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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.