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OMSAS conversions-selecting a university

Guest notold

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I can't locate the OMSAS forum/thread.


Opinions/experience with the following:


excerpt from Campusaccess






So that’s it. You’re all set. You’ve found the perfect place to spend the next four years of your life. But wait a second! What’s this you hear? Ontario medical schools downgrade the Grade Point Averages (GPA’s) of McGill undergrads who are applying for medical school in Ontario? No way!


Yes way! As recently as the 97/98 school year, the GPA of a graduate from McGill (regardless of what faculty their degree was from) dropped by approximately 0.1 when converted for the OMSAS (Ontario Medical School Application Service) application. If you’re not familiar with how the GPA system works, 0.1 may not seem all that significant, but in some cases it’s enough to keep you out of medical school. The reasoning behind this conversion system is that the highest grade on the McGill grading system is an "A" while at other schools it’s an "A+". Since you need the equivalent of an "A+" to get the 4.0 in the OMSAS conversion, and McGill students cannot get "A+’s", they cannot get a 4.0. What happens instead, is that a McGill "A" becomes a 3.85 and every mark below it (A-, B+, B, B-,….) drops down from there. There’s a whole other system if you get an actual Percentage grade along side your letter grade at McGill, but it doesn’t happen often enough to bother getting into it. Now you might read through this a not believe it, or denounce it as unfair, but these are the facts and there is nothing you can do about it.


Please keep in mind that this is simply an example of less-than-publicized piece of information that could be potentially helpful to students applying to McGill. In fact it’s possible that the regulations surrounding the grading systems at both McGill and OMSAS may have been changed since 1997/98 and thus the content of this example may no longer even be relevant (you can find out by speaking with a McGill student currently applying to medical school in Ontario). The point is, that regardless of whether a tidbit of information like this would affect your decision to go to a particular university or not, our last piece of advice in this University Selection section is to try to find out as many of these dark little secrets as you can about the university you’re applying to – it never hurts. "



Time to check (so far) 2 more Universities which consider an A as the top mark. Brock is one (as posted on their website) and Laurentian. Both consider 80 -100 =A. I do not know if they also give a percentage grade.

According to the OMSAS conversion chart they are listed as a "3" with a 90%-100%=4.00

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McGill students are not being punished for having chosen to go to McGill...


The OMSAS system was designed to try and equalize the marks obtained at various universities into a universally comparable GPA. Without the conversion, how would you compare a 9 from Mac to a 87% from RMC? Whose mark is higher? Who had to work harder?


The important thing is that EVERYBODY gets screwed by the OMSAS system... For example: people that go to schools that are classified as a '3' - if you get an 80% in the course you are a 3.7....but if you get a 79% you are a 3.3. That is a 1% difference in grade (which could be as little as one MCQ on one exam) = a 0.3 difference in GPA.


As for the McGill people - I haven't looked at the conversion to see if they can/cannont get a 4.0....but if what you say about an A (80-100) is correct, they are benefitting over the people from the '3' schools that only get 3.7 for a 84% while someone with an 80% from McGill gets a 3.85. It all equals out in the end...a lot of work went into designing the conversions.


There are no schools that are unfarily victimised by the conversions and no school in Canada will hurt your chances of getting into med. The 2007 class at UWO has people from pretty much every school in Canada, UVic to Mt A to Laurentian.


Good luck!

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Hi aneliz,

Of course I relalize there is no perfect system/conversion and that there must be an overall balance.

the only part that is of specific interest to me is if a school which offers "A" as the highest grade makes it impossible to get a 4.00 in the conversion.


i.e If I am a student and recive 93% in my course in one school that = A+ and a 4.00.

If the spread is 80-100 I only get an A which = 3.7. the same as a person who got 81% would get.


80-100 is a BIG spread. why bother going for a 4.00 if it will never convert into one via OMSAS.


Anyway i have contacted Laurentian/NOMS about it to clarify.


As that is the high end of marks it certainly can have an impact on your ACCGPA as that is where the digits make a difference.:smokin



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That is exactly how you play the OMSAS game...never work your tail off for an 84% vs an 80% when you could be saving a course that is going to drop from an 80% to a 78%... its all about strategy...


The major problem with the OMSAS scale is that it is non-linear...


And, as an aside, it IS possible to get a 4.00 at McGill. Check the conversion scale:




It is always best to obtain information directly from the source and not rely on other websites/anecdotal information.

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Guest TimmyMax



Aneliz is correct- always get it straight from the source rather than relying on others. Back when I was applying, there was a lot of misinformation circulating around from the mouths of a number of people, especially wrt medical school admissions. I remember back in undergrad some clown trying to convince me that you needed at least an 87% average to get into Queen's. I looked into it, found out the cutoffs for myself, applied anyway and was ultimately accepted there (and I didn't have an 87 average, either). So the morale of the story is to always take what you hear with a grain of salt- it may not be completely accurate...


Best of luck!


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Yes..thank you both..that's why i posed the ? here.

I did check Laurentians "Academic Regulations" and they have there A=80-90%.

The OMSAS conversion scale shows them as being a "3" with a % mark. That is why wrote them -to clarify that.


I am not one to take much with less than a cupful of salt:b



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Just to add to the conversation, I actually went to McGill. While it may be true for other schools as well, McGill students are at a slight disadvantage over many other schools. Let me explain.


If you have an "A" with no percentage mark indicated, that gives you a 4.0. However, if you have an "A" and 93% (pretty damn high for a social sciences or humanities class in my opinion) this only equals a 3.9.


Needless to say, many of my McGill 4.0s got downgraded when my marks were converted to the OMSAS scale. It sucked, but I still got in. And I wouldn't have traded the experiences I gained at a kick-ass school like McGill for the extra GPA boost I could have received at another school.


I think the moral of the story is to choose whichever school and program suits your interests, irrespective of their GPA rating. In the grand scheme of things, whether you have a 3.85 or a 3.75 is pretty trivial--as long as you are happy with the 4 years you spent earning that average. :P



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