Medical School PreReqs

Medical Direction presents:
The Fall Medical School Symposium
Date: Thursday, September 19th @ 6pm
Location: Leacock 132
• Come learn more about the MCAT,
prerequisites, reference letters, and
the application process from med
school students!
Who is Medical Direction?
Presentation Overview
Undergraduate Timeline
Prerequisites & MCAT
Research & Extracurriculars
Applications & Reference Letters
Guest Speakers:
Joshua Chin
Andrew Rabinovitch
Noir Khatib
Jeffrey Weiskopf
Undergraduate Timeline
How to stay on track
-take first year science
courses (prereqs)
-pick your major; take
remaining prereqs (Org
Chem, English)
-work hard and keep
your marks up
-work hard and keep
your marks up
-explore your interests in
clubs and activities on
-run for a leadership
role? (e.g. club exec)
-stay involved on
campus, preferably in a
leadership role
-stay involved on
campus, preferably in a
leadership role
-conduct summer
research; volunteer; get a
job; take summer
courses; travel
-conduct summer
research; volunteer; get a
job; take summer
courses; travel
-conduct summer
research; volunteer; get a
job; take summer
courses; travel
-travel and relax for the
-consider taking an MCAT -write (or rewrite, if need
class or self-studying and be) the MCAT; contact
to the MCAT this summer your references, begin
your applications
-have fun, make friends
-get to know your
supervisors, profs, TAs
-get closer with your
supervisors; perhaps
conduct research with a
professor during the year
The courses you must take
before starting medical
Required (by some schools)
• Full year of Physics (with lab)
– PHYS 101, 102 OR PHYS 131,142
• Full year of Bio (with lab)
– BIOL 111, 112
• Full year of General Chem (with lab)
– Chem 110, 120
• Half to Full year of Organic Chem (with lab)
– CHEM 212, 222
• Math Courses (stats/calculus)
• Upper level life sciences courses
(biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, etc.)
• English
• Humanities
Things to check
• Does the school accept prerequisite courses
taken over the summer? (some DO NOT)
• Does the school accept Pass/Fail
prerequisites? (most DO NOT)
• Does the school accept transfer credits as
prerequisites (e.g. CÉGEP, French Bacc, IB, AP)
The infamous test
What the MCAT Tests
• Critical thinking rather than knowledge
• Start studying early! Some sources say
study at least 400 hours!
–Challenging for students with purely
science background
–101 Passages MCAT Verbal Reasoning
MCAT Grading Scheme
• Every section is out of 15
• Aim for double digits in
every section
The MCAT is Changing in 2015
• No more writing section
• New “Natural Sciences” and “Behavioral
Sciences” sections
• New “Critical Analysis and Reasoning” section
• Must be taken by those entering Medical
school in Fall 2016
• visit
2015/ for more information
Why you should do it
How to Get Involved
– Choose a field based on your interests
– Search for labs
• Hospital websites
• McGill Office for Undergraduate Research
• Google
– Look at:
• publications
• project descriptions
How to Get Involved (cont.)
• Email principal investigator or lab manager
– Be familiar with the research
– Be willing to volunteer
– Have enthusiasm about the topic, and show it
– Do not send generalized mass emails
• Types of work
– Own project
– Work with PhD/Masters student
– Review article
How to Get Involved (cont.)
Not so great:
Hey Dr. Smith!
My name is John and I am a McGill undergraduate student. Your
lab looks very interesting to me and I am looking to do research
because it will look good on my medical school applications.
Please let me know if you have any positions available.
Much better:
Hi Dr. Smith,
My name is John and I am a second year McGill student studying
biology. I’m interested in molecular biology, and after reading
some of your papers on cytoskeletal dynamics, I have become
enthusiastic about working in a lab like yours. Do you think we
could arrange a meeting to discuss the potential of becoming
involved with your research?
What Medical Schools Look For
Level & type of involvement
Time commitment
The Bare Essentials
Doing something you love
• Get involved!
• Join clubs, compete in athletics, volunteer for NGOs,
• Try to lead
• Try to do something health related – not because it
“looks good”, but so you can get discover whether
the field is truly for you
Hospital Volunteering
• Gain experience in a
hospital setting
• Possible options
Royal Victoria Hospital
Montreal General
Montreal Chest
Montreal Children’s
Montreal Neurological
St. Mary’s
• Look around
– Don’t give up
Shadowing Program
• Shadow in a clinical or operating room (OR)
• Many different specialties including radiology,
surgery and psychiatry
• Several clinical and non-clinical researchers
also available to discuss their research and the
field in general
Application process
• Immunization Form
– Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio, Varicella,
Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Hepatitis B, Tuberculin,
Influenza, Meningococcus
– Required to shadow in the OR, required by some
doctors for clinical shadowing as well
Application Form
Letter of Intent
Short 5-10 minute informal interview/meeting
• Philippe Hwang, Shadowing Director
• [email protected]
Global Medical
Training Trip
The trip gives you the opportunity
• Actively participate in medical assessments
and treatment of patients
• Provide healthcare to patients with scarce
economic resources in Latin America
• Work with medical professionals in clinics
• Learn by doing
How does a trip like this help my
• You gain way more from a trip like GMT than a
one-line entry on your CV…
• Shows that you explore your interests
• Shows that you have an idea of what the
medical field/environment is like
• Exposes you to patients and teaches you how
to interact with them
• Stories, inspiration
OMSAS and other Canadian schools
Timeline for applying (for application
during final year)
• May-June before final year
– speak to references
– decide what schools to apply to
– begin (and complete) AMCAS
• July-Aug before final year
– begin OMSAS
• Oct-Nov of final year
– OMSAS and AMCAS due
• Dec-Mar of final year
– Interviews! (Feb-Apr for OMSAS)
• Biographical information
• Inputting grades
– Have to manually input grades
• Letters of Reference
– Only allows you to upload three letters of
– The referees must fill out the Confidential
Assessment Form and send in your letter by mail
• Enter in all academic, non academic, work and
research experience
• Need to put in verifiers
– Someone who can confirm your activities
– You will need their address and phone number
Base fee - $210
McMaster - $105
Northern - $75
Ottawa - $75
Queen’s - $75
Toronto - $85
Western - $85
Reference Letters
For most schools, you will need…
• 2 academic references
– Professors, Lab supervisors (PIs), Academic
Advisors, Teaching Assistants
– anyone who can attest to your abilities in school
or research
• 1 non-academic reference
– Swim coach, Violin teacher, Clinical or Volunteer
– A “character reference”
How to ask for a reference
1. Start early. Give your references a lot of time to
write your letters.
2. Choose someone you have a personal
relationship with and who knows you well.
3. Ask them, preferably in person, if they would be
willing to write a positive reference letter for
your applications.
4. Prepare a package of information for them (next
5. Follow up before the deadline.
What to give your reference
The more information your reference has about you, the better.
Things to include:
• cover letter explaining what the letter is for (i.e. med school), what
must be included (any special information), and when it is due
– NOTE: do NOT lie about the due date
a copy of your CV
a copy of your transcript (official or unofficial)
required forms (e.g OMSAS confidential assessment)
any other relevant documents (e.g. proof of awards, details about your
academic program, website urls, etc.)
• (a pre-addressed envelope with a stamp)
This is not the time to be modest.

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