Here is a list of the most commonly asked questions about med school.
1. Do I need to major in the Sciences?
No, major in an area that interests you. As long as you have the required courses for application to your schools of choice, then you will be fine.
2. Do I need to finish my degree?
While most medical schools require an undergraduate degree, you are able to apply to a few Canadian schools after completing their pre-requisite courses and the required number of credit hours. Check with your school of choice.
3. Should I do my Honours?
A thesis based Honours degree may give you an edge over another student who has no prior research experience. However, this "edge" may not be because of the thesis itself, but rather, provide examiners an idea of who you are. The process of completing an Honours may portray characteristics of a good prospective student; such as motivation, organization, persistance, problem solving skiils and the ability to work on your own. Honours students and supervisors also often develop a working relationship where the supervisor is able to access these characteristics and is able to comment on these in reference letters.
4. Should I take a prep course before I write the MCAT?
Prep courses are not necessary. Many stduents get high scores without a course. It really depends on your knowledge of each subject (what you already know and if you are aware of topics covered in each subject), your ability to focus on studying effectively prior to the test (i.e. self discipline) and taking the time to do "real" practice tests within the actual time limit of each topic.
5. Can I repeat a course if I got a poor grade?
Repeat courses are not usually recommended if they are part of the school's pre-reqs. Check with particular school of choice. If your school of choice uses the GPA for the last two full years prior to application, then repeating a first year course may not be worth your time and money.
6. Can I take a summer course?
If the course is part of the required courses for application, then a summer course may not be useful. Some schools will accept the course as a pre-req, but wil not use its GPA because it was not taken with a full course load. If the summer course is to help with your MCAT, then it is fine.
7. Do I need a full course load?
Yes, a full course load is recommended. However, if you were playing varsity sports, were involved in campus activities that discouraged (or did not permit) a full load, then you would simply have to mention it on your application. Also, if you have a condition that prevents your from taking a full course load, then this is also ok, but will require documentation.
8. Will a "w" on my transcript affect my chances of getting in?
Not necessarily. Most schools require a full course load (10 courses per academic year) for 4 semesters, or 2 most recent years prior to application. A full course load may vary by school. Therefore it is important to check prior to applicaiton.
9. Can I still practice medicine in Canada if I go to a school outside of Canada?
Yes, there may be a few extra "hoops" to go through, but many of our students are eventually able to practice in Canada.
10. Can I take really easy courses in my 4th year if I have fulfilled most of my degree requirements?
It is ok to enrol in courses you have always been interested in but have not had the opportunity to take or they would not fit into your schedule until 4th year. However, it is not advisable to take mostly 1st year courses in 4th year. Check on your school of choice, as some require a % of courses at specific levels.
11. What is a personal statement?
A personal statement is is a section of the medical school application where you are given an opportunity to provide information about yourself not available through your MCAT score, GPA and transcript. You must convey as accurately as possible, who you are and ... The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) requests a one page, 5,300 character essay for US schools and suggests applicants consider the following questions in their essays:
• Why have you selected the field of medicine?
• What motivates you to learn more about medicine?
• What do you want medical schools to know about you that hasn't been disclosed in another section of the application?
In addition, you may want to include information such as:
• Special hardships, challenges, or obstacles that may have influenced your educational pursuits
• Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record which are not explained elsewhere in your application
12. How can I prepare for an interview?
Examiners will assess the following skills and knowledge:
2. Communication skills
3. Knowledge of the healthcare system
4. Ethical decision making