Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums

Recommended Posts

11 minutes ago, TDP said:

Hey guys what do you think?? Both seem very similar in terms of structure. I'm having a hard time deciding which is better.

Full disclosure: I'm on the Western waitlist but I'll try to keep my advice as unbiased as possible.

I applied to both Queens and Western and though I was rejected from Queens it was my top choice for a few reasons.

Queens consistently has the highest carms match rate in the country and tends to do really well in competitive specialties like the surgical specialties. This is usually chalked up to their smaller class size which allows each student to get more clinical exposure and experience. Also it's the only school where the attending physicians are salaried and are not on a fee for service model which makes them more available to focus on your learning experience and be more relaxed and attentive to your needs. The dean invites each student to his house for dinner in batches of 10, which may not seem that important to you but it's their way of saying "look how much personal attention we can give you because of our small class size". They're also really proud of their new medical building and patient examination rooms (where you had your MMI stations if you interviewed in person). I didn't really care much for that but they seem to like to talk about it.

Western is great too. It's an hour closer to Toronto and they have a great athletic centre. There's also a satellite campus in Windsor where you can choose to do some clerkship rotations if you want a change from London. It's a larger class size which may provide a richer social life in year 1 and 2.

Both schools have a lot in common too. Both have lots of hospitals in the city with lots of clinical opportunities. Both have rural areas nearby where you can do rotations and both schools have tons of school spirit. My choice would definitely be Queens but you'll have a great experience at either school.

Best of luck with your decision! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Obviously as a Schulich student I can't speak to the experience at Queen's and I think by and large the consensus is that no matter where you go in Canada you will receive a good medical education. Also I'm London campus so most of this will be from a London perspective, @CHG can give you the Windsor perspective.

Location: The biggest differences will probably be the location. London is a larger city than Kingston with several large hospitals that serve as the tertiary care centre for all of southwest Ontario so you can probably expect more research, specialized care, and amenities to be available in London (e.g. there are no PET scanners at the Kingston General Hospital). On the other hand, in Kingston you are concentrated at one hospital and there are less learners so you can network more easily (but this also applies to students at Windsor campus). Bonus: London has an international airport and Windsor is a super diverse border town.

Class size: Honestly comparable, Queens is ~100, London is ~130, Windsor is ~40. Small and large classes both have their advantages depending on how well you end up getting along with your classmates but I think the culture at both schools will be very similar and welcoming.

Facilities: From my tour at Queens, their building looked nicer than London's which has a more historic building but Windsor also has a nice building. Ultimately a lecture hall is pretty similar no matter where you go, our student lounge is London is really awesome but I'm sure the Queens one is too from what I remember, and their anatomy lab looked nicer but if you're dissecting cadavers I don't think the aesthetic of the room make a huge difference. We do have a fairly new clinical skills building in London though where you may have interviewed in if you weren't in the basement rooms. Queens has a nicer gym than Western but London has a nicer climbing gym than Kingston :).

Curriculum: Again I don't know exactly what their curriculum looks like but at Western we have Tuesdays off which is amazing for doing observerships, volunteering, groceries, chores, schoolwork, etc. At Western I believe our clerkship is all core rotations first and then electives which means you get to practice your skills as a clerk before diving into the specialties that you hope to match to for CaRMS, I think at Queens the electives are mixed in with the core rotations which means maybe you are less burnt out when you get to them but you may not perform as well do to lack of experience (I could be wrong about this, their clerkship may looks like ours). We get placed in a family medicine clinic in our first year where you get to practice talking to real patients, taking vitals, giving immunizations. There is a big emphasis on making you a competent physician and frequent low/no stakes assessments that provide you with feedback in preparation for the final exam.

As a reply to the previous poster above, at Western, some are salaried, some are FFS, some have a capitation model, most are likely a mix. I think the teaching ability of faculty can be hit or miss with some blocks being taught better than others but the school does pair you up with an "academic coach" at the start of the year who you meet with each month and they serve as your mentor over your 4 years and are a great branching off point to network with other physicians.

I'm happy to answer more specific questions, congrats on your offers.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, yobologna said:

Obviously as a Schulich student I can't speak to the experience at Queen's and I think by and large the consensus is that no matter where you go in Canada you will receive a good medical education. Also I'm London campus so most of this will be from a London perspective, @CHG can give you the Windsor perspective.

I think all the key points were hit here and a lot of the culture and curriculum stuff is obviously consistent across campuses. One of the things I've enjoyed the most that I think is somewhat unique to Schulich is all the little 'extras' you get. Like was mentioned above, we get paired up with a fam med doctor and I think a lot of us went into it thinking "this is lame I don't want fam med" and we all came out of it with an amazing experience. Theres nothing like one-on-one time with a physician who isn't super busy and has the time to explain each part of what they're doing and why and give insight into all of the things that can help you connect to your patients, or even just get better at taking histories and doing physicals which is a fantastic thing to have nailed down early. We also have a research component, it can be as big or as small as you'd like but Western makes it super super easy to find somebody to work with. Here in Windsor we got a list of every physician / HCW who was doing research and wanted a med student and it was seriously as easy as sending one email. As I'm sure a lot of premeds can relate to, sending out one thousand emails and never hearing back is super frustrating so this was a nice change LOL. Theres also the academic coach, another great opportunity to build a relationship with a practicing physician and hear about all those clinical pearls that just can't be taught in class. Also a great person to vent to or confide in if you're struggling academically or even just feeling a little academically burnt out. Finally is service learning, where you find an organization in the community to volunteer with. I personally ended up working with two geriatric emergency management nurses in the ER, and the things I have learned about tricks and tips for taking a history from a patient who may be a bad historian, and even just sitting down and really appreciating and empathizing with these patients who are often very scared and confused has been invaluable. While many schools do have some version of these little 'extras' outside of academic learning, I think the way western ties it all together is really fluid and they take the stress and pressure off of it by helping you set everything up so you can really just focus on the experience. Their goal is to make as well rounded physicians and I can definitely see how all of these parts are contributing to that (and I really hope I come out a well rounded physician haha)

The physicians that come to teach and facilitate in Windsor aren't technically Schulich faculty directly - they do get some compensation for coming in but it's really nothing in comparison to the amount they would make by spending those three hours in their clinic or at the hospital. I find that our physicians are always very excited to be there and very excited to teach - many of them are recent Schulich grads so they spend lots of time chatting about school and the experience in general. The connection between Windsor and London is also very strong. We're never made to feel like the 'secondary campus' and admin have gone to great lengths in order to ensuring that our experience has just as many opportunities as London. We're also super tight with our Windsor dean - like he stops in and knows all of our names and jokes around with us all of the time. Western admin really has your back and they're very big on you doing what you need to do to have an educational experience that meets all of your needs and expectations. 

I could probably keep going for days like this haha so as Yobologna said if you have any specific questions or want comparison of a specific aspect just shoot either of us a message and we'll chat :) 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all, this was super helpful! I guess my biggest concern is the new curriculum at Western. I'm sure med school is a huge jump at any school but I've heard Western is notably hard?

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TDP said:

Thank you all, this was super helpful! I guess my biggest concern is the new curriculum at Western. I'm sure med school is a huge jump at any school but I've heard Western is notably hard?

Obviously I have no way of comparing the transition at Western to any other medical school directly but I didn't find it to be any more difficult than I expected (and I'm definitely speaking as a very very average student lol). It definitely took a few weeks to figure out the best way to study, what 'school-life balance' looked like for me, what information to focus on, and how to get all the components of the curriculum up and running but I think that is to be expected.

I think the new curriculum and not knowing what to expect at all made things more difficult. The upper year students have done their best to guide us but they had even less of an idea of what was going on than we did. I don't think it was necessarily the curriculum itself, in fact speaking to upper years makes me feel like this curriculum is actually a little more laid back - less days with hours and hours of lecture, one big exam instead of four separate ones, we kept the block exams throughout the semester but they're all formative so really just a benchmark for you to see where you're at. 

of course this was just my experience of the transition. I think the learning curve for 'how to do medical school' is steep no matter what, but I wouldn't describe Western as outstandingly difficult. It's also important to factor in all of the stuff outside of academics that plays a role in this. I was able to keep in close contact with my undergrad friends and visit often, and actually Western is way closer to my family than my undergraduate school was. I got set up with a gym membership and figured out where I was going to get my hair cut and got a kitten. I know these things sound kind of silly but I think they all played a huge role in easing my transition because I was all set up to just focus on school for a bit, so maybe think a bit about those outside factors that will make things easier for you and take that into account! 

hope that helps :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/15/2020 at 8:50 PM, CHG said:

Obviously I have no way of comparing the transition at Western to any other medical school directly but I didn't find it to be any more difficult than I expected (and I'm definitely speaking as a very very average student lol). It definitely took a few weeks to figure out the best way to study, what 'school-life balance' looked like for me, what information to focus on, and how to get all the components of the curriculum up and running but I think that is to be expected.

I think the new curriculum and not knowing what to expect at all made things more difficult. The upper year students have done their best to guide us but they had even less of an idea of what was going on than we did. I don't think it was necessarily the curriculum itself, in fact speaking to upper years makes me feel like this curriculum is actually a little more laid back - less days with hours and hours of lecture, one big exam instead of four separate ones, we kept the block exams throughout the semester but they're all formative so really just a benchmark for you to see where you're at. 

of course this was just my experience of the transition. I think the learning curve for 'how to do medical school' is steep no matter what, but I wouldn't describe Western as outstandingly difficult. It's also important to factor in all of the stuff outside of academics that plays a role in this. I was able to keep in close contact with my undergrad friends and visit often, and actually Western is way closer to my family than my undergraduate school was. I got set up with a gym membership and figured out where I was going to get my hair cut and got a kitten. I know these things sound kind of silly but I think they all played a huge role in easing my transition because I was all set up to just focus on school for a bit, so maybe think a bit about those outside factors that will make things easier for you and take that into account! 

hope that helps :)

Hey CHG, 

     Your transcript is all pass/fail right? and what's the passing percentage?

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Elle_AW said:

Hey CHG, 

     Your transcript is all pass/fail right? and what's the passing percentage?

Hi! Yes it is all pass/fail. I believe if you fail and then remediate successfully you get a pass with some sort of notation that you remediated but I’m not 100% sure on how that works. Passing percentage is a 70% ! 
 

all of our exams throughout the semester are formative so if you fail or ‘borderline’ (70-75%) you meet with your academic coach and make a learning plan. As long as you pass the final summative exam at the end of each semester you’re good to go! :) 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, CHG said:

Hi! Yes it is all pass/fail. I believe if you fail and then remediate successfully you get a pass with some sort of notation that you remediated but I’m not 100% sure on how that works. Passing percentage is a 70% ! 
 

all of our exams throughout the semester are formative so if you fail or ‘borderline’ (70-75%) you meet with your academic coach and make a learning plan. As long as you pass the final summative exam at the end of each semester you’re good to go! :)

Sorry if it sounds stupid, but I don’t quite know how it works! Is it just like undergrad where you have 4-5 courses and each of them has a final exam at the end of the semester? How many “summative exams” do you have every term? And what percentage of students pass (without much struggle)?

Thanks :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Moonlight2 said:

Sorry if it sounds stupid, but I don’t quite know how it works! Is it just like undergrad where you have 4-5 courses and each of them has a final exam at the end of the semester? How many “summative exams” do you have every term? And what percentage of students pass (without much struggle)?

Thanks :)

Not stupid at all!! I had no idea coming in either. So we technically have ‘Foundations of medicine’ (semester 1) and ‘principles of medicine I’ (semester 2) and then throughout the year is ‘patient centred clinical methods’ and ‘professionalism, career, and wellness’ but really it tends to all blend together. The vast majority of your lectures are foundations/principles, with a little bit of PCW sprinkled in now and then, PCCM is your interviewing/physical exam skills course that you have once a week. Small groups fall mostly under foundations/principles again with a little bit of PCW sprinkled in. 
 

so it’s not like undergrad where you have separate courses that you attend on different days kinda thing. Honestly I tend to just kinda show up when we’re supposed to and don’t worry too much about which course it is exactly if that makes sense LOL. For PCCM you’ll do a ‘mock OSCE’ which you can google for a better explanation but basically you go into stations and have to complete certain physical exams. It’s a little nerve wracking but you’ll pass no problem. The only written exam is for foundations/principles. So you only have one final exam a semester! But it is cumulative over everything you learned for the semester. We just took our final for principles yesterday (yay!) and it was 150 questions long, 3.5 hrs. 
 

I’m honestly not sure how many people fail but keep in mind that they go through all the questions after and do some sort of analysis to figure out if certain questions are ‘unfair’ (I.e. most of the class answered wrong) and they remove those questions so you usually do a lot better than you think you’re going to do. They want everybody to pass!! I would estimate that a handful of students fail each formative exam and maybe around the same or a few less for the summative? But they look at everything on a case by case basis and they do everything they can to support you if you’re struggling - I wouldn’t worry about failing too much. We’ve been told over and over again by the upper years that people don’t really ‘fail out’ of med school. They know we’re all obviously academically capable if we made it this far so they try to work with you to figure out what’s not clicking if you’re struggling. 
 

I had heard some horror stories about how every exam in med school is meant to fail you and it’s stressful and awful but it really isn’t like that at all! Obvi you have to take it seriously and stay on top of the work but as long as you’re putting that effort in you’ll be a-okay!

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, CHG said:

Not stupid at all!! I had no idea coming in either. So we technically have ‘Foundations of medicine’ (semester 1) and ‘principles of medicine I’ (semester 2) and then throughout the year is ‘patient centred clinical methods’ and ‘professionalism, career, and wellness’ but really it tends to all blend together. The vast majority of your lectures are foundations/principles, with a little bit of PCW sprinkled in now and then, PCCM is your interviewing/physical exam skills course that you have once a week. Small groups fall mostly under foundations/principles again with a little bit of PCW sprinkled in. 
 

so it’s not like undergrad where you have separate courses that you attend on different days kinda thing. Honestly I tend to just kinda show up when we’re supposed to and don’t worry too much about which course it is exactly if that makes sense LOL. For PCCM you’ll do a ‘mock OSCE’ which you can google for a better explanation but basically you go into stations and have to complete certain physical exams. It’s a little nerve wracking but you’ll pass no problem. The only written exam is for foundations/principles. So you only have one final exam a semester! But it is cumulative over everything you learned for the semester. We just took our final for principles yesterday (yay!) and it was 150 questions long, 3.5 hrs. 
 

I’m honestly not sure how many people fail but keep in mind that they go through all the questions after and do some sort of analysis to figure out if certain questions are ‘unfair’ (I.e. most of the class answered wrong) and they remove those questions so you usually do a lot better than you think you’re going to do. They want everybody to pass!! I would estimate that a handful of students fail each formative exam and maybe around the same or a few less for the summative? But they look at everything on a case by case basis and they do everything they can to support you if you’re struggling - I wouldn’t worry about failing too much. We’ve been told over and over again by the upper years that people don’t really ‘fail out’ of med school. They know we’re all obviously academically capable if we made it this far so they try to work with you to figure out what’s not clicking if you’re struggling. 
 

I had heard some horror stories about how every exam in med school is meant to fail you and it’s stressful and awful but it really isn’t like that at all! Obvi you have to take it seriously and stay on top of the work but as long as you’re putting that effort in you’ll be a-okay!

This is very reassuring! Thank you for your thorough explanations and I hope you aced your principles final! ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, iwearglasses said:

@CHG Thanks for the info! Could you speak to how in-depth anatomy is at Western? I hear the anatomy labs were open to med students 24/7, is this still the case?

Obviously they're not open at the moment but prior to the world ending they were! In Windsor we just email the anatomy coordinator so she knows we're going in bc we have tap access, and we always have to be with at least one other person. The process might be a bit more formal at London (you may have to formally request access? I'm not sure) but it's definitely available. Most of our anatomy learning that isn't in lab is done through independent learning modules, but there are a couple of anatomy lectures. Honestly I took first year anatomy in my undergrad and it hasn't been anymore challenging than that was. We were supposed to have a bellringer which would've been completed in the lab with the donors but that got cancelled and replaced with a project we did online. I expect they'll go back to having the bellringer in the future! 

All in all my take is that the anatomy isn't overwhelming by any means but we definitely become familiar with everything. Personally I think it's a good balance! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, iwearglasses said:

@CHG Thanks for the info! Could you speak to how in-depth anatomy is at Western? I hear the anatomy labs were open to med students 24/7, is this still the case?

In London we also have 24/7 card access to our anatomy lab, same setup as Windsor. Can't really add on much to what @CHG said. Oftentimes we'd have an anatomy independent learning module online, possibly an lecture in class, and then head to the anatomy lab. In London we have ~6 people to a Cadaver and 1 TA per 12 students and 1 iPad hooked up to a TV per 12 students where you can pull up the lab outline or the radiologists come in and show us CT scans of the anatomy we are dissecting in the cadaver. Groups will take turns seeing prosections with their TA for structures that may be hard to dissect out like the laryngeal muscles. In first semester we only had ~5 labs but in second semester we had them almost every week. I would say the depth is slightly more than what I learned in my introductory anatomy course in 1st year undergrad (can't speak to how MSK will be compared to my undergrad MSK course since we do MSK in 2nd year), but they send out a survey at the start of the year to gauge how much anatomy experience everyone has and put you into groups where everyone has a diverse range of anatomy experience.

You will be working on the same cadavers as the second years so don't be surprised when you show up and there have been things dissected that you don't remember touching. One thing that really irked me was that the school made us buy our own gloves for anatomy which I thought was ridiculous considering the tuition we pay and that they could probably purchase it in bulk for cheaper. You are also given a lab coat to wear so you don't have to buy one or wear your white coat. Also as someone who is not really interested in a surgical specialty I usually let other people dissect before me and you are not expected to do anything in lab other than show up (but everyone in my group is super polite and we try to all give eachother a chance to dissect).

I felt I had a strong anatomy foundation going into med school which I think helped me out a lot but others who didn't were just fine. You will find that everyone is coming from a different background and will have their strength where you struggle. One person may be good at anatomy, another may be good at genetics, and someone else may have a strong background in biochemistry. Ultimately, once you're in, the school wants you to succeed.

Note that since we moved to online learning labs have moved online too so it's a very different experience. There is an online dissector tool which isn't nearly as engaging and that I find is quite difficult to navigate. No one checks if you do these online lab though so at this point I find it easier to watch the anatomy youtube videos they link and skip on going through the lab itself. We have given admin feedback on what we think of the online labs and online curriculum in general so things will likely continue to change in the fall, feel free to DM me if you have any more questions.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...