My Answers to some common Premed Questions
Last edited July 31, 2001


I wouldn't worry a great deal about your shaky first year. I think it might be of greater concern if you are applying to American schools, but in Canada, I think you'll find that Canada schools, at least in UBC's case, are a bit more forgiving of a bad first year.

The issue is that whenever a school receives a great number of applications, they tend to use a computer-generated cutoff GPA; if you fall below this GPA, your application gets terminated. American schools tend to receive lots more applications because AMCAS, a central application agency, makes it really easy to apply to 20-30 schools by filling out a single application form.

In Canada, with the exception of the Ontario schools, which use a similar central agency known as OMSAS, you must apply to each school individually. Combine that with the fact that most Canadian schools are heavily prejudiced in selecting applicants in their home province, and you quickly discover that there are relatively fewer applicants per school. Because of that, the admissions committees have more time to look at your application, instead of relying on arbitrary cut-offs.

In particular, UBC really looks at trends in your marks. While having a bad first year doesn't help your GPA, UBC just wants to know that you are capable of handling the medical school workload. Since you are now pulling A- marks, I'd say if you can continue this throughout the rest of your degree, you've more than proven yourself academically to UBC. So, keep up the A- average and you'll be fine.

Also, anyone can write the MCAT. It's not based on your GPA whether you can write it; a high school senior with money for the application fee could write it. It's just whether or not you do well on it that's important. My advice is to read my little article on it, check out some of the links I've posted, many of which have MCAT advice of their own, and then practice, practice, practice!

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