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Medical Direction presents: The Fall Medical School Symposium. Come learn more about the MCAT, prerequisites, reference letters, and the application process from med school students!. Date: Thursday, September 19 th @ 6pm Location: Leacock 132. Who is Medical Direction ?.

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Medical direction presents the fall medical school symposium
Medical Direction presents: The Fall Medical School Symposium

  • Come learn more about the MCAT, prerequisites, reference letters, and the application process from med school students!

Date: Thursday, September 19th @ 6pm

Location: Leacock 132

Who is medical direction
Who is Medical Direction?

Presentation overview
Presentation Overview

  • Undergraduate Timeline

  • Prerequisites & MCAT

  • Research & Extracurriculars

  • GMT/Shadowing

  • Applications & Reference Letters

  • Guest Speakers:

    • Joshua Chin

    • Andrew Rabinovitch

    • Noir Khatib

    • Jeffrey Weiskopf

Undergraduate timeline

Undergraduate Timeline

How to stay on track





-work hard and keep your marks up

-stay involved on campus, preferably in a leadership role

-travel and relax for the summer



-take first year science courses (prereqs)

-explore your interests in clubs and activities on campus

-conduct summer research; volunteer; get a job; take summer courses; travel

-have fun, make friends

-pick your major; take remaining prereqs (Org Chem, English)

-run for a leadership role? (e.g. club exec)

-conduct summer research; volunteer; get a job; take summer courses; travel

-consider taking an MCAT class or self-studying and to the MCAT this summer

-get to know your supervisors, profs, TAs

-work hard and keep your marks up

-stay involved on campus, preferably in a leadership role

-conduct summer research; volunteer; get a job; take summer courses; travel

-write (or rewrite, if need be) the MCAT; contact your references, begin your applications

-get closer with your supervisors; perhaps conduct research with a professor during the year



The courses you must take before starting medical school

Required by some schools
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
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
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
MCAT Grading Scheme

  • Every section is out of 15

  • Aim for double digits in every section

The mcat is changing in 2015
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 for more information


Whyyou should do it

How to get involved
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
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 cont1
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
What Medical Schools Look For

  • Level & type of involvement

  • Time commitment

  • Self-directed

  • Results


The Bare Essentials

Doing something you love
Doing something you love

  • Get involved!

  • Join clubs, compete in athletics, volunteer for NGOs, anything

  • 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
Hospital Volunteering

  • Gain experience in a hospital setting

  • Possible options

    • Royal Victoria Hospital

    • Montreal General

    • Montreal Chest

    • Montreal Children’s

    • Montreal Neurological

    • Shriners

    • St. Mary’s

  • Look around

    – Don’t give up

Shadowing program
Shadowing Program


  • Shadow in a clinical or operating room (OR) setting

  • 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
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

  • CV

  • Letter of Intent

  • Short 5-10 minute informal interview/meeting


The trip gives you the opportunity to
The trip gives you the opportunity to…

  • 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 application
How does a trip like this help my application?

  • 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
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 reference

    • 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

For most schools you will need
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 schoolorresearch

  • 1 non-academic reference

    • Swim coach, Violin teacher, Clinical or Volunteer Supervisor

    • A “character reference”

How to ask for a reference
How to ask for a reference

  • Start early. Give your references a lot of time to write your letters.

  • Choose someone you have a personal relationship with and who knows you well.

  • Ask them, preferably in person, if they would be willing to write a positive reference letter for your applications.

  • Prepare a package of information for them (next slide).

  • Follow up before the deadline.

What to give your reference
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.