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Hey everyone! With offers out today and all the confusion surrounding COVID, the Mac lottery etc, I wanted to help dispel misconceptions about Mac's program and provide unbiased answers to anyone's questions. 

Hope this helps. 

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How do you think future schools/doctors/patients will look at the incoming McMaster class being chosen by lottery? 

I used my reasoning as the following: If you were hiring someone for a job, would you take someone who has been vetted based on merit or would you take the random person who you know just got lucky? Do you think a doctor is going to take a resident to save someone's life and trust in the luck of McMaster's draw? If you needed immediate medical attention as a patient, would you want the doctor who a university thoroughly picked or the university who drew names from a hat?

I'm interested to hear how people can counter this because I have a tough time thinking that I would ever pick McMaster over Western for these reasons. 

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8 minutes ago, Peanuts29 said:

How do you think future schools/doctors/patients will look at the incoming McMaster class being chosen by lottery? 

I used my reasoning as the following: If you were hiring someone for a job, would you take someone who has been vetted based on merit or would you take the random person who you know just got lucky? Do you think a doctor is going to take a resident to save someone's life and trust in the luck of McMaster's draw? If you needed immediate medical attention as a patient, would you want the doctor who a university thoroughly picked or the university who drew names from a hat?

I'm interested to hear how people can counter this because I have a tough time thinking that I would ever pick McMaster over Western for these reasons. 

To be honest, I don't think anyone is going to look at this class of Mac grads any differently than other classes. First, most doctors won't even know that some of this class got selected by lottery, especially because they're currently knee-deep in their work because of COVID. Furthermore, they would never know if you were one of the "top 100" or one of the lottery people. Finally, what the physicians you work with in the future care about (for residency matching purposes) are 1. Do they like you and 2. are you good at what you do. The last thing on their minds would be what class you're a part of. 

With all this said, there are other reasons that Mac may not be the best choice for everyone. Do you have a decent idea of what specialty you want to do? Do you enjoy small group learning more than lectures? Would you be okay with little direction from faculty in terms of what to learn? If all of the above are true, Mac would be a good fit. But if not, Western may be more appropriate. 

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4 minutes ago, pureblue said:

Could you comment on Mac's new curriculum if you're a first year/know about it? I hear that it significantly increases the amount of class time during the week, and is generally not well received.

This is true. McMaster made all lectures mandatory with attendance codes and audits. The days of having "self-directed" learning to experience clinical days are not nearly what it used to be. Now you have to attend lectures that are completely useless which is why almost everyone skipped them in the past years. 

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8 minutes ago, pureblue said:

Could you comment on Mac's new curriculum if you're a first year/know about it? I hear that it significantly increases the amount of class time during the week, and is generally not well received.

The new curriculum actually has less class than previous ones. The challenge is that these classes are mandatory. Quite often, the lectures aren't necessarily the most informative or relevant, but we are still required to attend the entire thing. Sometimes this makes it difficult to find enough time to prepare for our small group learning and shadowing. Overall, I'd say the new curriculum is flawed in many respects, however admin is taking our feedback and making some decent adjustments. 

Also wanted to add - since they decreased the amount of lectures, they encourage us to watch last years archived lectures, but its quite difficult to find the time. 

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6 minutes ago, metahypothesis said:

To be honest, I don't think anyone is going to look at this class of Mac grads any differently than other classes. First, most doctors won't even know that some of this class got selected by lottery, especially because they're currently knee-deep in their work because of COVID. Furthermore, they would never know if you were one of the "top 100" or one of the lottery people. Finally, what the physicians you work with in the future care about (for residency matching purposes) are 1. Do they like you and 2. are you good at what you do. The last thing on their minds would be what class you're a part of. 

With all this said, there are other reasons that Mac may not be the best choice for everyone. Do you have a decent idea of what specialty you want to do? Do you enjoy small group learning more than lectures? Would you be okay with little direction from faculty in terms of what to learn? If all of the above are true, Mac would be a good fit. But if not, Western may be more appropriate. 

Thanks for the response. I don't expect doctors to know the ins and outs of the admissions process of McMaster but when headlines on CBC are saying "McMaster Picks Medical Students Through Lottery", I don't think that is very forgetful. In fact, I think it is very memorable considering how radical of a decision it is.

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3 minutes ago, pureblue said:

How many hours do you spend per day in lecture, and are there any days off? And could you share some of these curriculum flaws? Sorry for all the questions haha, and thank you in advance :) 

No problem. Always happy to help. I assume you got an offer? Congrats! 

And here's the average week: 

Monday - 3 hour tutorial (about once a month you also have a 2.5 hour lecture on monday) 

Tuesday - 3 hours professional competencies session 

Wednesday - Optional anatomy (Most people don't go. About 1/5 Wednesday's you will have a clinical skills practice session with a prof. They are the most valuable aspect of Mac's curriculum in my opinion) 

Thursday - 3 hour tutorial 

Friday - Usually off. About 1/4 weeks you will have a lecture on friday 

Note: You'll also have a 3 hour clinical skills session with a resident, once a week in the evening. The specific day will change every week, depending on the resident's schedule. 

flaws in my opinion: 

- The professionalism curriculum isn't delivered too well. It's generally not the most productive conversation. The topics are very importance, but there's not enough guidance to discuss the topics productively. 

- You aren't really given any resources to study from. There are "suggested resources" but theres so many of them and they tend to be unreasonably long textbook chapters 

- The lectures that we have are not the best learning experience. They are more opportunities to test knowledge than teaching sessions. 

- We don't have personal days. Our LOA policy is pretty strict

 

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8 minutes ago, Peanuts29 said:

Thanks for the response. I don't expect doctors to know the ins and outs of the admissions process of McMaster but when headlines on CBC are saying "McMaster Picks Medical Students Through Lottery", I don't think that is very forgetful. In fact, I think it is very memorable considering how radical of a decision it is.

It's definitely upsetting. But remember that the big news now will be forgotten soon. If it's something you really can't get over though, I understand. 

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26 minutes ago, Peanuts29 said:

How do you think future schools/doctors/patients will look at the incoming McMaster class being chosen by lottery? 

I used my reasoning as the following: If you were hiring someone for a job, would you take someone who has been vetted based on merit or would you take the random person who you know just got lucky? Do you think a doctor is going to take a resident to save someone's life and trust in the luck of McMaster's draw? If you needed immediate medical attention as a patient, would you want the doctor who a university thoroughly picked or the university who drew names from a hat?

I'm interested to hear how people can counter this because I have a tough time thinking that I would ever pick McMaster over Western for these reasons. 

The idea that future evaluators / physicians / CaRMS will look down upon or discriminate McMaster 2023 students because of the lottery is absurd and totally ridiculous and shows how neurotic this forum can be.

 

You do realize that the top 550 to begin with are perfectly qualified to be physicians and have the merits to enter medical schools? 
 

While I disagree with the method they used to offer 300ish/550 of the applicants, this does not retract from the quality of the students nor how they will be as physicians. Most of those 550 students will likely become physicians regardless. I highly doubt selecting based on MMI would’ve changed physician quality or future prospects much at all.

 

The admission process in every school to begin with is, in reality, a lottery with a formula that favours those who were lucky to be in the right academic and social environments. 

 

Please stop spreading this idea that evaluators will discriminate against perfectly qualified students 3 years down the line based on changes in admission during a fucking pandemic. They will not care whatsoever.

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1 minute ago, Furosemide said:

Could you comment more on what learning anatomy is like at the Hamilton campus? I have heard that they don't use cadavers and I am curious to know how you found this.

It's very flawed. It's basically a Q&A. If you don't go into anatomy knowing exactly what you want to learn, you probably won't learn much. With this said, COVID resulted in our anatomy curriculum moving online - and with this, our anatomy profs developed online modules that are unbelievably useful. If anatomy for hamilton campus stays this way, it will be a huge asset to my class and to incoming classes. 

I should also add - I personally feel that the anatomy profs are the best part of Mac medicine. They are incredibly knowledgeable, kind, and helpful. They will make an appointment to help you out any time, and your learning is their number one priority. Mac is VERY lucky to have them. 

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Hello! Thank you so much for doing this :)

How do students at McMaster go about deciding on a specialty? I have heard that people need to figure this out earlier on because of the 3-year program... What are some good resources to learn more about the different specialties early on? 

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Could you comment on your school-life balance? Do you feel like you're able to have a good social life?

Could you also talk about the horizontal electives? Your thoughts and experience so far with them?

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2 minutes ago, penguin1234 said:

Hello! Thank you so much for doing this :)

How do students at McMaster go about deciding on a specialty? I have heard that people need to figure this out earlier on because of the 3-year program... What are some good resources to learn more about the different specialties early on? 

Horizontal electives are great for career exploration. When you do them, make sure you come prepared with questions for the physicians. Ask them everything you'd want to know about the specialty, not just the clinical component. Ask them how many of them pursue a subspecialty, what an average day looks like, how they see the scope of practice for the profession changing for the future, how they think the job market will look like in 10 years, whether they like their job, whether they would do it again. You'd be surprised by their honesty.

 

Here are two resources that I really liked while exploring different careers:

https://www.cma.ca/canadian-specialty-profiles

https://residentdoctors.ca/resources/resident-profiles/

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53 minutes ago, premed647 said:

Horizontal electives are great for career exploration. When you do them, make sure you come prepared with questions for the physicians. Ask them everything you'd want to know about the specialty, not just the clinical component. Ask them how many of them pursue a subspecialty, what an average day looks like, how they see the scope of practice for the profession changing for the future, how they think the job market will look like in 10 years, whether they like their job, whether they would do it again. You'd be surprised by their honesty.

 

Here are two resources that I really liked while exploring different careers:

https://www.cma.ca/canadian-specialty-profiles

https://residentdoctors.ca/resources/resident-profiles/

These are good resources I can vouche for them! I don't think they replace in person to decide because it is hard to know what you want before you see it, but I would look at these resources ASAP. Since you don't have summers and you will be online for a significant part of your first year, these will be your primary source for a good portion. Don't wait until you start in person because by then it i will be too late since you already have to have things narrowed down by about Feb/Mar of 2021. 

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1 hour ago, takasugi said:

Could you comment on your school-life balance? Do you feel like you're able to have a good social life?

Could you also talk about the horizontal electives? Your thoughts and experience so far with them?

Lots of free time in preclerkship for yourself to fill with horizontal electives, research, volunteering (no it doesnt stop just cause you got into med school), and of course chilling. Clerkship is busy and depends on your block and site (Surgery is busier than Psychiatry). 40 hours per week min like a full time job but also with studying but this is the case everywhere. The kicker is the lack of a summer break

Horizontal electives are one day experiences and you get out of it what you put into to it. Many do them longitudinally with a Department and gain their trust and start doing more and more. You really prepare yourself for clerkship and most importantly choose a specialty this way. Unfortunately it wont be possible for awhile forc2023 due to COVID-19 and c2021 and 2022 receiving priority for return to clinical activity w clerkship and Post MF4 respectively

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3 hours ago, inkbat said:

what is the social atmosphere like at mac?

Honestly one of my favourite parts of being here (c2022). I was nervous commuting, and that I would find it tough meeting people. It was so wrong. I think within the first month I knew 80% of the class, and I can confidently say now I probably know the name and face of 95% of my classmates. There are tons of social events run through the school (and unofficial ones  - happy to DM if you want more details lol). Having 0 stress assessments means you can always go out an celebrate a friend's birthday, or just for fun (there was probably a stretch of 5-6 weekends I was not home lol).

Having this sort of social experience is probably not going to exist anywhere come September, but once things start opening up more (social distancing even more relaxed) I think it is very possible given that the schedule is flexible, tests are not that hard (or often) and the people are unbelievably friendly. 

Even within tutorials and pro-comp you get pretty close with your groups. With different MF groups I have done dinners, wine nights, a tutor invited all his students past and present to their house for a Christmas potluck. It is a very close envioronment, that is always changing and meeting new people every MF (which can be good and bad lol). 

I've made some of my best friends here at Mac who are all super close. If you're the type of person that likes to meet people (or not) this school has an amazing social environment. 


 

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17 minutes ago, Jon Snow said:

Honestly one of my favourite parts of being here (c2022). I was nervous commuting, and that I would find it tough meeting people. It was so wrong. I think within the first month I knew 80% of the class, and I can confidently say now I probably know the name and face of 95% of my classmates. There are tons of social events run through the school (and unofficial ones  - happy to DM if you want more details lol). Having 0 stress assessments means you can always go out an celebrate a friend's birthday, or just for fun (there was probably a stretch of 5-6 weekends I was not home lol).

Having this sort of social experience is probably not going to exist anywhere come September, but once things start opening up more (social distancing even more relaxed) I think it is very possible given that the schedule is flexible, tests are not that hard (or often) and the people are unbelievably friendly. 

Even within tutorials and pro-comp you get pretty close with your groups. With different MF groups I have done dinners, wine nights, a tutor invited all his students past and present to their house for a Christmas potluck. It is a very close envioronment, that is always changing and meeting new people every MF (which can be good and bad lol). 

I've made some of my best friends here at Mac who are all super close. If you're the type of person that likes to meet people (or not) this school has an amazing social environment. 


 

this is so nice to hear! thanks so much :)

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2 hours ago, Jon Snow said:

Honestly one of my favourite parts of being here (c2022). I was nervous commuting, and that I would find it tough meeting people. It was so wrong. I think within the first month I knew 80% of the class, and I can confidently say now I probably know the name and face of 95% of my classmates. There are tons of social events run through the school (and unofficial ones  - happy to DM if you want more details lol). Having 0 stress assessments means you can always go out an celebrate a friend's birthday, or just for fun (there was probably a stretch of 5-6 weekends I was not home lol).

Having this sort of social experience is probably not going to exist anywhere come September, but once things start opening up more (social distancing even more relaxed) I think it is very possible given that the schedule is flexible, tests are not that hard (or often) and the people are unbelievably friendly. 

Even within tutorials and pro-comp you get pretty close with your groups. With different MF groups I have done dinners, wine nights, a tutor invited all his students past and present to their house for a Christmas potluck. It is a very close envioronment, that is always changing and meeting new people every MF (which can be good and bad lol). 

I've made some of my best friends here at Mac who are all super close. If you're the type of person that likes to meet people (or not) this school has an amazing social environment. 


 

Would there be time for orientation later on given the fast paceness of the program without any breaks to move orientation later? I heard it gets much harder the later it goes. 

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17 hours ago, Peanuts29 said:

Would there be time for orientation later on given the fast paceness of the program without any breaks to move orientation later? I heard it gets much harder the later it goes. 

It's hard to predict exactly what will happen. I imagine they'll keep orientation early for you guys so that you can get to know each other, but events will be held online (ex: online coffeehouses). Since c2022 isn't even returning till October, it's pretty much certain that you guys won't either. 

In terms of the program getting harder as it goes, I'd say preclerkship has been more than manageable throughout. Especially during COVID, i might work 2 hours a day aside from classes and still feel like I'm really learning well. The first few months (MF1) is definitely a bit easier than the rest, but it's all really manageable. 

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2 minutes ago, metahypothesis said:

It's hard to predict exactly what will happen. I imagine they'll keep orientation early for you guys so that you can get to know each other, but events will be held online (ex: online coffeehouses). Since c2022 isn't even returning till October, it's pretty much certain that you guys won't either. 

In terms of the program getting harder as it goes, I'd say preclerkship has been more than manageable throughout. Especially during COVID, i might work 2 hours a day aside from classes and still feel like I'm really learning well. The first few months (MF1) is definitely a bit easier than the rest, but it's all really manageable. 

I feel for the c2023 students since they'll be missing out on the in-person orientation which was not only a memorable experience but also helped me manage my first year at Mac. I definitely would have struggled more than usual had I not been able to confide in my peers and go through the uncertainties of adjusting to med school together. This is especially problematic given the faster pace in McMaster's curriculum so that initial time to get to know your peers is quite important. Online events are a good attempt, but it pales in comparison to the getaways/trips that we've traditionally had.

I'd also caution against comparing workloads of previous years with the upcoming school year. Students will likely need to make up for their lack of exposure in a clinical setting which will hamper their ability to make informed decisions about their specialty and this will likely lead to larger workloads down the line too (especially in competitive fields). 

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