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JOy

No MCAT Required?

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Its simply the choice of the school whether or not they want to include the MCAT in the admissions process. There are a couple others in Ontario (Ottawa and Mac) which also don't require the MCAT.

 

Removing the MCAT requirement can be good and bad. It can be good because it gives you more options, if for example, you don't have a science background, to get into med school. The bad part is that if a school has fewer requirements for admission, the number of applicants to the program goes up. So you could be competing for a limited number of spots against a larger number of applicants.

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Thanks for your reply! ...I don't want to take the MCAT in the future and hope to get into NOSM...but there is always the possibility that I won't be accepted...so would taking the MCAT anyway, regardless if I only want to get into NOSM, be a good idea so that I could apply to other med schools as a back up?

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Well its always good to have a backup plan. I think that if you diversify and apply to many schools, regardless of which is your first choice, the chances of gaining admission somewhere goes up. I'm in the same boat as you and didn't write the MCAT either, so I applied to the schools that don't require it.

So although there are schools that I would prefer to go to over others, I will basically go to any school that I get into. Hope this helps.

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Hi JOy

 

It is my understanding that the MCAT has not been proven to be a valid assessment for Francophone or Aboriginal students. There is also some suggestion that access to MCAT resources (Kaplan/Princeton Review) is not available or highly costly for people from rural, remote or northern urban areas. Since these make up the target applicant populations for NOSM it makes sense that NOSM would not require the MCAT.

 

I would also suggest applying to as many schools as you can. There are lots of deserving students who do not get in every year. The more places you apply the better your chances become of getting in somewhere.

 

Goodluck.

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...are you serious, Souvenir?

 

I agree that part of Northern's reasoning for not requiring the MCATs is the same as the University of Ottawa's and most universities in Quebec. The MCAT is an English test and for schools that consider Francophone applicants, it wouldn't really be fair for them to have to write a test in a language with which they are unfamiliar. However, to suggest that the students applying to Northern don't have access to MCAT resources is a bit of a joke. Where do you think the students applying for that school are completing their required undergrad degree? The middle of Hudson's Bay? You're really running on a stereotype that every student there is from, like, BF Nowhere. Besides, although many people require Kaplan or Princeton Review to tell them how to write an MCAT, the administrators from schools like McMaster or Northern would surely argue that to strive in a self-directed learning environment like those offered at their schools, being able to prepare for a basic science test should be the least of your worries.

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Hi JNovelo,

 

Yup. I am sort of serious. I may have been extrapolating a bit there when talking about resources, but I know for sure that there were concerns by NOSM that the cost of the MCAT test itself might be a burden to people in rural, remote, and northern urban communities. I’m not sure if this is still part of their official stance or not. Clearly the Francophone and Aboriginal reasoning is compelling enough.

 

You may agree or disagree about the other reasoning, but this is what I think.

 

There are MCAT test centres in Sudbury and Thunder Bay, but none seem to offer any type of course to study with. I don’t know about you, but the majority of people I know who wrote the MCAT will tell you they took a course. And I think that is certainly an advantage. In addition to that there are a lot of other places to live in Northern Ontario, many of them several hours away from Sudbury or Thunder Bay. Geographically speaking Northern Ontario makes up something like 90% of the land mass in Ontario.

 

People from Northern Ontario who decide to take a course generally make a sacrifice of sorts (to some) by staying in the community they go to school in for a summer. This in itself is more expensive and means you may not have the same support network had you gone home.

 

Also, it is well known that the biggest predictor of who gets into medical school is socio-economic background. Given that Northern Ontario and rural populations in general tend to have lower socio-economic backgrounds even a small amount of money can make a difference.

 

From personal experience a lot of my bright friends from highschool would not consider medical school simply because of cost. A lot of their parents wouldn’t understand taking a summer off to write the MCAT or taking a 1000$ course for that matter. Really this is just a trend in medicine (application costs, flights to interviews, tuition etc).

 

This may just sound like a lot of whining to you, and maybe it is. But the fact is my parents are very well educated, and would be considered very well off in my community and I applied and got into medical school. My friends who were interested in medicine who didn’t have the same support that I did never applied or even wrote the MCAT.

 

So clearly I’m a bit biased because I grew up in a small Northern Ontario community, and there are a lot of other factors that may apply, but maybe this will give you some perspective as to why people may think the MCAT is a burden to some populations.

 

Souvenir

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With all due respect with Souvenir, I disagree completely. NOSM still requires four years at a university. Minorities have ample opportunity to buy a single study guide to study from for the MCAT during those four years. And for the record, I am one of those minorities, and I am from one of the small towns in Northern Ontario. My performance on the MCAT was better than some who took the course as well, so for me, I think that comments like that are making excuses for people who don't need them.

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you seriously really think mcat places a burden on people?

 

how does it place a burden on francophone and aboriginal people? last time i checked, this was an english speaking country. if you dont want to learn or communicate in english, go to quebec for school.

 

as for the mcat resources, you really think its necessary to take a kaplan course? probably not. also, if you think it cost too much, ask OSAP for money or ... get a job. i know a lot of med and pre-med students who have jobs so they can pay for mcat, omsas, etc.

 

souvenir, you make it sound like people from the north are living in poverty. anyway, rich or poor, i haven't met any one who finished med school without significant debt.

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you seriously really think mcat places a burden on people?

 

how does it place a burden on francophone and aboriginal people? last time i checked, this was an english speaking country. if you dont want to learn or communicate in english, go to quebec for school.

 

as for the mcat resources, you really think its necessary to take a kaplan course? probably not. also, if you think it cost too much, ask OSAP for money or ... get a job. i know a lot of med and pre-med students who have jobs so they can pay for mcat, omsas, etc.

 

souvenir, you make it sound like people from the north are living in poverty. anyway, rich or poor, i haven't met any one who finished med school without significant debt.

 

Oh man, you are so closed minded! First of all, this is NOT an English speaking country!!! Last time I checked French and English were both the official languages. :eek:

The fact that most people that do better on the mcat have taken a course can lead to discrimination against those that cannot afford it. I wish I had 5000$ to waist on a mcat course...

 

and lastly, I don’t this that souvenir meant that people living in the north live in poverty... i think that she meant that NOSM gives an equal chance to everyone regardless of their abilities to do well on one aptitude test. Many other schools do the same too. Also many people that live in rural areas find it a burden to go to a large city to take the mcat course or simply to write the mcat.

 

And I really hope for your sake you don’t get into med school before you learn to accept the diversity of this country!

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AMmd you poor dear. it must be hard not to be able to waste $5k on a mcat course. i guess i never thought about the fact that students from southern ontario drive bmw's to class and have all their tuition and party money paid for by their rich parents. if you really need the 5k i can sell 2 of the rims on my bmw which will be enough to pay for you to take the class.

 

and you really think that taking the course will cause you to get better mcat scores? what if people who took the course study even harder realizing they just invested 5k in the mcat. maybe this causes the better mcat scores.

 

and you say that last time you checked this was not an english speaking country? uhm, yeah actually it is. you only have a right to receive federal government services in french if there is a demand for it. so unles you can show me that mcat testing is a federal government service with demand for french written mcat, you are way off in your reasoning.

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Okay, okay...

 

I didn't mean to start a downward spiral of shoddy message board mudslingin'. With regards to what's been posted recently:

 

1. Souvenir, I think we both agree that the MCAT favours English-speaking writers and that all medical schools considering Francophone students shouldn't use it as an admission standard. That alone is a good justification for not requiring the MCAT.

 

2. I should hope--for the sake of the good people at Kaplan and Princeton Review--that there is a correlation between course-taking and exam score. We can't, however, reach any easy conclusions about causation. I would be inclined to believe that the people who drop $1500 on a course are more serious about writing the test and have more invested in doing well. That certainly doesn't mean that the courses are necessary if you're a motivated, bright individual--exactly the type of person who should be accepted into medical school.

 

3. If Ontarians who live north of Parry Sound are truly as needy as you seem to imply they are, perhaps Northern should also take out the requirement for an undergraduate degree. I mean, you make all these points about how expensive MCATs are to take and how it'll involve traveling to one of the major centres or staying in a university town for the summer and socioeconomic predictors this and that. If the school's already requiring a minimum four year investment in a university degree (which, I'm certain, is far more readily available to people from higher economic classes), would it be that crazy to ask for MCAT scores in order to ensure the best candidates are accepted? Taking the MCAT--heck, the entire process of applying to medical school--is a burden to everyone who travels that road. I don't think any school likes to tax its prospective students needlessly, but I don't think any school would shy away from imposing entrance criteria if they truly believed that it helped them select the best applicants.

 

My problem with your argument, Souvenir, is that it comes across as insulting to the students at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. It suggests that they're all there because they require float planes to go home on weekends. I don't really know, but I would assume that most of them are your typical university-educated smarties with good extracurriculars. You know, the same type of student that gets in to every other medical school in Canada. The reason they didn't need to write the MCATs is the same reason that many schools in Canada and the US don't require it. These are not poor, destitute wannabe doctors huddled around a moose-oil lamp, writing their applications on birch bark scrolls. As The_B said, don't make excuses for people who don't need them.

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how does it place a burden on francophone and aboriginal people? last time i checked, this was an english speaking country. if you dont want to learn or communicate in english, go to quebec for school.

 

(1) just look at the research... the fact that the MCAT disadvantages certain populations is well supported- we can play the ostrich and pretend it isn't true.. or we can accept it for what it is - whether we agree with it or not.

The fact is, Francophones and Aboriginals don't do as well on the MCAT. THIS DOES NOT MEAN IN THE LEAST, THAT THEY DON'T WANT TO LEARN OR COMMUNICATE IN ENGLISH'. It's not only a language issue, it's a cultural one. I might add that there are many other populations that are disadvantaged by the MCAT as well. I don't know what surprises me more: that you actually think that way, or that you owned up to such a racist comment in a public place! I am highly offended. There's a big difference between voicing acceptable personal opinions and posting such degrading (and disturbing) comments ... and I will kindly ask you to please edit it out.

 

 

(2) the last time I checked, this was a bilingual country... and I'll have you know that there are many francophones throughout Canada... and NOT ONLY IN QUEBEC (oh my! Imagine that! :eek: )

 

(3) I am from Northern Ontario- and I was not offended one bit by Souvenir's statements- as they really do touch on some key access issues that are experienced there. It can be hard to understand, unless you've lived in Northern Ontario.

 

(4) One of the MD program 'old-timers' told me personally that the reason Mac doesn't require the MCAT, is that "there is no evidence that ppl who do well on the MCAT, would perform better in the program, or be more suited to practice medicine"

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how does it place a burden on francophone and aboriginal people? last time i checked, this was an english speaking country. if you dont want to learn or communicate in english, go to quebec for school.

 

(1) just look at the research... the fact that the MCAT disadvantages certain populations is well supported- we can play the ostrich and pretend it isn't true.. or we can accept it for what it is - whether we agree with it or not.

The fact is, Francophones and Aboriginals don't do as well on the MCAT. THIS DOES NOT MEAN IN THE LEAST, THAT THEY DON'T WANT TO LEARN OR COMMUNICATE IN ENGLISH'. It's not only a language issue, it's a cultural one. I might add that there are many other populations that are disadvantaged by the MCAT as well. I don't know what surprises me more: that you actually think that way, or that you owned up to such a racist comment in a public place! I am highly offended. There's a big difference between voicing acceptable personal opinions and posting such degrading (and disturbing) comments ... and I will kindly ask you to please edit it out.

 

 

(2) the last time I checked, this was a bilingual country... and I'll have you know that there are many francophones throughout Canada... and NOT ONLY IN QUEBEC (oh my! Imagine that! :eek: )

 

(3) I am from Northern Ontario- and I was not offended one bit by Souvenir's statements- as they really do touch on some key access issues that are experienced there. It can be hard to understand, unless you've lived in Northern Ontario.

 

(4) One of the MD program 'old-timers' told me personally that the reason Mac doesn't require the MCAT, is that "there is no evidence that ppl who do well on the MCAT, would perform better in the program, or be more suited to practice medicine"

 

1) Being an aboriginal, I can say that if any aboriginals think that the MCAT is culturally biased, or is in a language with which they are not comfortable with (which are both very plausible) then how are they going to survive medical school and come out as good doctors? I admit the MCAT stats are true, but I believe personally it's a function of the education available for aboriginals before hand, not their culture....and unfortunately, although a valid, we as aboriginals are given preferencial treatment there anyways, so there are already means of "levelling the playing field" for us. As for the problem of francophones....well of course, it's an english test for an english school, not much more to say there.

 

2) Yes it's bilingual (Canada), however, medical school at Northern isn't.

 

3) I am a Northern as well, and I was a little offended by what Souvenir wrote simply because, as I stated prior, it's making excuses for those who don't need them.

 

4) I have always loved this argument for no MCAT. What people forget though, is that it's function isn't just to determine if you can hack it in Medical School. It is also to standardize results for possible admissions, and give as level of a playing field as possible. Since you will require all of the sections (of the MCAT) in some form or another in your study of medicine, it's reasonable to give everyone the same test to determine who has the best marks.

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I was simply stating that there is evidence that the MCAT is not the best tool to use for certain populations. I also personally beleive that the same issues exist in the whole admissions processes of most medical schools- not just the MCAT portion.

 

It is because they have identified this 'problem' in the admission process, that many medical schools have separate 'committees' or 'groups' to assess Aboriginal or Francophone student admissions - or separate admission streams all together (I feel that in Ontario, NOSM has proven to be one of the most culturally-sensitive - at least for Francophone and Aboriginal applicants- in terms of having a fair assessment process for admissibility to the program).

 

these comittees use criteria that are no less 'strict' in their criteria for inclusiveness.. they just use a different 'lense' that looks at the whole person, not only bits and pieces provided by certain assessment tools.

 

Every person that is selected by these comittees, is as intelligent and capable as someone selected by the 'cookie-cutter system'- yet perhaps these tremendously talented individuals (who will make excellent doctors too) might not have been selected through the 'standard' admission system for complex reasons. I think that many people, who would not have necessarily done well on the MCAT, would do extremely well in medical school and be excellent doctors. its also fair to add, that not everyone fits into the same 'box'...and I think Souvenir was mentioning the overall consensus on the issue of the MCAT in these populations

 

1) I believe personally it's a function of the education available for aboriginals before hand, not their culture....and unfortunately, although a valid, we as aboriginals are given preferencial treatment there anyways, so there are already means of "levelling the playing field" for us. As for the problem of francophones....well of course, it's an english test for an english school, not much more to say there.

 

- I totally agree with you that there are inequalities when it comes to accessing quality education for many aboriginal people. I also think that as a Francophone living and functioning in an anglophone world, that we can do just as well in an english program and then proceed to practice in both languages..

 

2) Yes it's bilingual (Canada), however, medical school at Northern isn't.

 

- perhaps its not bilingual (yet) ... but one of the 'goals' of the school, is to produce more doctors for Northern Ontario- in the hopes to best serve their population (a high percentage of which, are Francophones and Aboriginal people). Hence the recognized need fro special considerations for francophones and aboriginal applicants.

 

4) It is also to standardize results for possible admissions, and give as level of a playing field as possible.

 

- true... but to who's standards ??? THATs the whole controversy here, isn't it?

 

.

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To the last point, about whos standards.....the answer to that is no one. Thats the point of a standardized test, it's objective. When a school gets over 2000 applicants, you can't interview everyone, and I am a believer that it's nice that there is an objective test that all students can receive so that you can make decisions as to who gets an interview. I agree that there are important considerations in who should gain admission, and I am a believer that this is what the sketch and interviews are for.

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I think it's fair to say we can agree to disagree :)

 

when we get right to the bottom of it... our personal views on the matter have no bearing, since NOSM doesn't even require the MCAT at all

 

except you said to me: "I don't know what surprises me more: that you actually think that way, or that you owned up to such a racist comment in a public place! I am highly offended. There's a big difference between voicing acceptable personal opinions and posting such degrading (and disturbing) comments ... and I will kindly ask you to please edit it out."

 

so what's an "acceptable personal opinion"? as long as its acceptable to you, otherwise its racist right?

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except you said to me: "I don't know what surprises me more: that you actually think that way, or that you owned up to such a racist comment in a public place! I am highly offended. There's a big difference between voicing acceptable personal opinions and posting such degrading (and disturbing) comments ... and I will kindly ask you to please edit it out."

 

so what's an "acceptable personal opinion"? as long as its acceptable to you, otherwise its racist right?

 

I completely agree with NurseNathalie, your comments are disgraceful and racist. Like I said previously, you should try to be more open minded and I feel sad for you that you do not embrace the diversity that Canada has to offer.

 

And for an "acceptable personal opinion", one that brings prejudice cannot be called a personal opinion; it is more of an attack on an individual or a group of individuals.

 

Je te souhaite bonne chance dans ton apprentissage du Français! (I hope I'm not offending you by talking to you in French) :eek:

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Thats not fair. He is arguing that you are making assumptions about people in Southern Ontario having an advantage, and you are saying that because he doesn't respect the difficulties of the North, he is a racist? I for one agree with him. Of course Canada is diverse, but how does the MCAT not respect that fact? If anything, I would argue that comments that have been made that are racists are those saying that natives and francophones are disadvantaged. I as a native, who was bilingual (been a while, not sure anymore, my french is probably rusty), who is from a small town on North Superior....well I find it insulting that you think that people like me can't make it. Perhaps I may be facing an uphill battle, but to say that a school shouldn't use a test because people like me likely can't compete with others, THAT's racist....and it's the worst kind, because you don't even realize you are doing it.

 

ANYWAYS... this thread has been hijacked... back to the MCAT, and why it's not used. This argument has been going on for years, and really, both sides have valid points. I have already outlined my arguments for, but I respect the arguments against, and realistically in either case, Northern is no doubt using sufficient screening in order to make sure they train quality physicians.

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Anyone who believes the MCAT or any standardized test is "objective" should probably join those of us who live here in the 21st century.

 

Research shows that (a) the MCAT disproportionately disadvantages linguistic minorities and (B) is NOT a predictor of one's ability to succeed at medical school or medical practice. These are the reasons that some schools - those less locked into traditional ways of doing things - have dropped the requirement.

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I agree that MCAT may discriminate against minorities and there is no correlational between high MCAT scores and becoming a successful doctor

but in my honest opinion, even if it seems unfair, I think that schools that use the MCAT for different purposes, for example weed out the bad. What I mean by weed out is get rid of students who are not really dedicated to medicine. If you truly want to enter the field of medicine then it is up to you to study hard for the MCATs and get good grades. Of course there are other factors but I think all schools do a good job of looking at the other factors through the interview process and through the application process.

 

As silly as it sounds sometimes I feel discriminated against because I live in the city (reverse-discrimination). I feel as though if you are fighting for another group's rights but at the same time disadvantaging another group then it really defeats the purpose

 

I understand the NOSM is trying to provide opportunities to individuals in the northern areas of Ontario and but even though they don't say it explicitly, they want individuals who have spent most of their life in rural communities

 

However, I find it offensive that because of where I grew up I am at a disadvantage from having the opportunity in studying medicine at NOSM. I don't see uoft giving priviledges to people specifically from Toronto.

 

I know someone is going to bash what I'm saying, it's a given and I hear over and over again that you can still get in but the chances are low.

 

What if I'm genuinely interested in rural medicine, why should geography determine whether I am or not? I'm trying to prove this through my volunteer experience, by trying to get involved in various rural groups dedicated to bettering the lives of rural residents, but from what I hear that isn't enough

 

is there evidence that people from the city will not practice rural medicine and the rural residents are more likely to??

 

Overall, I just feel just like the MCAT may disadvantage people who may be francophones or lives in rural communities , NOSM is discriminating against people who live in cities (i'm not trying to say that nobody from the city can get into the NOSM... that is not my point, it's just that it is more difficult...i'd just like to emphasize that)

:)

 

thanks

-wisdom_tooth

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