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  1. just wondering if anyone else has any ideas as far as blanking for McMaster CARS write vs. writing all sections (as you do have more than a zero chance with it all being multiple choice...) ? If you write all sections, before being fully prepared for all sections, and get low in sections other than CARS, does this look bad to other schools if you do a full rewrite and do well in all sections later?
  2. @ToughBold Same boat here! I'm writing the MCAT before the app deadline just for CARS for McMaster (and also applying to NOSM)... mature student/non trad, full time work in healthcare, can't jam all the self-study in this round but hopeful to prepare and write the full length next year for the next round if this app cycle is unsuccessful! I got the Princeton Review CARS book, and do the daily JW passages, AAMC CARS Q packs as well as Khan Academy CARS. From the tons of research I've done, it's all practice practice practice. I have a decent reading comprehension level but have also bought a subscription to the Economist to keep working out my brain lol! Wish you the best of luck.
  3. Yeah there is a powerpoint on the mcmaster application page now that says that the additional interviews are being added for those who applied this past cycle, were invited to interview, and then were not accepted after their "new algorithm" for accepting people without holding the interviews due to COVID-19. So original 550, if there were 100 people this past cycle invited to interview and then not accepted, goes to 650. And then says that they are unsure if in-person interviews will be possible next cycle, but if not they are going to hold interviews virtually.
  4. I think your best bet so that you have a reliable answer directly from the source might be to contact med admissions at UBC, see if you can get some legit answers there so you know exactly what your options are and then you can formulate an appropriate plan of attack per se. UBC also does an AGPA dropping some of your "worst credits" as long as the remaining credits suffice for required # of credits in applying (don't remember the number, check the website). Off the record from what I know UBC evaluates applications very holistically (fellow BC'er here!), and if you take the time to ace the MCAT, and get your average up to their min (at least), you have a chance academically. I've seen many success posts from people with 75-80% averages from years prior that self studied and aced the MCAT and gained admission (obviously having the rest of the package in ECs as well). But UBC will be able to provide more information on the available accommodations for you etc. Good luck!
  5. First off, thank you for sharing your story. I can imagine it wasn't easy for you so I commend you on that. Secondly, I don't agree with the posts about not going for your dream. Although I do agree that your mental illness needs to be very well managed before you would be equipped to take on another degree and/or medical school entirely. That being said, there are a lot of doctors with mental and/or physical conditions that are successful practitioners, so I wouldn't sell yourself short on that. But I would definitely evaluate your current state, and deduce if your schizophrenia is well managed on PO (oral) medication or long acting depots. If it is not, I would advise to discuss with your physician so that you can find a medication regime that will best manage your psychosis and hopefully prevent frequency and/or duration of future relapses. After looking at this area, you also need to give a TON of consideration to self-care/stress management. What do you do to manage your stress? Unfortunately a lot of people with mental illness turn to ETOH (alcohol) or substances to mask the internal pain they experience from mental struggles. Many are smokers. Nicotine causes you to not metabolize/absorb your antipsychotic medication as well as a non-smoker would, thus leading you to require higher doses. Thus, at "textbook therapeutic doses", your medication may not be as effective as it could be and you might need a higher dose. If you quit smoking, the dose would need to be strategically titrated down (by your doctor of course) in order to prevent negative extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) such as dystonic reactions, tardive dyskinesia, parkonsonism, akinesia, akathisia, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome(<-- life threatening, needs acute medical intervention). You need to develop a self-care plan that positively influences your mental state, and keeps you at your baseline wellness (your most normal/most sustainable/highest level of functioning) more often than not. This looks different for everyone. (i.e. for example mine is, 30 minute work out in the morning, 5 min meditation at lunch and after work, sometimes yoga in the evening if I'm up to it, playing guitar/Dj'ing, and journaling shit so I can then tear it up and throw it out and feel oh so great haha). You also need to make sure you're fueling your body with adequate nutrition/hydration as anything causing stress on your body may cause you to relapse or decrease in functioning. Some of this may seem childish but it 100% helps and I've seen a HUGE change in my ability to manage stress from implementing these daily self-care activities. Like an above poster said I don't know if you need to take some time off of school and/or work or whatever in order to really focus on achieving these things, but it's paramount that you do this before attempting to further your education etc. as you want to set yourself up for success however you can. After finding your self-care regime, you can then look at your baseline level of functioning, and be really honest with yourself whether you would be able to continue your self-care while managing education and then a career in medicine. I will not say it's impossible, but I will say it is an uphill battle you need to be greatly prepared for. I wish you the best on your journey, and if you ever want further impartial support/guidance or help developing a self care plan feel free to shoot me a message, I've been a registered psychiatric/mental health nurse for over 7 years so I may provide some insight, but I also urge you to first and foremost keep a close connection with your treatment team in order to manage your symptoms and promote the best version of you that is very much in there just like everyone else. They will also be critical in supporting you through a med school journey should that be where your story takes you, so it's important to cultivate those connections early.
  6. Yes thanks so much for the info, I have done extensive research on all the requirements for every Canadian school and have a rank list of what order I'm going to be applying in You're on the money though, NOSM is first next application cycle!
  7. hey @colta you definitely have the right attitude and that's 99% of the battle to be honest. I am 30 and have a low GPA from many things happening in undergrad and basically just not knowing how to adult after growing up in foster care. I have worked as a nurse for over 6 years, and am now working in remote and Northern areas of Canada in hopes of increasing my points in that realm, and am self-teaching myself everything to write the MCAT hopefully within the next 2-3 years while working full time shift work at hospitals, volunteering, and trying to maintain a happy life with my partner and our 3 fur babies. I know I have an uphill climb with my low GPA especially, but I'm hoping with all my ECs and health care experience that if I knock the MCAT out of the park I'll have some options ... (hoping for UBC as I'm from BC). If all of that doesn't seem to be working, I'll take some more courses to try to bring up my GPA over time and hope for an acceptance before I completely run out of pennies haha! Best of luck to you on your journey, and the thing is... if you say you can't do it, you're right. But if you say you can do it, you're also right. I don't have kids yet so not trying to pretend I'm in the same situation, just your post resonated with my journey and I'm always here to chat and vent because it's a long and very emotionally fueled process! But I know for me, it will be 100% worth it when I get that acceptance letter. Side note, be sure to find some things that keep your head on a bit straighter when everything seems to be falling apart at the seams so you don't trick yourself into quitting... for me it's thinking back to seeing a 40 year old accepted at UBC and thinking to myself "okay great, I have 10 years to get this done" hahahahaha.
  8. I believe they are referring to the Autobiographical Sketch, a list of all of your accomplishments in various categories that most medical schools require on application.
  9. Thanks @ArchEnemy for taking the time to respond, you just resolved a ton of stress and uncertainty for me!
  10. Hey there, Looking for some insight as in the studying for MCAT stage and planning for what to do after acceptance in regards to LOC. The main problem for me I am seeing is that everything I read for LOCs for medical school say that you need a cosignor. So, I am wondering: 1. has anyone gotten approved WITHOUT a cosignor?? (i.e. I am a mature adult, have a lengthy full time working history in health care (decent $), and a decent credit score/history). 2. If necessary, does a spouse qualify as a cosignor? (if they meet all the credit score needs etc. etc.), or is a spouse not eligible to cosign because they would automatically be liable for the loan should someone forfeit paying or the like? Any guidance is extremely appreciated, I am a person who grew up in foster care who literally has nobody to cosign except POSSIBLY spouse if that is at all an option. Cheers!
  11. Hey there, I'm currently in the same boat I'm a registered psychiatric nurse and beginning self-study to write the MCAT hopefully in 2021, thanks for this guidance and any further insight into best prep materials for those with a non-science background is appreciated. Current plan is to crash through Khan science subjects, supplement with crash course videos and course textbooks that I already have for the sciences. Then I'll study with Kaplan MCAT books, etc (have done a lot of forum reading as far as advice on what to use but worrying more about fine-tuning that plan when I get there, need to smash through the courses first). OP, let me know how things are going if you ever see this!! and @Pakoon congrats on the 512!
  12. @Isra The short answer to your inquiry would be: if you don't try, you don't have a chance. Yes there are specifications for each school as far as how they weigh things to weed out some applicants etc. but med schools nowadays are looking for very rounded applicants (which would not be going out on a limb to say that you are with your experience). You literally are not going to know if you'd be offered an interview, until you take the steps in applying for that opportunity. I think it was ye olde Wayne Gretzky that said "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Best of luck and health to you, and happy to hear of your remission.
  13. Newbie here, just wondering if anyone has done the MCAT recently for just the CARS? Can you literally write ONLY the CARS section? Or do you have to BS your way through the rest if you haven't done the other pre-reqs yet? Any insight would be lovely. Thanks!
  14. I am extremely happy to see people with expertise and experience finally responding to this, I was not having a nice time reading the beginning of this thread. I can say I agree with everything that bpMed has said and I'm grateful for you sharing your story and insight for the OP. I am currently completing my sciences one at a time while working full time (mental health nurse), and applying to med school in the next couple years. I suffer with depression, anxiety, and PTSD from multiple traumas. I will tell you that it will NOT be an easy road ahead, but clearly this is not news to you with what you've already been through. And the fact that you have survived until this point without knowing the 'why' in how you were feeling speaks volumes to your strength out the gate. What a terrifying time you must have had. I am very proud of what you've overcome to be here with us today. It's more difficult to deal with a struggle if we literally don't know why it's happening... know what I mean? (the too well-known "I am anxious because I don't know why I'm anxious" cycle for me). I will also tell you that whatever you decide to do, you CAN do it. The suggestions are right in making sure to take the time to figure out a self-care routine that keeps you at your most well, having support of your medical team and family/friends, and being open about your struggles early on and proactive with management. The FM idea, in the past I had decided that when I get in, this is the residency I would aim for as it was the shortest. With intensive work on myself and doing CBT, I now know that as long as I continue my management practices, I could be a surgeon if that's what I decide. It all comes down to how we prepare ourselves to succeed, and that requires being vulnerable in admitting what we need. Whether that is some time off for medical reasons, or not, is evidently your call. I learned this the hard way and had to take a year off of work some time ago, in order to figure out how to take care of myself. Choosing FM is totally fine, but not if you make the decision in the spirit of limiting yourself. You need to be very honest with yourself because if you make this decision for the wrong reason, you may not feel fulfilled later on which would also feel terrible. There are MANY successful people in high-stress careers that suffer with mental illness, the only time they aren't successful is by not taking the steps to manage it as needed, and it looks like you are already doing this in seeking advice. Wish you the best of luck!
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