Medical School Information

Getting Into Medical School

Getting into medical school can be a very tough journey as the average acceptance rate is approximately 15% as of 2016. This guide is designed to improve your chances of succeeding in getting into medical school!

The Health Care Team at the SSSC is also here to help you prepare for medical school applications and admission. You can schedule a one-on-one appointment with a Health Care Team member, who can walk you through the process of getting into medical school. The Team also has a variety of workshops and activities planned throughout the year to help you get ready for medical school, so make sure to check the SSSC's Upcoming Events.

Medical schools commonly consider a combination of grades, extracurricular activities, the MCAT and interviews when assessing admission to their programs.


Grades for Medical School Admission

Ontario uses a 4.0 grading scale to consider students for admission to medical school. The undergraduate grading system conversion table is used to convert Carleton grades to a this scale. As you can see on the conversion table, the OMSAS value for each Carleton grade drops significantly as the grades get lower. Because of this, it is difficult to pinpoint an exact grade on the Carleton scale to shoot for to be considered for admission to medical school in Ontario. As an estimate, students should aim for at least a 3.85 GPA on a 4.0 scale, which is equivalent to approximately 10.8 on Carleton’s 12.0 scale. The marks students obtain in the prerequisite courses for medical schools are often the most important. 

Each school has different requirements and pre-requisite courses so its important to do your research.


Extracurricular Activities

The Autobiographical or Character sketch is an important part of the medical school application process. It covers work, research, volunteering, awards, and extracurriculars. Volunteering and staying involved in your favorite hobbies is a great way to fill out the openings in your sketch. Be sure to keep information of all your contacts in order to complete your sketch quickly and efficiently.

When Should I Start?

As soon as possible. Medical schools love to see continuity. If you enjoy certain activities, continue to be involved in them throughout your university career. If you used to play soccer in high school, try intramurals in University.

What Should I Do?

Do what you love to do and do lots of it. Make time for the things you enjoy and integrate them into your schedule. The activities you pursue should reflect leadership and contribution to society. Doctors are the leaders in the medical community, so admissions committees like students that prove their leadership skills such as being a teaching assistant or taking on a supervisory role.

Sports facilities, hospitals, research centers, schools, old age homes - anywhere that grabs your interest will be perfect. While volunteering at a health-related facility is not absolutely necessary, it can help you determine if you are comfortable in that type of setting and can be an asset when applying to medical school.

Many medical schools also like to see that students have research experience, as it shows that you like to learn new things. Being able to work part-time while attending school is another positive attribute to show that you can handle multiple activities at once.

See Get Involved in Science for more information about clubs, societies, and volunteer opportunities.


Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

What is the MCAT?

  • Standardized test required for entrance into most medical schools.
  • Cost: $300 or $115 with eligibility for the fee assistance program.
  • Duration: 7.5 hour (including breaks)
  • Format: all computerized, multiple choice questions based on passages. No calculators.

When should I write the MCAT?

  • At the latest, one year before you want to apply to med school- summer of 3rd year if you are applying in 4th year
  • If you think you will want to write the exam again, make sure you give yourself enough time to get your results back and book another exam
  • Scores are released one month after the writing date, be sure to request to have your score released to OMSAS one you receive it
  • The last date to write your MCAT is September 9, 2018

It is recommended that students take the MCAT during the summer of their second or third year because the test covers material often covered during first or second year courses. The MCAT Exam Website is a great resource about the test. 

Students can either take a prep course or self study for the MCAT. Depending on how you choose to study, MCAT preparation can cost anywhere from $300 to $2,000.

Medical College Admissions Test Sections

Section

Breakdown

Concepts

Psychological, Social & Biological Foundations of Behaviour

59 Questions

95 Minutes

10 Passages

15 Independent questions

Perception of reacting to the world

Factors affecting behaviour

The way we think of ourselves & others

Well-being

Access to resources and well-being

Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems

59 Questions

95 Minutes

10 Passages

15 Independent questions

Biomolecules and Life

Cellular organization and assembly

Complex systems and homeostasis

Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems

59 Questions

95 Minutes

10 Passages

15 Independent questions

Cellular Responses and Material Transport

Molecular Dynamics

Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

53 Questions

90 Minutes

9 Passages

 

No longer includes passages on natural science or technology

No previous Knowledge required

All answers are in passages

Scoring

  • The 2015 MCAT employs a new scoring scale – individual sections will be scored using a 118 to 132 score scale range (instead of 1 to 15)
  • A composite score will then be supplicated ranging from 472 to 528 (instead of 1 to 45)
  • For most schools, the score cut off for admission is around 500 points

MCAT Self-Study Options

Self study is the cheaper of the two options though you need the discipline to study and there is quite a lot of material (7 books from Kaplan) that could be daunting. But if you prefer self study and have the discipline then it may be a better option since the course sometimes feels slow and will make you want to study less. If you are highly self-motivated, you may choose to prepare for the MCAT on your own. While there are many ways to guide your study, here are a few of the most popular guides:

MCAT Preparation Course Companies

Most companies that offer courses also offer book sets for self study that will come with online small lessons on the harder concepts and (usually) 4-5 full length practice MCATS.If you prefer structure when you study and would like the benefit of having someone guide you through the studying process, there are numerous MCAT prep courses to choose from. Some companies include:

The course is expensive and that is the major con. The pros are that the people taking the course will have insider information and tips about writing while also keeping you on track. It will also be helpful if you write the MCAT after you took the class (so if you are writing the MCAT after 3rd or 4th year but need to know first year bio information) the presence of a teacher type person will help. 

Tips from Pros

  • Pick first and second year courses with the MCAT topics in mind – your MCAT prep starts with your first year courses
  • Start studying early (right after exams are done!)
    • Make a detailed study schedule with deadlines and stick to it (typically 30 hours of work, per week, for 8 to 12 weeks)
  • Start with the concepts you find the hardest
  • Do lots of full length, timed, practice exams to get used to the length (this is much more important than “hitting the books”)
  • Take a practice MCAT test in your second year
  • Don’t forget that the MCAT is American, verbal reasoning passages will be based on American history and politics…
  • Use Khan Academy to study broad topics, but especially material by Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)- the creators of the exam!
  • Talk to students who have successfully completed the test
  • If you feel that you need more time to study- postpone your test

https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/taking-mcat-exam/

 

            AACM website that includes an in-depth guide to what the MCAT is and a breakdown of the test, as well as study tips, etc.

https://mcat.magoosh.com/lessons?utm_source=mcatblog&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=mcatlessons&utm_term=endofpost&utm_content=lessons&hsCtaTracking=c62affbf-60b8-4e74-9e4b-37bc2ffcd7ba%7C5f5b850f-9504-47cb-9dce-1b329efe8e73

 


Medical School Interviews

Med school interviews follow the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). This format uses many short independent assessments to get a total score for each candidate. When you arrive at the interview, you will be asked to stand in front of a door with a scenario or question taped to it. You will be given a specific amount of time to review the question and then will walk into the room. For the next ten minutes, you will answer the question or solve the problem to the best of your ability.

The questions in the MMI are created to learn about your ethics, problem solving abilities, passion, and leadership skills. Many of the questions do not have correct or incorrect answers. For example:

You live in a condo with a swimming pool and gym. Your best friend asks for your key so she can use the gym and pool because she can't afford the monthly gym pass at the public gym. But regulations state that non-tenants are not allowed to use the pool and gym. What do you do?

The Science Student Success Centre holds a MMI practice session each winter term. Spots fill up quickly, so make sure to check the Upcoming Events Calendar and then sign up to attend on Carleton Central by clicking on the Science Student Success Centre link under mySuccess.

Carleton Interview Resources

Co-op provides one-on-one interview practice to prepare for medical school entrance interviews.

Co-operative Education
1400 CTTC
Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30
(613) 520-4331
co-opprogram [at] carleton.ca


Admission Requirements for Medical Schools in Canada

Medical school admission requirements change frequently, so please check the school's website for the most up to date information. Here are the basic admission requirements for each school in Canada as of fall 2015.

Medical Schools in Ontario

  • No required courses
  • MCAT required: only verbal reasoning
  • No required courses
  • MCAT not required
  • 2 semesters of humanities or social sciences
  • 4 semesters of courses from:
    • Biochemistry (without lab)
    • General chemistry (with lab)
    • Organic chemistry (with lab)
  • 2 semesters of biology/zoology with lab
  • MCAT not required
  • No required courses
  • MCAT required
  • 4 semesters of life sciences (example: biology, biochemistry)
  • 2 semesters of humanities or social sciences
  • MCAT required: as a cutoff for interviews
  • No required courses
  • MCAT required

Medical Schools Outside of Ontario

  • 2 semesters of chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, physics and English
  • 1 semester of statistics and biochemistry
  • MCAT required
  • 2 semesters of English, biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry
  • MCAT required
  • No required courses
  • MCAT required
  • No required courses
  • MCAT required
  • 2 semesters of biochemistry
  • MCAT required
  • 2 semesters with lab of biology, physics and chemistry
  • 1 semester of organic chemistry with labs
  • recommended: biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology and statistics
  • MCAT is optional
  • 2 semesters of English
  • MCAT required
  • No required courses
  • MCAT required

Character Sketch

What is the Character Sketch?

  • Allows admissions committee to get to know you – apart from your grades
    • Also called the Autobiographical Sketch
  • Required for OMSAS
    • Check specific requirements for each school
  • Other schools (outside of Ontario) may require different methods: LOR, mini essays, etc.

This is usually an account of everything you have done since the age of 16- although some schools may only want the activities you have done in your undergrad. They can be structured or non-structured experiences.

Categories

There are 48 spots to fill, which includes categories for;

 
  • F: Formal Education (Name of Institution, dates, program, degree)
  • X: Extracurricular Activities
  • V: Volunteer Activities
  • E: Employment
  • R: Research
  • A: Awards and Accomplishments
  • O: Other
 

For each entry you must include;

  • Duration of participation
    • Is the activity ongoing?
    • Total number of hours completed
  • Description of role
    • Responsibilities and skills gained
  • How this will make you a good doctor

For every entry you have a limit of 150 characters to describe your role and what you gained. You must be concise.

Verifier

Every entry you make you are required to have a verifier: someone they can contact to prove what you wrote is true.

  • Make sure they are reputable
  • Make sure they know they will be contacted (you do not want a verifier to be called by surprise)
  • Make sure you have one for every entry, you need verifiers that are not friends or family for most entries

Tips and Tricks

Review the application guidelines before starting to be sure nothing has changed.
Start early!

Keep track of your activities:

  • Organization name
  • List of responsibilities/roles
  • Keep in touch with your verifiers
  • Contact info for verifier

While Writing:

  • 150 character limit
  • Strong, descriptive language
  • Short forms (@, w/, &)
  • Quality over quantity- some schools may not want all 48 spots filled so pick your strongest activities
  • Review all your entries. Check for spelling, grammar, etc.

For more information, contact the Med School you are interested in and for Ontario schools consult the OMSAS application guide www.ouac.on.ca/guide/omsas-app-guide/

https://www.accepted.com/medical/sampleessays

            samples of essays: the good and the bad


UMHS St. Kitts Agreement

Carleton University has signed an agreement with the University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts, which reserves seats in their medical school for Carleton students who meet the terms of the agreement. There are two options for admission to UMHS through the agreement. One is designed for students who are currently attending Carleton, while the second is designed for students who are completing high school:

Honours BSc – MD Final Year Direct Entry Program

Students applying for admission must declare their intent to apply to this program between May and September preceding their final year of study at Carleton. Students must complete the following prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA of 10.0 with no grade below B-:

  • BIOL 1103
  • BIOL 1104
  • CHEM 1001
  • CHEM 1002
  • CHEM 2203
  • CHEM 2204
  • BIOC/BIOL 2200
  • PHYS 1007
  • One semester of Math (Calculus or Statistics recommended)
  • Two semesters of English or a related writing-intensive course

Students must also:

  • Maintain a minimum CGPA of 10.0 at the time of application
  • Submit an essay detailing your leadership roles and extracurricular activities during high school, your reasons for choosing to pursue a career in medicine, and reasons why the selection committee should select you for the Honours BSc – MD Final Year Direct Entry Program
  • Complete a successful interview with a UMHS admission officer
  • Receive a recommendation from the Science Student Success Officer or person in a similar role at Carleton
  • Complete an Honours BSc degree at Carleton

BSc – MD High School Direct Entry Program

Students applying for admission must declare their intent to apply to this program between May and September preceding their first year of study at Carleton. We then recommend enrolling in a four-year honours degree program at Carleton. If admitted to UMHS during winter of your third year, you can then switch to a General BSc degree to graduate at the end of three years of study and attend UMHS the following September.

High school requirements:

  • Have an admission average about 80%
  • Enrol in a four-year honours degree program at Carleton University
  • Submit an essay detailing your leadership roles and extracurricular activities during high school, your reasons for choosing to pursue a career in medicine, and reasons why the selection committee should select you for the BSc – MD High School Direct Entry Program
  • Complete a successful interview with a UMHS admission officer

Students must complete the following prerequisite Carleton courses with a minimum GPA of 10.0 with no grade below B-:

  • BIOL 1103
  • BIOL 1104
  • CHEM 1001
  • CHEM 1002
  • CHEM 2203
  • CHEM 2204
  • BIOC 2200
  • PHYS 1007
  • One semester of Math (Calculus or Statistics recommended)
  • Two semesters of English or a related writing intensive course

Students must also:

  • Maintain a minimum CGPA of 10.5 at the end of the summer preceding third year
  • Actively participate in extracurricular activities while attending Carleton
  • Receive a recommendation from the Science Student Success Officer or person in a similar role at Carleton
  • Complete a General BSc degree at Carleton

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