Hi! My name is Daniel Lim Jhao Jian. Here is where I share my experience, knowledge and ideas. You are welcome to leave comments and follow my blog. You are free to copy anything from this blog. Please recommend this blog to your friends.

Tuesday 19 September 2017

4 September 2017 incident

On 4 September 2017, something completely unexpected happened that had a huge impact on me and many others. What was it actually?

Stage 3 of my MBBS course at NUMed had not been smooth for me. During Stage 3, there were 6 MOSLER assessments where we had to pass at least 4 in order to be eligible to take the final written examination. I found the MOSLER's really difficult and I feared them a lot. In fact, I failed 2 of the MOSLER's quite badly. With a lot of hard work, I was eventually able to pass the other 4 MOSLER's and proceed to the written examination.

The written examination for Stage 3 was held on 17 and 18 July 2017. The examination was rather difficult. Although there were some easy questions, many of the questions were quite tricky. I estimated that I would be able to score at least 58% in the examination. The problem was that the pass threshold of the examination is often higher than 60%. In the previous year, many good students failed the written examination just because of the high pass threshold.

Therefore, I was quite worried about my written examination results. If I failed, I would have to repeat the entire Stage 3 as my final attempt. On 31 July 2017, the results was released. I was so happy to know that I passed the written examination. My score in the examination was 67% which was Amber (borderline pass), while the pass threshold was 64.3%. With that, I was able to continue on to Stage 4 of MBBS. This was a huge relief for me after overcoming all the challenges to pass Stage 3.

There were only 8 students who failed, which was a remarkable improvement over the previous year. Stage 4 was supposed to begin on 4 September 2017. Between 19 July and 3 September 2017, I had 6.5 weeks of summer break. During the break, I didn't study anything at all, because I strongly believe that we should fully relax ourselves during breaks. On 28 August 2017, the students who failed the July examination began their repeat year of Stage 3. On that day, NUMed also uploaded the Stage 4 timetable and study guides to the learning support website and sent us a welcome email.

However, there were some unusual things. The welcome email was somehow much shorter compared to that of the previous years and all it said was that we had to register for Stage 4 on 4 September 2017. In addition, the timetable incorrectly stated the Stage 4 Semester 1 start date as 18 September 2017, but it correctly stated the end date as 30 November 2017. The student group list was also not released. I didn't give much thoughts about these things.

Due to Malaysia's victory in the 2017 SEA Games, the government declared 4 September 2017 as a public holiday. However, NUMed informed us that there would be no holiday in NUMed on that day as it was too late to alter the timetables. On 3 September 2017, I returned to Bukit Indah and moved into the university accommodation. Unlike the previous years, I didn't actually feel sad that the summer break was ending, even though I really enjoyed the break. Instead, for some reason I was actually looking forward to Stage 4.

On 4 September 2017, there was supposed to be a Stage 4 introductory lecture at 9AM. I overslept on that morning and it was already 8:30AM when I woke up. I had to rush and I managed to arrive NUMed a few minutes before 9AM. At that time, I met one of my friend who failed the July examination and had to repeat Stage 3. He told me that for unknown reason, NUMed asked him to attend the Stage 4 introductory lecture on that day with us.

I didn't think much about that and I just walked into the lecture theatre. The atmosphere in the lecture theatre was just like usual and many students were talking to each other about the summer break. A few minutes later, a few lecturers walked into the lecture theatre, while one of them prepared to begin the lecture. Their facial expressions looked a bit unusual. Then, the lecturer said that he had a bad news to share with us.

At that moment, my immediate thought was that NUMed was going to announce a change to the curriculum for Stage 4. I had known for quite some time that they were planning to introduce a new curriculum in a few years. In the new curriculum, Stage 3 will be easier than it used to be, but Stage 4 will be more difficult. I had always hoped that the new curriculum would not be implemented in my year. However, it turned out that the bad news had nothing to do with the curriculum.

Instead, the lecturer said that it was about our Stage 3 written examination in July. According to him, a few days after the examination results was released, they received information that there was a security breach where some of the examination questions along with the answers were leaked out before the examination. When they later performed a statistical analysis of the students' answers, they concluded that there was indeed a security breach beyond reasonable doubt.

As a result, NUMed declared that the results of the July examination was invalid and all students had to resit the written examination on 14 and 15 September 2017. The students who failed the July examination previously would be resitting it as well. Only the students who pass the resit examination would be able to proceed to Stage 4 which would begin on 18 September 2017, while the students who fail it would have to repeat the entire Stage 3 as the final attempt. This was the reason for the 18 September start date in the timetable.

The announcement immediately struck everyone in the lecture theatre. Many students started complaining that it was unfair to require those who didn't receive any of the leaked questions to resit. The lecturer's response was that as a result of the security breach, they could not be confident that we passed the written examination legitimately and met the required standards. Since there was no way to determine exactly which students received the leaked questions, every student had to resit it.

Then, we asked why NUMed didn't inform us earlier even though they had known about the security breach for quite some time. The lecturer stated that to ensure fairness, every student had to be informed at the same time so that all of us would have the same amount of time to prepare for the resit examination. During the summer break, the only way to inform us was through e-mail, but many students were known to not check their e-mails regularly. Therefore, they decided that the best solution was to not let us know anything until we were back at NUMed on that day.

We requested that NUMed postpone the resit examination because we couldn't revise the entire Stage 3 curriculum in just 10 days. The lecturer said that he understood our concerns, but they couldn't delay the examination any further because there wouldn't be enough time to complete the teaching for Semester 1 of Stage 4 in that case. Delaying the Stage 4 start date to 18 September 2017 had already resulted in a very tight timetable. He also stressed that as medical students, we shouldn't just forget everything after the previous examination.

The lecturers said that the only other alternative for us was to repeat the entire Stage 3, and if we chose to do so it would not be considered to be our final attempt. They told us they had already spent a lot of time trying to think of a better solution, but there were none. They added that this was the first time where such security breach occurred, and they would take extra steps to ensure that it would never happen again in the future. In the end, nothing could be done to change the fact that we had to resit the examination on 14 and 15 September 2017.

This incident definitely put me in a very difficult situation. Just as I was looking forward to start Stage 4 after all my efforts in passing the 4 MOSLER assessments and eventually getting a borderline pass in the written examination, now it was back to the uncertainty of whether or not I would get to enter Stage 4. I had been relaxing throughout the summer break, and now I had to immediately go back to hard core studying. I felt very angry, sad and stressed.

My immediate thought was that I would rather choose to repeat Stage 3 instead of resitting the examination because it seemed impossible for me to revise the whole Stage 3 curriculum within 10 days and I didn't want to waste an attempt by failing. However, repeating Stage 3 would mean that I had to once again go through the MOSLER assessments which I struggled so much to pass, and I also had to separate with most of my friends who wouldn't be repeating Stage 3.

After some analysis, I concluded that although very challenging, it was feasible for me to complete one round of full revision for the entire Stage 3 curriculum in 10 days. For the July examination previously, I finished one round of revision in 13 days without much stress. This could be shortened to 10 days by studying longer hours every day. However, this would mean that the next 10 days would be extremely busy and stressful. I decided to go ahead with resitting the examination.

In the afternoon of 4 September 2017, I began revising for the the resit examination. Luckily, I still had significant memory of my Stage 3 knowledge, which made this revision easier and faster. I started my revision with General Medicine (FoCP/LTC/ID/PC) which was the most important. On 7 September 2017, I finished revising General Medicine and started revising Psychiatry (MH). Being relatively short, I was able to finish revision for Psychiatry on that day itself. Then, I revised Paediatrics (CH).

I finished revision for Paediatrics on 9 September 2017 and continued with Obstetrics and Gynaecology (WH). On 11 September 2017, I finished revising Obstetrics and Gynaecology and proceeded with Emergency Medicine (FoCP). On that night, I had completed my first round of revision for the whole Stage 3 syllabus. Over the next two days, I did a quick second round of revision for General Medicine. Throughout the 10 days, to avoid wasting time, I stopped playing the video game Clash of Clans completely.

Although I was fairly well prepared for the resit examination, I was still quite worried that the questions would be difficult. On 14 September 2017, it was Paper 1 of the examination. This paper was slightly easier than the examination in July and this made me feel more confident. Paper 2 of the examination was on 15 September 2017. This paper was a bit more difficult compared to Paper 1 as well as the July examination.

Just like the July examination, I estimated that I could score at least 58% in this examination. Once again, I was worried about the pass threshold which is usually higher than 60%. NUMed had stated that the pass threshold for this examination would be determined in the usual way. After studying so hard for 10 days, I fully relaxed myself for the few days after the examination while trying not to think about the results.

The results of the resit examination was released at 8AM on 18 September 2017. Just before the results was released, I was feeling extremely nervous and my body was trembling. Then, I was so happy and surprised to know that I scored 75.1% in the resit examination which was Green (safe pass). This was also a huge improvement compared to my score in the July examination. The pass threshold for this examination was 63.9%. I officially began Stage 4 at 9AM on that day.

With the exception of one student, all students passed the resit examination, including the 8 students who failed the July examination previously. This is no doubt the highest pass rate ever in the history of NUMed. Even though we passed in the end, this doesn't change the fact that we had to endure two weeks of extreme stress. We are definitely angry about the whole incident. Luckily, this incident happened to the Stage 3 examination. The examinations for the other Stages are much more difficult and it wouldn't be possible to finish revision in 10 days.

Looking back at the whole incident, while I think the way NUMed handled the situation was definitely not perfect, I agree with them that there is no better solution. If they informed us about the security breach earlier, I would have to do revision during the summer break and that would ruin my break. If they delayed the resit examination, that would just prolong the duration of extreme stress that we had to face and also adversely affect our studies in Semester 1 of Stage 4.

This incident was actually a blessing in disguise for me since my examination results improved from Amber to Green. I am glad that I chose to take the resit examination instead of repeating Stage 3. Obviously, the 8 students who failed the July examination benefited the most from this incident as they passed the resit examination and could enter Stage 4. Under normal circumstances, there is no resit for the Stage 3 written examination and any student who failed it has to repeat the entire Stage 3.

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Monday 4 September 2017

My 2017 summer break

In 2017, I had 6.5 weeks of summer break between 18 July 2017 and 4 September 2017, after the end of Stage 3 of my MBBS course at NUMed. Many interesting events happened during the summer break. Here, I am going to write about those events.

Compared to the previous years, my summer break is much shorter this year. Yet, this is the last time where I have a break longer than 1 month. In 2018, even though my summer break will technically last for 12 weeks, I have to spend 8 weeks of the break doing the Elective.

18 July 2017 (Tuesday):

I sat for Paper 2 of the SBA examination for Stage 3 of MBBS on that day. This paper was rather difficult, and it was as difficult as Paper 1 on the previous day. Immediately after the examination, the list of students who were required to take the Confirmation OSCE was released. I was exempted from the Confirmation OSCE. This meant it was almost certain that I had passed the Exemption OSCE which I took in the previous week and I was glad about it.

After that, I went to the NUMed student office to make a request regarding the student grouping for Stage 4 of MBBS. I wanted to be placed in the same group with my group mates in my Stage 3 group. Unfortunately, the student office refused to consider my request no matter what. On that night, I had dinner at KFC in AEON Bukit Indah to celebrate my completion of the SBA examination.

19 July 2017 (Wednesday):

On that afternoon, I went for lunch at Nando's in AEON Bukit Indah.

20 July 2017 (Thursday):

I had breakfast with 2 of my friends at Wen Loy Restaurant in Bukit Indah on that morning. The restaurant served dim sum as well as noodles. On that afternoon, my parents came to take me back to Subang Jaya. I left a lot of my belongings at Horizon Residences as NUMed allowed me to do so without additional charges.

22 July 2017 (Saturday):

On that afternoon, I went to Focus Point at Subang Parade to make a new pair of glasses. I had been using my old pair of glasses for about 6 years and I could no longer see very clearly with it. My favourite video game has always been Clash of Clans, and I have 2 accounts for it. My 2nd Clash of Clans account was upgraded to Builder Hall level 4 on that day.

23 July 2017 (Sunday):

On that day, I went back to Kulim. My 1st Clash of Clans account was upgraded to Builder Hall level 5 on that day.

24 July 2017 (Monday):

When I tried to turn on my Acer laptop on that day, it wouldn't boot. I tried using the Windows 10 recovery options, but none of them worked. From my experience, I felt that the problem could be due to the hard disk drive.

25 July 2017 (Tuesday):

The Confirmation OSCE was on that day. Those who didn't pass the Exemption OSCE were required to take it. The scores of the Exemption OSCE and Confirmation OSCE would then be combined to determine whether or not a student passed. This meant they had to perform better in the Confirmation OSCE compared to how they performed in the Exemption OSCE. Only 1 student in my batch had to take the Confirmation OSCE.

30 July 2017 (Sunday):

On that day, I went shopping with my family at AEON Bukit Mertajam. We then had lunch at Nando's.

31 July 2017 (Monday):

The results for Stage 3 of MBBS was released on that day. I was quite worried of failing the SBA examination as I would have to repeat the entire Stage 3 in that case. I checked my results for Professionalism first, followed by the Exemption OSCE and then the SBA examination. I felt so happy and relieved to know that I passed all of them. With this, I could proceed to Stage 4 of MBBS. There were 8 students in my batch who failed Stage 3.

1 August 2017 (Tuesday):

On that morning, I and my family had dim sum for breakfast at Kim Hee Restaurant in Alma, Bukit Mertajam. The atmosphere of the restaurant is quite nice. This was the first time I went there.

2 August 2017 (Wednesday):

On that afternoon, I returned to Subang Jaya by taking the electric train service (ETS). While I was on the train, I ordered briyani rice from the cafeteria.

3 August 2017 (Thursday):

I brought my Acer laptop to Redtop ICT Centre at Subang Parade for a repair on that day. They did some testing and confirmed that there was a problem with the hard disk drive. The drive had to be replaced, and I would be losing all data as a result. I asked if the data could be recovered and they said they could try to recover it. However, the process would take several days and there was no guarantee of success.

I was planning to get a new Surface Pro laptop if the data recovery fails. After that, I collected my new pair of glasses at Focus Point. This glasses looked quite nice and I could see much clearer with it. On that night, I had dinner with my family at The Ship in Damansara. It is a really nice Western restaurant.

4 August 2017 (Friday):

I received the NUMed Offer of Accommodation for the 2017-2018 academic year on that day. I was offered the same room at Horizon Residences as the one I stayed in the past 3 years. On that night, I and my family had dinner at Cor Blimey Cafe in SS15. This restaurant serves British fish and chips which is quite tasty.

5 August 2017 (Saturday):

On that night, I had dinner with my family at Ben's in Bukit Damansara. The cafe is part of a grocery store and I really like that place.

7 August 2017 (Monday):

I went to Redtop ICT Centre on that day to check the status of the data recovery. As it turned out, they successfully recovered all data in the damaged hard disk drive of my Acer laptop. With that, I no longer wanted to buy a new laptop. Instead, I decided to replace the hard disk drive with a solid state drive. I had found out that solid state drives are much faster than hard disk drives.

On that night, I had dinner with my family at Yeast Cafe in Mid Valley Megamall. It is a French restaurant and I like the food there.

8 August 2017 (Tuesday):

My Acer laptop was ready on that day and I collected it at Redtop ICT Centre. I tested the laptop with the new solid state drive and it was indeed very much faster than it used to be. However, I then found out that there was some problem with Windows because Redtop made some modifications to Windows. I then performed a reinstallation of Windows 10 and this solved the problem. The performance of my Acer laptop was just like a new computer.

10 August 2017 (Thursday):

On that day, I received my transcript for Stage 3 of MBBS from NUMed, several days after I requested for it. I had to upload it to the MySELF website for the JPA scholarship.

On that afternoon, I upgraded my iPad Air tablet to iOS 11 Public Beta. iOS 11 would bring many new features to iPads and I was tempted to try it out. While the new features were great, my iPad Air became rather laggy after the upgrade. I hoped that the performance would improve in the final version of iOS 11. My 2nd Clash of Clans account was upgraded to Town Hall level 10 on that day.

11 August 2017 (Friday):

My 1st Clash of Clans account was upgraded to Town Hall level 11 on that day.

13 August 2017 (Sunday):

On that night, I had dinner with my family at Fresco Cafe in Empire Shopping Gallery. What's special about this cafe is that we can choose the beef we want from Jaya Grocer and then let the chef cook it with a side dish.

14 August 2017 (Monday):

I and my family took the LRT to Sunway Pyramid on that night. We had dinner at Kim Gary which is a Hong Kong restaurant.

15 August 2017 (Tuesday):

I watched the movie Memento online on that day. I discovered this movie by chance a few days ago. This movie is unique such that its plot isn't shown in chronological order. It is a very good movie and I was left with strong emotions after watching it.

16 August 2017 (Wednesday):

On that evening, I had dinner with my family at Restoran Waneeda Tomyam in Kota Damansara.
It is a Thai restaurant and I really like the tomyam soup, pandan chicken and steamed fish there. Later on that night, I watched another version of the movie Memento where the plot is shown in chronological order, just to experience it in a different way.

17 August 2017 (Thursday):

On that night, I had dinner with my family at Souled Out in Sri Hartamas. This restaurant has a great atmosphere and the food there is of high quality.

18 August 2017 (Friday):

I and my family had dinner at Fatty Crab in Petaling Jaya on that evening. I like the crab there very much. Later on that night, one of my Taylor's College friend started a conversation with me on Facebook Messenger. I hadn't seen him for quite some time and he was in Australia at that time. We chatted for quite a long time.

19 August 2017 (Saturday):

I met up with one of my Taylor's College friend in Puchong on that afternoon. First, we had lunch at Ha Ha Pan Mee. After that, we went for desserts at Moonlight Cake House. The last time I saw her was about one year ago, so I was happy to meet her again. On that night, I watched the opening ceremony of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games which was held in Kuala Lumpur.

20 August 2017 (Sunday):

On that night, I had dinner with my family at Le Bistro 33 in USJ Taipan. It is a French-Italian restaurant.

21 August 2017 (Monday):

On that afternoon, I and my family had lunch at Acme Bar & Coffee in The Troika. This was the first time I went to this restaurant and the food there is quite good. After that, we went to the lounge at Citibank nearby for a while. On that night, my mother cooked dinner at home.

After dinner, I met up with several of my Taylor's College friends at Inside Scoop in USJ Taipan, where we had ice-cream. I hadn't seen them for a long time and we had a lot of things to talk about. Later, we went to McDonald's nearby to have supper. My friends thanked me for organising this meetup.

22 August 2017 (Tuesday):

Android 8.0 was officially launched by Google in the early hours of that day, and I watched the launch event live online. The name of Android 8.0 was confirmed to be Android Oreo. The launch event was quite short and it coincided with a total solar eclipse in the USA, as the Sun looks like an Oreo cookie during the eclipse.

Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to upgrade my HTC One E8 phone to Android 8.0 Oreo. My phone was shipped with Android 4.4 KitKat, and it later received upgrades up to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Since then, my phone no longer received any new Android versions.

23 August 2017 (Wednesday):

I had dinner with my family at Chili's in Citta Mall. I ordered Chicken Crispers which was what I used to order in the past, and I liked it a lot.

26 August 2017 (Saturday):

On that afternoon, I and my family went to KLIA2. That was my first time in KLIA2. We took a flight by AirAsia to Penang. When the plane was approaching Penang, it encountered severe turbulence which was really scary. After landing, we rented a car and attended my mother-side grandfather's birthday dinner at Jade Palace Seafood Restaurant. After the dinner, we went to Kulim and spent a night there.

27 August 2017 (Sunday):

I and my family took a flight from Penang back to Subang Jaya on that afternoon. Unlike the flight in the previous day, this flight was quite smooth.

28 August 2017 (Monday):

The students who failed Stage 3 of MBBS began their repeat year of Stage 3 on that day. Many of them are my friends. As they were no longer in the same batch with me, I likely wouldn't be able to see them often in the future.

Later on that day, NUMed sent us a welcome email for Stage 4 of MBBS and uploaded the Stage 4 timetable to the learning support website. Strangely, the timetable stated the Stage 4 start date as 18 September, even though Stage 4 was supposed to begin on 4 September. The student group list and study guides for Stage 4 were also not uploaded to the learning support website. Besides, the welcome email was shorter compared to the previous years.

30 August 2017 (Wednesday):

On that day, I watched The Hitman's Bodyguard at MBO Cinemas in Subang Parade with my mother. This movie is really intense and I enjoyed it very much. After that, we had dinner at Dome.

31 August 2017 (Thursday):

The 2017 Southeast Asian Games had just ended and Malaysia was ranked 1st among all participating countries. As a result, the government declared 4 September a public holiday. However, NUMed later informed us that 4 September wouldn't be a holiday at NUMed, because they had already set the timetables and it was too late to change it at that point. On that night, I had dinner with my family at Fatty Crab in Petaling Jaya once again.

1 September 2017 (Friday):

On that night, I and my family had buffet dinner at Melting Pot in Concorde Hotel. A wide variety of food was available and I really like the atmosphere there.

2 September 2017 (Saturday):

At my room in Horizon Residences, dust had always been a problem. It builds up quite easily, and getting rid of dust is particularly difficult in certain parts of the room. Therefore, I bought a vacuum cleaner on that day, hoping that it would solve the problem.

3 September 2017 (Sunday):

On that morning, my parents drove me from Subang Jaya back to Johor Bahru. We had lunch at Restoran Loon Sing in Bukit Indah. After that, I moved into Horizon Residences. My parents then went to the airport and took a flight back to Subang Jaya. I was looking forward to Stage 4 of MBBS.

4 September 2017 (Monday):

That was supposedly the first day of Stage 4 of MBBS. On that morning, I overslept because I had gotten used to waking up late throughout the break. I rushed and managed to arrive NUMed on time. I walked into the lecture theatre to attend the supposedly Stage 4 induction lecture. For some reason, the students who failed Stage 3 of MBBS and had to repeat Stage 3 were told to attend this lecture with us. The start of the lecture marked the end of my summer break.
(A very significant incident happened on that day. Read about it here: )

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