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Teenage Siblings Aged 16 and 18 Already in Their Third Year of Medical School

“A good doctor is to have a heart for their patients and we are en route to becoming one of them.” 

These were the words of two siblings who are currently in the journey of joining the field of healthcare and healing.

How often do we hear of students completing their studies, both primary and secondary, at the age of 12 and 14, when the normal route of education would take more than 10 years to complete?

It was a privilege to be able to speak with Tan Qi Ning, 18 and Tan Qi Yu, 16, who are in their third year of the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme at Quest International University (QIU), to learn more about them.

Tan Qi Ning (left) and Tan Qi Yu (right)

Many might call them child prodigies, however, for them, there are no secrets to success. It is hard work that is keeping them in momentum and fueling their drive to strive for more. 

The 18-year-old Qi Ning told Ipoh Echo that she believes their achievements involve one percent talent and the rest comes from hard work. “In my opinion, I’m not a child prodigy but rather it is a gift from god.”

Both of the siblings left the rigid schooling schedule at the age of 10 and 12, thereafter spending about one and a half years being homeschooled. They enrolled in QIU’s foundation programme after their International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) in 2018. 

Did homeschool affect the girls’ social life?

Homeschooling certainly did not stop them from getting in touch with others as they enjoyed the camaraderie from the people they have met. 

Besides the fun experience of meeting people from different ages, homeschooling allowed them to study at their own pace and gave them the freedom to organise their time between different activities. 

“We get to visit various places and try our hand at different activities such as swimming and hiking. My sister and myself not only get to spend more time on the things we enjoy, but also go on holidays,” Qi Ning said. 

As for Qi Yu, the top scorer for the Chemistry paper at the Cambridge IGCSE, she said one thing that makes university more vibrant is that they get to hang out around a dynamic group of people. “Being able to get into a university at a young age gives us a chance to mingle around with friends from different ages.”

They came all the way from Kuala Lumpur to continue their tertiary education with the Quest International University. 

“We arrived at the decision to join QIU because of their motto, ‘Don’t Leave Anyone Behind’, and we can really say that everyone we met at the university really cared for us and helped us a lot. 

“And the reason I chose to go into medicine was when I discovered the importance of a doctor to be devoted in their job which is to reduce the suffering of the patient and help them get better faster,” Qi Yu shared. 


Gisele Soo


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