do soap- carving ? do you know of anyone that is good at it or any courses that one can take up to learn the basics ?
    - June

    1. Hi, sorry I don't know of any courses where you can learn that..

  8. Hi Liz,

    We have compiled a guide with some input from a dental junior who went through the process just last year.

    Link can be accessed here, if it helps:

    Take care, God Bless and happy CNY! :)

    PS We love all your blog entries!


    1. hi Ethan,

      Thank you so much for the link. am going to check it out...

      Hi Liz,
      Really enjoy reading your blogs..really learnt a lot from it.