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.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Thoughts on my failure in Stage 5 of MBBS

The final exams for Stage 5 of my MBBS course at NUMed consist of WriSkE, SBA and End of Stage MOSLER. To pass Stage 5, students need to pass all three assessments. On 13 June 2019, the final results for Stage 5 was released. I passed the WriSkE and SBA, but unfortunately, I failed the End of Stage MOSLER, which meant that I had failed Stage 5 of MBBS.

The MOSLER is a clinical assessment where we have to see real patients. The MOSLER has 6 domains of assessment which are Information Gathering, Technical & Procedural Skills, Communication Skills, Clinical & Diagnostic Reasoning, Management, and Professional Behaviour. There are in-course MOSLER's throughout Stage 3 and Stage 5 as well as an End of Stage MOSLER at the end of Stage 5.

Here, I would like to share my thoughts on my failure in Stage 5 of MBBS.

To be honest, before I entered Stage 5, I wasn't confident of being able to pass it in my first attempt. My greatest worry was failing the MOSLER's. Back in Stage 3, I faced great difficulties with the in-course MOSLER's, failing the Clinical & Diagnostic Reasoning domain twice, and disastrously failing all domains of the Women's Health MOSLER.

Although I then passed Stage 4 without significant difficulties, that was because there are no MOSLER's in Stage 4. I knew my underlying weakness with the MOSLER's was still there, and that it would be a problem for me during Stage 5. With the addition of the Management domain, the MOSLER's in Stage 5 would be even more difficult than in Stage 3.

However, after I got into Stage 5, I realised that it is actually not as difficult as what I had expected. Stage 5 is basically a revision of the Stage 3 curriculum, plus some new things. I still remembered what I learnt in Stage 3 fairly well, and I felt that I actually understand everything much better when learning them a second time.

Therefore, I soon became quite confident of passing Stage 5. As it turned out, I didn't face much difficulties with the in-course MOSLER's in Stage 5. I managed to pass all domains of the Women's Health MOSLER this time, and the lecturer was impressed with my improvement. Although I still didn't get a perfect result in all in-course MOSLER's, I never failed any domain more than once.

After completing the final exams, I was very sure that I had passed Stage 5, and I wasn't quite worried about the release of the results. Therefore, it definitely came as a shock to me when I found out that I failed the End of Stage MOSLER. After all the confidence I had throughout Stage 5, it turns out that the worries I had before entering Stage 5 actually materialised.

I initially planned to appeal my MOSLER results. However, after reading the feedback written by the examiners, I realised there is no grounds for an appeal, as the feedback clearly corresponds to the marks I got for each station. Besides, there has never been a case in NUMed where an appeal of exam results is successful. Therefore, I gave up on the appeal.

The issue about failing Stage 5 is that we must repeat the entire year and take all assessments again, as NUMed doesn't allow us to just resit the failed assessments in August like for Stage 1, 2 and 4. Most students don't like the idea of having to spend another year studying for the MBBS degree and they prefer to be given the opportunity to resit in August.

But for me, while I think repeating the year isn't ideal, I actually prefer it over resitting the MOSLER in August. This is because repeating the year gives a substantially higher chance of passing compared to resitting in August. It is definitely important to maximise the chance of passing as failing a second time will result in dropping out of MBBS.

If we resit in August, we have only about 2 months to revise everything and also improve on our weakness, which is definitely very challenging and risky. Meanwhile by repeating Stage 5, we have an entire year's time, and we are taught everything again. It isn't uncommon for students to fail again after resitting in August, while most students improve a lot after repeating the year.

As I have mentioned in my previous post, the main cause of my failure is my method of studying. Other possible causes are overconfidence and lack of clinical skills practice. I had some relationship issues in the months leading up to the final exams, which also contributed to my failure in the MOSLER.

I never looked forward to graduation. I have been together with my friends in NUMed for so long. As an emotional person, having to separate with them after graduating definitely makes me feel very sad. Now that I failed Stage 5, I am not graduating this year, but it doesn't make much of a difference, as I still have to separate with most of my friends.

This is the first time where I failed a year in the MBBS course. I definitely consider Stage 5 to be the most difficult year. Despite that, the course content of Stage 5 have been very interesting. For the repeat year of Stage 5, I hope I will have a much better experience. I won't hate NUMed for failing me, and I will never regret my decision to study MBBS at NUMed.


  1. Hey there, Im sorry if this comes out as being insensitive but I can't help but wonder how you were able to repeat your year 5? Were you not a JPA scholar and since you failed, dosent that technically terminate your scholarship?

    1. I applied for an extension of the JPA scholarship and it was approved. For the repeat year of Stage 5, JPA sponsored the tuition fees in full and I received 70% of the usual living allowances. However, my contract period with JPA has to be increased from 10 years to 11 years.

      In the new NUMed MBBS curriculum, students failing an exam in Year 5 will be able to resit the exam without having to repeat the year. It is still possible to choose to repeat the year, but it is not known whether or not JPA will approve the scholarship extension in such a situation.

    2. Thank you for clearing that up for me, I've visited your blog since I was in form 5 and now I've done my foundation, ready to start MBBS in another two days. Well wishes for your future endeavours!

  2. Dear Daniel, could you share the process of JPA extension route with me please. My daughter might failed her 3rd year MBBS course at Numed and we need to know what are the options available for her. Thank you.

    1. Note that only those who fail the Year 3 OSCE have to repeat the whole year. Those who fail the Year 3 WriSkE or SBA can resit in August without repeating the year.

      If you do have to repeat the year, you need the following documents to apply for an extension of the JPA scholarship:
      - Borang Permohonan Pelanjutan Biasiswa / Pinjaman
      - Borang Tunjuk Sebab Kemerosotan Akademik
      - Official letter
      - Confirmation letter from university
      - Examination transcript

      The Borang Permohonan Pelanjutan Biasiswa / Pinjaman and Borang Tunjuk Sebab Kemerosotan Akademik can be downloaded from the right column of JPA's website ( ). Certain sections of the forms have to be filled up by NUMed while you have to fill up the other sections.

      You have to write the official letter yourself, explaining the reasons of your failure and the need to repeat the year as per NUMed's regulations and requesting for an extension of the scholarship. The confirmation letter and examination transcript can be requested from NUMed.

      Email all of the 5 documents to JPA. The application should be approved as long as the documents are properly completed. It may take several weeks for JPA to give you a response.

      Once JPA approves the application, they will send you a letter as well as an agreement form for extending your contract period with JPA by 1 year. You then have to fill up the agreement form and return it to JPA.

      For the repeat year, JPA will pay the tuition fees in full and you will receive 70% of the usual living allowance.

  3. Hi Daniel, my daughter failed MOSLER end of 4th year and failed resit too. Board has asked her to exit programme. Her appeal has been rejected as she did not ask for Personal Attenuation Circumstances (PEC) before sitting. Do you think she can retake the 4th year?