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tournesol

Learn basic sciences, or only apply to Mac?

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I have a bit of a dilemma that I'd appreciate some help with. I just finished 2nd year as a cultural anthropology major and I have not taken chemistry or physics since grade 10. I took biology all through high school and 1 semester in university. Last year I wrote only the Verbal Reasoning section of the MCAT and scored a 13. I have a 3.97 GPA so far.

 

This year I intend to only apply to McMaster and see how that goes. If I don't get in, this is where my problem is. I realize I should have started learning much much earlier, but would it be possible to start learning chem and physics now and rewrite the MCAT next summer (and do reasonable well)? I'm not a super strong student in physical sciences, probably about average. Would it be worth it to risk my VR score and rewrite? Or should I just commit to Mac and apply over and over?

 

I realize this isn't really a straightforward situation but any insights are appreciated.

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I have a bit of a dilemma that I'd appreciate some help with. I just finished 2nd year as a cultural anthropology major and I have not taken chemistry or physics since grade 10. I took biology all through high school and 1 semester in university. Last year I wrote only the Verbal Reasoning section of the MCAT and scored a 13. I have a 3.97 GPA so far.

 

This year I intend to only apply to McMaster and see how that goes. If I don't get in, this is where my problem is. I realize I should have started learning much much earlier, but would it be possible to start learning chem and physics now and rewrite the MCAT next summer (and do reasonable well)? I'm not a super strong student in physical sciences, probably about average. Would it be worth it to risk my VR score and rewrite? Or should I just commit to Mac and apply over and over?

 

I realize this isn't really a straightforward situation but any insights are appreciated.

 

well that is a very high VR score, and of course an excellent GPA. That puts you in an excellent spot for Mac of course - although it is hard to predict how you will do on the CASPER and MMI (nothing unusual about that it is hard to predict for everyone :) )

 

The advantages to eventually doing a full MCAT are of course all the other schools come online - and that VR score - a skill that likely you could repeat similarly on another test - would have helpful there as well.

 

I am never a put all your eggs in one basket kind of person - there is too much that can go wrong in the med app game - but I do believe in hedging your bets. There is nothing stopping you from preparing for the test using preparation materials outside of taking courses that might impact your GPA and see how you are doing on the many available practise tests. It is quite possible to get that down for next summer if you start soon. You don't actually need mcat scores - other than VR - that are that high. If you got 9/9/9 - your basically average scores - the TO comes online. Slightly highers and then you get Queens, Western, and regardless Ottawa pops up in a year with continued GPA success. You potentially would be in extremely good shape that way - you already have shown the potential to overcome the biggest barriers to interviews for most - GPA and the VR section.

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I would rewrite the MCAT. Use those scores for other schools but save the 13VR for McMaster if you dont score higher.

 

Never bank on just one school. Of you interviewing skills are below average at McMaster, you could be screwed. Where as other schools like UofA where the interview is 25% (as opposed to 70%) you could be fine provided you do well on other areas.

 

Also remember that you'll have some of these chemistry and (less so) physics coming back to haunt you in med. So brushing up on them would be good anyway.

 

Goodluck!! :)

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I have a bit of a dilemma that I'd appreciate some help with. I just finished 2nd year as a cultural anthropology major and I have not taken chemistry or physics since grade 10. I took biology all through high school and 1 semester in university. Last year I wrote only the Verbal Reasoning section of the MCAT and scored a 13. I have a 3.97 GPA so far.

 

This year I intend to only apply to McMaster and see how that goes. If I don't get in, this is where my problem is. I realize I should have started learning much much earlier, but would it be possible to start learning chem and physics now and rewrite the MCAT next summer (and do reasonable well)? I'm not a super strong student in physical sciences, probably about average. Would it be worth it to risk my VR score and rewrite? Or should I just commit to Mac and apply over and over?

 

I realize this isn't really a straightforward situation but any insights are appreciated.

 

Well, here is what you can do.

 

You will need to know the basic sciences anyways to become a good doctor. Might as well learn it

 

But apply first to mcmaster only and during that application cycle you can do all the coursework and rewrite the MCAT if you like so that if you don't get into Mcmaster you can apply again broadly now that you have the required basic science courses etc

 

 

in short,

 

1. apply to mcmaster for the first cycle.

2. during that cycle, study basic sciences for your benefit but also for the mcat

3. if you get in to mcmaster, great! if not, apply again broadly now that you have a re-written mcat and basic science requirements

 

EDIT: you can DEFINITELY learn all the physics/chemistry in 1 year granted you have highschool background.

 

You might need to grab TPR or more comprehensive reviews and maybe do EK 1001 questions in chemistry/physics/organic chemistry to have a strong grasp of it.

 

You can also enroll in 1st year ugrad courses in chem/phys if you're really serious about your interest in physical sciences

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I have a bit of a dilemma that I'd appreciate some help with. I just finished 2nd year as a cultural anthropology major and I have not taken chemistry or physics since grade 10. I took biology all through high school and 1 semester in university. Last year I wrote only the Verbal Reasoning section of the MCAT and scored a 13. I have a 3.97 GPA so far.

 

This year I intend to only apply to McMaster and see how that goes. If I don't get in, this is where my problem is. I realize I should have started learning much much earlier, but would it be possible to start learning chem and physics now and rewrite the MCAT next summer (and do reasonable well)? I'm not a super strong student in physical sciences, probably about average. Would it be worth it to risk my VR score and rewrite? Or should I just commit to Mac and apply over and over?

 

I realize this isn't really a straightforward situation but any insights are appreciated.

 

Tell me Tournesol, Did you write the VR section only and you paid $270 ?

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I would also apply to university of calgary.

 

The only problem applying to Cal is that they have a 10% subjective assessment of academics in which you will be burned if your BS and PS are low. In my opinion, it is absolutely ludicrous that you can go to med school at Mac without EVER taking a science course; in addition, not even having to worry about the BS and PS of the MCAT. I know many arts majors that could beat the **** out of me in VR, due to the nature of their degree. Hypothetically speaking, they could kill the VR (as you have) and get into MAC without ever taken a science course. Even though your GPA is high and can get a high VR does NOT mean you will succeed in medicine. Proper background in courses such as biology, chemistry, orgo, and physiology are essential to learning properly. Not to sound rude, a person with only grade 10 bio, chem, and phys should not be in medical school PERIOD.

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Having a science background helps with understanding some areas of medical school, but not having it isn't a deal breaker. Of all the MCAT sections, the VR score actually is the highest predictor of medical school success.

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Even though your GPA is high and can get a high VR does NOT mean you will succeed in medicine. Proper background in courses such as biology, chemistry, orgo, and physiology are essential to learning properly. Not to sound rude, a person with only grade 10 bio, chem, and phys should not be in medical school PERIOD.

 

Except research has shown that VR is the best predictor of someone succeeding in medicine, hence why McMaster uses only that section.

 

And clearly you don't need to have taken courses in biology, chemistry, physiology, etc. in order to succeed in medical school, or every medical school would require them. The fact that many schools do NOT have those courses as prerequisites indicates that they believe students can, in fact, succeed in medical school, and in medicine, without having that background. Do you think the people who make up these policies are stupid? If they saw that students without a science background were failing miserably, then they would require a science background. From everything I've heard, students without such a background are behind their peers when they start medical school, but the end of first year they are on par with everyone else.

 

See:

http://www.thestar.com/life/further_education/2012/10/04/fine_arts_degrees_open_doors.html

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/growth/when-your-surgeon-has-an-art-school-diploma-on-the-wall/article4247486/

http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2012/05/30/wanted-well-rounded-medical-students/

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Except research has shown that VR is the best predictor of someone succeeding in medicine, hence why McMaster uses only that section.

 

And clearly you don't need to have taken courses in biology, chemistry, physiology, etc. in order to succeed in medical school, or every medical school would require them. The fact that many schools do NOT have those courses as prerequisites indicates that they believe students can, in fact, succeed in medical school, and in medicine, without having that background. Do you think the people who make up this policies are stupid? If they saw that students without a science background were failing miserably, then they would require a science background. From everything I've heard, students without such a background are behind their peers when they start medical school, but the end of first year they are on par with everyone else.

 

See:

http://www.thestar.com/life/further_education/2012/10/04/fine_arts_degrees_open_doors.html

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/growth/when-your-surgeon-has-an-art-school-diploma-on-the-wall/article4247486/

http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2012/05/30/wanted-well-rounded-medical-students/

 

If you take a look at the TOP 5 medical schools in the world according to QS, they are:

1. Harvard-Requires science prerequisites (As do 99% of all other American MD schools)

2. Oxford- For graduate entry requires a degree in one of the following areas: anatomy, biochemistry etc. see full list here: http://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/medicine/accelerated/prospectus/how-to-apply/qualifying-degrees-for-the-graduate-entry-medical-course

NOTE: All are science degrees

3. Cambridge- A levels or IB- Equiv to first year chem, physics, bio etc.

4. Standford- Biology, Chehmsiry, Physics- Full year

5. Yale- Bio chem, orgo, physics

 

The top 5 medical programs in the world require a SCIENCE background one way or another. Medicine is a science based discipline; hence, only logical that you would need a science background before entering. Mac is not the highest ranked school in Canada/world for a reason. Furthermore, please dont argue that Mac is amazing because the created MMI and PBL. These are both amazing things, but have nothing to do with prerequisites to a program.

 

The worlds top trained physicians come from schools with science backgrounds. An arts major who has never taken a science course in their degree should NOT enter medicine. There are always exceptions and some people may be able to scrape by. As to becoming anything more than a fam doc, that is another question.

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Good you not speaking for Canadian adcoms. :) Just b/c you say this, doesn't make it so. ;)

 

The majority of Canadian schools have science Reqs or evaluate science through the BS and PS of the MCAT. Mac is the only one that does not evaluate ANY science. :eek:

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The only problem applying to Cal is that they have a 10% subjective assessment of academics in which you will be burned if your BS and PS are low. In my opinion, it is absolutely ludicrous that you can go to med school at Mac without EVER taking a science course; in addition, not even having to worry about the BS and PS of the MCAT. I know many arts majors that could beat the **** out of me in VR, due to the nature of their degree. Hypothetically speaking, they could kill the VR (as you have) and get into MAC without ever taken a science course. Even though your GPA is high and can get a high VR does NOT mean you will succeed in medicine. Proper background in courses such as biology, chemistry, orgo, and physiology are essential to learning properly. Not to sound rude, a person with only grade 10 bio, chem, and phys should not be in medical school PERIOD.

 

I don't fully understand this one..unless you are saying that "he/she doesn't know if they even like bio?" as..medical school teaches you all you need to know to be a good doc.

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The majority of Canadian schools have science Reqs or evaluate science through the BS and PS of the MCAT. Mac is the only one that does not evaluate ANY science. :eek:

 

The licencing exams are there for a reason, including proof of competency.

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The licencing exams are there for a reason, including proof of competency.

I never said that Mac wasn't producing competent physicians. Any school around the world can train a competent physician (Carib, Ireland etc.). As for producing the BEST OVERALL physicians. People often forget, medicine is not only clinical. I believe that Mac would produce excellent clinical physicians. Then we look to another HUGE side of medicine: research. Research is the backbone of every clinician; without research, medicine would not continue to adapt. New viruses, diseases, pathogens, illnesses are developed every year. Without research, medicine would be stuck in the dark ages and know one would be cured. I can say for a fact that an arts student with no science undergrad background is NOT going to turn into a cutting edge researcher. Research is very specific and is pure SCIENCE. Mac may be producing good clinical physicians, but when looking at the research side of medicine, the no science background does not help.

 

Moreover, I don't know any cutting edge researchers that came from an Arts undergrad having never taken a science course prior to entering medicine. Name One; they dont exist.

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Research is the backbone of every clinician; without research, medicine would not continue to adapt. New viruses, diseases, pathogens, illnesses are developed every year. Without research, medicine would be stuck in the dark ages and know one would be cured. I can say for a fact that an arts student with no science undergrad background is NOT going to turn into a cutting edge researcher.

 

We agree on something. :P

 

I have a science background and have been published since entering med school. However, a researcher I shall not be.

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keep in mind, most of the prerequisites are still based on the Flexner report from ~100 years ago

 

basic science courses don't teach anything about how to be a good researcher.

 

It's research methods courses that teach skills necessary in research. Plus there is a plenty of time for people to develop research skills during medical school (maybe not at mac since they don't get summers off but still), so having a science background doesn't necessarily mean they'll be good at research.

 

that said, having some basic knowledge in basic scientific disciplines is useful when understanding basic medical sciences but it doesn't necessarily correlate with research competencies.

 

 

top medical schools are top medical schools not because of the MDs affiliated with the hospitals but rather due to the PhDs and MD/PhDs who mainly do research.

 

Medicine is primarily a clinical discipline, which is why medical schools teach stuff that are important to practice medicine -- not do research.

 

which is why you do a PhD if you want to do research in the medical sciences.

 

Research is really important for the advancement of medicine but assessing the competency of medical school on research output is not very representative of the quality of education.

 

So your argument if flawed bangbang.

 

Those institutions represent top institutions for medical sciences, not for medicine

 

It is also doubtful if they produce the 'best doctors'. In fact how do we define a great doctor is up for grabs as well (and i guess you being an MD/PhD your definition of a great doctor is a great clinician-scientist who pioneers the most advanced treatment method etc -- some may not agree)

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I wold say both are important, we construct specializations, subspecializations and really the human body is an interactive system, essentially, you have to know everything, especially in more abstract disciplines. I know a lot of details and how they interact downstream 8 steps, the hard part in measuring the utility, is most follow clinical algorithims, and those who don't, are hard to conceptulize in terms of cognitive approach, since abstarct cognition isn't easily fit into groups like behavior (using guideline x is),so unless you know both it's hard to make any assertion without being exploratory, and stating something is true simply because it's common.

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Let me just say that doing research into the social determinants of health, health literacy, and many other similar issues absolutely do NOT require a scientific background! There is plenty of research done in the social sciences and humanities. Scientists don't have an exclusive hold upon research.

 

If there is one thing that has been heavily impressed upon me in my clinical and communication courses is that we can make all the recommendations in the world to our clients/patients, but if they aren't capable of carrying them through, then those recommendations will be useless! So it is important to understand our client/patient as a whole person - and that includes things like their socioeconomic status, their literacy, their health literacy, their culture, etc. The social sciences and humanities teach us how to understand these aspects, and research done in those fields, especially in their impact on health care and health outcomes, helps improve our care.

 

So it is possible to be a great researcher in a health-related field without being a scientist. Some of the most important factors influencing health outcomes have nothing to do with biology or physiology, and far more to do with social factors.

 

(I do have a science background, in both biological engineering and applied human nutrition, however, I know many researchers doing wonderful work with regards to public health, health outcomes and the social determinants of health who are sociologists, psychologists, and other social scientists.)

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Let me just say that doing research into the social determinants of health, health literacy, and many other similar issues absolutely do NOT require a scientific background! There is plenty of research done in the social sciences and humanities. Scientists don't have an exclusive hold upon research.

 

If there is one thing that has been heavily impressed upon me in my clinical and communication courses is that we can make all the recommendations in the world to our clients/patients, but if they aren't capable of carrying them through, then those recommendations will be useless! So it is important to understand our client/patient as a whole person - and that includes things like their socioeconomic status, their literacy, their health literacy, their culture, etc. The social sciences and humanities teach us how to understand these aspects, and research done in those fields, especially in their impact on health care and health outcomes, helps improve our care.

 

So it is possible to be a great researcher in a health-related field without being a scientist. Some of the most important factors influencing health outcomes have nothing to do with biology or physiology, and far more to do with social factors.

 

(I do have a science background, in both biological engineering and applied human nutrition, however, I know many researchers doing wonderful work with regards to public health, health outcomes and the social determinants of health who are sociologists, psychologists, and other social scientists.)

 

I feel like I am being picky with names - which is usually a pretty dumb thing to do - but I would call those social scientists. They are still scientists because they employ the scientific method and scientific research approaches and have over time acquired a deep understanding of the work already done in their field. It is the use of those methods that makes a scientist regardless of the field - and what separates them from the quacks, and we need all the separation we can get :)

 

The work they do - work which I am hoping to contribute to in my career - is incredibly important as you say - very important. Part of my education is in the humanities (economics and psychology) - to me very interesting stuff. If I am really lucky they are going to let me take a year out of my residency to complete a masters of public health - I have my eye of a few schools for that :)

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you rock /3 :)

 

Let me just say that doing research into the social determinants of health, health literacy, and many other similar issues absolutely do NOT require a scientific background! There is plenty of research done in the social sciences and humanities. Scientists don't have an exclusive hold upon research.

 

If there is one thing that has been heavily impressed upon me in my clinical and communication courses is that we can make all the recommendations in the world to our clients/patients, but if they aren't capable of carrying them through, then those recommendations will be useless! So it is important to understand our client/patient as a whole person - and that includes things like their socioeconomic status, their literacy, their health literacy, their culture, etc. The social sciences and humanities teach us how to understand these aspects, and research done in those fields, especially in their impact on health care and health outcomes, helps improve our care.

 

So it is possible to be a great researcher in a health-related field without being a scientist. Some of the most important factors influencing health outcomes have nothing to do with biology or physiology, and far more to do with social factors.

 

(I do have a science background, in both biological engineering and applied human nutrition, however, I know many researchers doing wonderful work with regards to public health, health outcomes and the social determinants of health who are sociologists, psychologists, and other social scientists.)

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