Medical School Application Guide

 

GPA and MCAT Requirements

 

Amongst other important qualities, medical schools are looking for academically bright students that will be able to cope with the high demands of medical school and the high demands of a medical career. With the high numbers of applicants every year, admissions committees need to use quick and fair methods to select candidates for interview. The GPA and the MCAT scores are quick and easy tools to use and as such are used by many medical schools who set a minimum GPA and MCAT scores for selection.

 

For example, at the University of Western Ontario meeting the GPA and MCAT cutoffs usually guarantees an interview, where asother Canadian universities place significant weight on additional factors before selecting applicants for interview. At McMaster University, applicants are considered for interview based on a score comprise of 32% GPA, 32% MCAT verbal reasoning score and 32% on a Computer-Based Assessment for Personal Characteristics (CASPer). Up to 4% more can be given for completion of a masters degree or PhD. At the University of Toronto, 40% of the pre interview assessment has usually been based on non-academic criteria. For some schools, the non academic criteria carry an even greater weight in the pre interview formula. The selection formula for each medical programme in Canada, including pre interview weightings and post interview weightings, are available under the heading “selection formula” in each school specific section.

 

See below for a table summarizing the applicant statistics for each school, as well as the MCAT and GPA averages of the entering classes.

 

 UniversityEntering class GPA and MCAT statistics
Western Canada
University of Alberta Average GPA and MCAT: 3.87/32.76Q for 4 year applicants and 3.97/35.58R for second and third year applicants
University of British Columbia Average GPA and MCAT: 86.82% (in province) and 90.68% (Out-of-Province)/32.49Q
University of Calgary In 201: Average overall GPA and MCAT of applicants with a degree: 3.66 (best 2 years)/32.13Q,
University of Manitoba Average AGPA* and MCAT for in-province students: 4.1 on a 4.5 scale/12.70
Average AGPA* and MCAT for out-of-province students: 4.1 on a 4.5 scale/36.9
University of Saskatchewan Median GPA (best 2 years): 90.45% In 2009, median MCAT: 28
Ontario
McMaster University Average GPA of entering class: 3.75
Average MCAT verbal reasoning score: 10.58
Queen’s University In 2007: cumulative GPA cutoff of 3.68 or most recent 2 year’s GPA cutoff of 3.78. Also MCAT scores of 10, 10, 10 and P were required for undergraduate applicants to be granted an interview
Northern Ontario School of Medicine Average weighted GPA of approximately: 3.72; MCAT not required.
University of Ottawa The WGPA cutoffs for the 2011-2012 application cycle were 3.7 for Ottawa applicants, 3.7 for Champlain district applicants, 3.85 for in province applicants and 3.87 for out-of-province applicants. These are expected to stay the same in the next application cycle. The MCAT is not required.
University of Toronto Average GPA and median MCAT: 3.90/32Q
University of Western Ontario GPA cutoff for all applicants was: 3.70
For applicants from Southwestern Ontario, MCAT cutoffs: minimum of 8 in each section and a minimum overall of 30O.
For applicants from outside Southern Ontario, MCAT cutoffs: minimum of 10 in biological sciences, 9 in Physical sciences and 11 in verbal reasoning and an overall minimum of 30O.
Quebec and Maritimes
McGill University Approximate average GPA and MCAT: 3.8/33
Dalhousie University Average GPA and MCAT: 3.8/30
Memorial University Approximate average GPA and MCAT: 85%/30Q

 

Table. Admissions statistics of English taught medical schools in Canada.

*AGPA calculated for each applicant by the University of Manitoba. See the school specific section below for more details on the University of Manitoba’s admission system.

 

The above table also shows the MCAT and GPA averages for the entering classes in the English taught Canadian medical programmes. Although averages may give some insight, there is a large range of scores in both the acceptedandrejectedapplicantpools. Toillustratethis, belowaretheacceptanceandrejectionstatisticsforthe University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine.

 

Overall Premedical Averages of the Entering Class 2013 and 2014
Letter Grade Percentage grade Number of applicants accepted in 2013 Number of applicants accepted in 2014
A+ 90.00-100% 67 60
A 85.00-89.99% 132 129
A- 80.00-84.99% 84 84
B+ 74.00-79.99% 4 15
B 70.00-74.99% 1 0
    288 288

 

Table. Overall premedical averages of the entering classes in 2013 and 2014 at the University of British Columbia

 

Overall Averages of Refused Applicants* for 2013 and 2014
Letter Grade Percentage grade Number of in province applicants rejected Number of out of province applicants rejected
    2013 2014 2013 2014
A+ 90.00-100% 27 46 72 137
A 85.00-89.99% 163 229 213 285
A- 80.00-84.99% 338 347 188 232
B+ 74.00-79.99% 266 223 41 41
B 70.00-74.99% 53 51 6 12

 

Table. Overall averages of refused applicants for 2013 and 2014 at the University of British Columbia

*Total number of applicants minus those accepted and registered or deferred, rejected due to ineligibility, accepted and declined, eligible applicants who withdrew, alternates admitted by registration date

 

The University of British Columbia rejected 275 in-province applicants with an A average or higher in 2013 and rejected 422 in 2014. Academic credentials are important in the admissions process, but academic credentialsalonearenotenoughtogainadmission. Whatyouhavedoneoutsidetheclassroomandwhatyour references say about your character carry significant weight. Your essays are also key in gaining admission to medical school. The web locations of class statistics for the Canadian medical programmes taught in English are given below.

 

 UniversityLocation of class statistics
Western Canada
University of Alberta http://www.med.ualberta.ca/programs/md/admissions/applying/entering-statistics
University of British Columbia http://mdprogram.med.ubc.ca/files/2014/12/Interim-Statistics-2014-15-MED-2019.pdf
University of Calgary http://www.ucalgary.ca/mdprogram/files/mdprogram/applicant-manual-2014-2015-aug-22.pdf
University of Manitoba http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/health_sciences/medicine/education/undergraduate/media/Pre_
University of Saskatchewan http://www.medicine.usask.ca/education/medical/undergrad/prospective-students/admissions/Admission%20Statistics.pdf
Ontario
Queen’s University Not found and not available in MSAR. The cutoffs written in this guidebook are from 2007 and were found in a University of Waterloo premedical services document which is also no longer available online.
McMaster University http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/mdprog/documents/Classof2017.pdf
Northern Ontario School of Medicine www.nosm.ca/education/ume/general.aspx?id=1248
University of Ottawa Not found and not available in MSAR. WGPA cutoffs for the English taught programme for Ottawaoutauais, in-province and out-of-province applicants in 2011 are listed in this guidebook
University of Toronto www.md.utoronto.ca/admissions/statistics.htm
University of Western Ontario Cutoffs available from www.schulich.uwo.ca/admissions/medicine/index.php?page=requirements. Averages available from MSAR - emailed

 Table: Location of admissions statistics for Canadian programmes taught in English

 

GPA calculation by medical schools

 

Every applicant who has completed a year of university in North America has a Grade Point Average (GPA) out of 4.0 or 4.3. It is important to understand that medical schools do NOT use the GPA given to an applicant by his or her university. Instead, each admissions office recalculates an applicant’s GPA according to their own guidelines, policies and formulas. With that in mind, an applicant might have a GPA of 3.2 at their university but this might be equivalent to a GPA of 3.7 using the GPA calculation formula at the medical school he or she wants to apply to.

 

The University of Alberta drops the lowest year’s GPA for all applicants who have completed 4 or more years of post-secondary coursework provided the lowest GPA is not the most recent year and not the only year where the applicant completed a full credit course load. However, the University of Alberta does not include summer courses completed by an applicant in their GPA calculation. On the other hand, the University of BritishColumbiaincludesallcoursesintheirGPAcalculationincludingsummerandgraduatedegreecourses. The University of Saskatchewan only uses an applicant’s best 2 years in their GPA cutoff calculation. A student who obtained really low grades in his or her first year but excelled afterwards can thus be very competitive at certain universities.

 

The exact GPA calculation policy for each medical school is available in the school specific sections below under “GPA requirement”. Important differences include: including or excluding summer courses, including or excluding graduate coursework, allowing or not allowing students to drop their lowestgrades under certain conditions, and using the GPA as a strict cutoff or as one of several elements considered in shortlisting applicants for interview. Some schools also give an advantage (bonus points) to applicants who hold a master’s degree or a PhD while other schools give no advantage to those with advanced degrees in their pre-interview scoring. These rules can potentially give very different GPAs to the same applicant at different schools which is why it is essential that applicants know where they have the best chances of getting in.

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