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Mac Post Interview Discussion 2016


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Hi guys!

 

I'm one of those people that needs to talk about things after they've happened, so please humour me. Lol!

 

We've all signed confidentiality agreements, so no sharing of specifics, but I'm curious to hear from everyone surrounding their thoughts on the interview, the campus and Mac in general!

 

I'll start!

 

This was my first visit to Mac and Hamilton in general. I thought the upper year students were great and did an awesome job selling the school. The interview itself was what I expected. Some of the stations presented questions that were a little more complex than I expected, and I was disappointed with my performance in one, but overall I feel ok about my performance.

 

I was surprised to learn such great things about the regional campuses, especially Niagara... I had assumed that Hamilton would be my obvious first choice, but I definitely need to do more research and potentially visit the other cities. It seemed to me that the Hamilton group is less close-knit than the groups at the regional campuses and I like the idea of having a small group for social support.

 

Anyone else?

 

 

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[Record scratch]

 

:) It is refreshing to see someone sharing a contrarian opinion, though.

 

I enjoyed my experience there. The upper year students were very helpful and the interview wasn't too bad. Probably could have done a bit better on at least a couple of stations but definitely better than my previous MMI at another school.

 

Regional campuses are not an option for me as distance is a factor, what with the family and all. I do feel that if that wasn't a factor, I would probably choose the Niagara campus.

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I had a very positive experience at McMaster. The students were extremely welcoming and comforting. The MMI questions were very interesting and varied in topics. Overall, the questions were easy/moderate in difficulty (but we shall see about that come May 10th, haha). My rest stations ended up being two very great conversations about my hobbies and Mac's PBL curriculum. 

 

Quite happy with McMaster.

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What I understood from their presentation is that they don't do dissections. Someone with an anatomy degree does it and you just look. Additionally there were comments from students at every campus that implied that you might not get to see a cadaver for each lesson at the Hamilton campus because there aren't enough to go around? But that at the smaller campuses each group gets one and you see it every lesson. It seemed odd to me

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What I understood from their presentation is that they don't do dissections. Someone with an anatomy degree does it and you just look. Additionally there were comments from students at every campus that implied that you might not get to see a cadaver for each lesson at the Hamilton campus because there aren't enough to go around? But that at the smaller campuses each group gets one and you see it every lesson. It seemed odd to me

There are multiple prosected cadavers in the anatomy lab, plus many standalone specimens which are available at any time. I don't personally attend the anatomy sessions, but I know they are there and available for student perusal with an anatomist.

 

While a cadaver dissection is not a standard part of the curriculum for us, there is a dissection course offered as an elective.

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I definitely found it hard to judge how I was doing on the MMI. I felt better in some stations than others, but whether that correlates with how I'll be marked I have no clue. I have to say I liked the tenor of questions a lot more a McMaster than at Queens -- I care more about the issues raised in the Mac MMI than those raised in the Queens MMI, on the whole, and their selection suggests to me that the focus of the school aligns more with my own. The choice of question subjects plus the fact that they had a student present specifically about health advocacy, and the one faculty member to speak had a really exciting (to me) list of experiences in rural and equity-driven medical practice combined to reinforce my opinion that Mac would be first on my list of schools.

 

The students definitely seemed less cohesive as a community than Queens and Western -- but then again the things that bring those students together aren't my primary interests, so I'm not sure how much that matters to me. I'm going to have to seek out folks with interests similar to mine regardless of what schools I go to, should I be lucky enough to get the chance -- !

 

Also I'm really excited about the PBL approach. I like how patient-centric it is, and that it teaches the skills you ultimately need as a clinician: the ability to go from a history to a literature review, explanation and treatment plan. I like that it gives you flexibility in how you allocate your time. I also am turned off by lots of hours of lectures because I find them a really inefficient way to learn, personally. I'm always surprised how many people seem to prefer that style; but power to you! That's why there's a mixture of approaches out there :)

 

Best of luck to everyone who interviewed!!

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With U of T switching to a PBL style and Ottawa already using that style for several years though, does Mac still offer anything unique about their curriculum? I'm curious because I always see people talking about how PBL is the reason Mac stands out, but it doesn't seem like the case anymore. 

 

I also agree with how the students were friendly but didn't seem as cohesive as a community. I really liked the MMI questions Mac had but the school as a whole just didn't have a lot of what I was looking for. The 3 year program, the possibility of doing your preferred core electives after CARMS, the lack of adequate anatomy resources at Hamilton campus, etc. all just seem like disadvantages to me. I thought I'd be excited by the school like I was at every other interview but I was disappointed.

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Just look at the class schedules for each, and you'll see that Mac still clearly has the boldest approach, PBL-wise. Adding PBL to lectures isn't really the same thing. I'm excited for U of T that they are changing up their system this year, and if I'd had a shot there I might have been tempted by their program -- but it will also be a guinea-pig year, and I would have had some hesitations about that. I would be really surprised if Ottawa rivals Mac for truly self-directed learning, but I don't really know because I didn't apply there. Just because the school describes their curriculum as including small-group or PBL learning doesn't mean that's really how they run their core curriculum. I can't see it being as appealing if they only use it to top up their core curriculum.

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Just look at the class schedules for each, and you'll see that Mac still clearly has the boldest approach, PBL-wise. Adding PBL to lectures isn't really the same thing. I'm excited for U of T that they are changing up their system this year, and if I'd had a shot there I might have been tempted by their program -- but it will also be a guinea-pig year, and I would have had some hesitations about that. I would be really surprised if Ottawa rivals Mac for truly self-directed learning, but I don't really know because I didn't apply there. Just because the school describes their curriculum as including small-group or PBL learning doesn't mean that's really how they run their core curriculum. I can't see it being as appealing if they only use it to top up their core curriculum.

 

Just to clarifying what it's like at uOttawa :

 

Every week, we have about :

- 12 hours of lectures

- 5 hours of CBL (similar to PBL)

- 3 hours of clinical skills development

 

Edit : In the 12 hours of lectures, I was counting about 4 hours/week of lectures or labs in anatomy/histology/pathology

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Each incoming year at WRC has a cadaver that they split for dissections. Prosections (previously dissected ones done by professional anatomists) have been shown to be more conducive to learning than dissections actually. If you go on other medical student websites, most if not all actually prefer prosections. You waste a lot of time digging through fat and unrelated tissues. 

 

 

What I understood from their presentation is that they don't do dissections. Someone with an anatomy degree does it and you just look. Additionally there were comments from students at every campus that implied that you might not get to see a cadaver for each lesson at the Hamilton campus because there aren't enough to go around? But that at the smaller campuses each group gets one and you see it every lesson. It seemed odd to me

 

6 hours of lectures (Monday and Friday mornings)

3 hours clinical skills

3 hours professional competencies

6 hours PBL

 

We will also have random little extra sessions thrown in there - extra consolidation clinical skills, Renal fair day, extra pharmacology lectures if you're at WRC, etc.

 

 

Could someone post the equivalent for Mac?

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Thanks for the breakdown! Ottawa and Mac seem very similar then. It's true U of T will have a guinea pig year, but the info I've seen so far suggests the change will be quite substantial and it won't just be adding on a few group work sessions to the main lectures. There's a detailed breakdown and sample weekly schedule here http://foundations.md.utoronto.ca/student-faq

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I really enjoyed it. I found the overall interview quality to be much higher than McGill's. It was awesome that they actually had political questions, or questions that required you to have really thought about a topic or issue before you walked in.

 

I felt like they actually tried with the presentation, which is once again more than I can say for McGill. I am officially leaning towards Mac if I get an offer.

 

Also, has anyone received the survery for campus rankings yet? I have not.

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