Conjoint MDS Orthodontics/M Orth RCSEd examination 2001
The last week of March 2001 was the time of this year when the dreaded word "EXAMS" was on the lips of every postgraduate orthodontic resident. For the final year residents, it was the big Conjoint MDS Orthodontics/Membership in Orthodontics, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh examination. It is a rite of passage for every graduating orthodontic resident, much like a kind of mountain each student has to conquer after three years of continuous hard and demanding work.
The inaugural conjoint examination between NUS and the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) of Edinburgh was held in NUS in March 2000. This examination, now an annual feature in the examination calendar at the Faculty of Dentistry, provides for equal recognition of each institution's qualifications for basic specialist training in Orthodontics. The recognition by the RCS (Edinburgh) of the MDS degrees validates the high standards of graduate training students receive at NUS and NDC. Students who pass the examination receive both the MDS Orthodontics and M Orth RCSEd qualifications at one sitting. Not a bad deal, one might say! The Membership component, not the MDS, of the exam is also open to any local or foreign candidate who has received a minimum of 3-years or equivalent of full-time graduate orthodontic training in a center recognized by the RCS (Edinburgh).
This year's examination, the second conjoint examination, was held at both NUS and NDC from the 26-30 March 2001. The written papers and the oral viva were held at NUS while the clinical and case examinations were conducted at NDC. Representing the RCS (Edinburgh) were Professor Murray Meikle, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at RCS (Edinburgh) and Professor Andrew Sandham. The Internal Examiners were Dr Kelvin Foong, Dr Loh Soo Ann and Dr Mimi Yow. The External Examiner for NUS was the Prof James McDonald, the Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, RCS (Edinburgh).
To any student, an important examination raises the level of personal anxiety, and this often hampers the student's performance. Having Prof James McDonald as the External Examiner was most reassuring; his affable nature and engaging style of questioning brought out the best in each student. Much credit also goes to the other examiners for stretching the young and ready minds of each resident, making the examination as much a learning process as it was summative.
The examinations were not truly over until the results were announced. The temporary sense of relief at the end of the last examination stage grew into anxious moments. One resident coped by sleeping at home, while the rest went shopping. When the brown envelopes announcing their results were handed out and opened, there were shrieks of joy (Well, it is an all-female class in the batch of 1998-2001!). I believe, at that moment, there was a tremendous sense of accomplishment, and a vision of a bright future where they could conquer any height. As for the second and first year residents, they have seen for themselves the paths which their seniors have trod, the path that will be trod by themselves one day in the not too distant future.