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Western Med Sci: Just finished 3rd year, cumulative 4.0, AMA

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Basically what I said above. I just finished my third year at Western Med Sci! I know choosing a university is tough (I had a really tough time choosing) and trying to determine how you'll do at university is stressful, but let me know what questions you have and I'll do my best to answer them! 

Also, despite being in third year, I can definitely answer questions about first year and all other years. I've been pretty engaged with helping out first years, so I know a decent amount about all years (or at least I like to think I do haha).

Update: I just got into med school, so feel free to ask those questions as well.  
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Study tips for first year students? How did you find the course load?
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KEEP UP WITH SCHOOL! The biggest problem for first year students is that they will stop going to class and studying throughout the semester (especially in November and March when midterms finish and everything is a little calmer) and they end up cramming for finals. I had a few floormates in first year that would go three days with a cumulative total of 5-6 hours of sleep before a final exam. That's not how you do well. 

 Aside from that, try to understand the material rather than memorizing it. You'll hear this from everybody, but the testing methods in first year med sci are completely different from high school. For example, Bio won't ask you to draw out the entire Krebs cycle with all the intermediates, rather it'll ask you an application question about how a plant would be affected if its Krebs cycle couldn't function for some reason. 

 Finally, course load is definitely manageable in first year as long as you keep up with the work. Go to class and skim your notes at the end of the day before you go to bed to make sure you understand everything.
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we usually dont get application questions on tests in high school.. other than understanding the material, how do you prepare for those application questions? do people share old mid terms/exams etc.?
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Yep! Past exams and sample questions are usually released by the professor before the exam, so you'll have a very good idea of what to expect before getting into the real thing.
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Holy screw 4.0 not bad son. What was first year like? Are you able to balance a social life with your academics? What does your average day look like? How much studying and work did you put in each year in-order to get that 4.0? Finally, what are some pros and cons to western med sci?
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Absolutely, balance is key. You'll find that Western students are very well balanced for the most part and if you find "unbalanced" people, they'll skew towards partying too much and studying too little. It's relatively rare to find people that study too much and have too little fun at Western.

During first year, my typical day would probably be going to class from 9:30-1:30 (with a 1 hour break in the middle because I'd skip physics, which everybody skips), then I'd either have a 2:30-5:30 lab and go home after or I'd just go back to rez at 1:30! Then I'd probably mess around with my floormates for a while, crack open the books for an hour or two (depending on the time of year and how much homework/studying I had to do that day), and then chill the rest of the day. Of course, that typical day completely changes during midterms and finals. Midterms and finals would usually consist of 9-10 hours of studying per day and minimal class attended (yes, I just contradicted everything I said about attending class, but the extra study hours were more valuable to me personally). 

Finally, as for pros and cons, one huge pro is western itself. It's just a really fun, really accepting place. People are generally nice here, people (especially in first year) are very open to meeting new people, and people are always looking to enjoy themselves. One con is that upper year courses tend to be too heavily memorization based for my liking, but that might just be a personal thing because I know a ton of people who love the memorization courses. Another pro is that there's a ton of variety in the program. You can specialize in pretty much anything in third and fourth year depending on what you're interested in, so that leaves a lot of opportunities open.
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What other undergrad options did you consider before choosing UWO? Why did you pick UWO?
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I considered queens science, mac life sci, and brock biomedical science. I wasn't ever too keen on mac to be honest, but I know a lot of people there who seem to enjoy it, so I definitely wouldn't rule it out. As for why I chose Western over the others, this will sound really cliche and somewhat useless to you, but it just felt right. I went there for Fall Preview Day and I got a really good feeling from the school itself. The students I met seemed really cool, the residences were amazing, and people generally seemed to really like their school (which was a huge factor for me). 

As for the program, I'm of the opinion that most Science programs in ontario are relatively similar; there isn't much that will significantly differentiate queens from mac from western in terms of the program itself. So for me, my biggest factor was the school and the environment in which I'd be spending 4 years of my life. 
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Have you considered McGill?
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It was too far from home for me (GTA), so I never considered it. I have a friend doing great over there though, he's got great marks and loves the social life
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What residence did you happen to stay in & what was it like for you ?
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I was in Ontario Hall and it was awesome! Food is top notch, which is rare to say about a university caf... and it's a relatively large rez, so there's always a ton of people to meet. That said, it's not one of the "party residences", so if you're looking to party all the time, you'd be better off checking out one of the traditional style residences. Of course, there are parties, just not as many and probably not as crazy as some of the traditional rezes (Med-Syd, Saugeen).
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Thanks ! I was looking into o hall as well but many people said that they put o hall first but ended up getting their last choice saugeen . So is it just based on luck? What was your last choice ?
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Yeah unfortunately it's totally based on luck. That said, all the residences are pretty good and you'll meet awesome people either way. A lot of people who end up in Saugeen didn't want to be there initially, but they ended up loving it.
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What do you want to do after graduating university? Your career path goals?
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I'm looking to be a physician!
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Is it difficult to find research positions/ jobs on or near campus? 
Also, what are your thoughts on rooming with someone you don't know (even though you have friends going to the school)?

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It's not too bad to find research, but you'll definitely have to send a bunch of emails (20+) to have a chance of getting one. As a first year in particular, you're competing against upper years with more experience for the same positions, so you need to show that you're committed and willing to learn in order for a professor to be willing to take you on. 

As for rooming with people, I think it can work both ways. Some people room with friends and it works out great, whereas others room with people they don't know and it can also turn out well. Similarly, it can also turn out poorly in both cases. I tend to favour rooming with somebody you know, just because it gives you somewhere to start (you're already comfortable with the person you're living with, so it's easier to branch out from there and meet new people).
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Thank you so much for making this, I've been meaning to talk to someone from Western med sci for a while! I'd really appreciate it if you could answer my questions! :) First off, how do you find the program so far in terms of maintaining a relatively high GPA for med school? Also, what courses did you take first year? Did you take psychology and if you did, how was it? I'm having a really hard time choosing between Mac life sci and Western med sci, do you know any differences between these programs/or if Western is better? Also, what type of room for res do you recommend to get, and do you find it difficult to study/live with a roommate? Also, how does the program change going into 3rd year?

Thanks so much!
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Well, GPA is an interesting thing because it depends so heavily on the individual. Let's just say that if you maintain good study habits throughout the semester (especially in the times when you don't feel like you need to work that hard aka. November and March), don't cram for exams, and get enough sleep before every exam, you'll do fine. That said, you also need to study smart, particularly for the application based courses. If you try to memorize everything for Bio without understanding how things work and how they relate to each other, you won't do nearly as well as you'd like. 

I took the usual 5 (Bio, Chem, Zinke Physics, Psych, and Calc/Applied Math 1201). Psych was pretty interesting! It's a relatively heavy memorization course, but again, it's fine as long as you keep up with it throughout the semester and avoid cramming huge amounts of info in the days leading up to the exam.

I don't really know much about Mac Life Sci, although I do have some friends who go there. I really don't know anything about the program differences, but from what I see, Western seems to be a bit of a more social school, which could make it more enjoyable to be at. 

I personally always recommend hybrid rooms (Perth and Ontario) because I really liked them. They're a good mix of social (because you don't have a full kitchen, so you need to go down to the caf, where you'll meet people) and private (you can close your doors and you can barely hear anything outside, plus you get your own bathroom). However, it really depends on what you're looking for. Traditional style (Saugeen, Delaware, Med-Syd) probably make it easier to meet people. Suite style (Elgin, Essex) are both nice and private, you have your own single rooms within a suite, and you have your own kitchen, but the downside is that it's quite difficult to meet people. Roommates are fine as long as you respect each other (Ex: Don't be loud while the other person is studying/sleeping). 

In third year, you specialize into a specific module. There are probably about 15 different modules, so I won't go into them all, but there's a huge variety depending on what you're interested in (they tend to skew towards the human biology side of things). Depending on what you specialize into, you'll take different courses. In first and second year, you take all the same courses as people in biological science and all the other people in medical science, so the classes are quite big. 
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Thanks for the answers! How is first year math? Also I noticed there's a lot of "0.5" courses such as calc. What does this mean? Does it mean the course is only half a semester?
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No problem, happy to help! First year math is pretty good, some of it is a review of high school. First semester calc is almost entirely high school, but with some integration at the end that you probably won't have done before. Second semester calc is entirely new and quite a bit more difficult, but a lot of people take applied math instead. Applied math involved more basic calculus, but you had to apply it to things such as population growth modelling, which I found really cool. It really depends on how you feel about calculus; if you love it, take the second half of calc, whereas if you want something different, take applied math. 

And 0.5 courses last an entire semester, while 1.0 courses last the entire year. So in any given year, you'll take 5.0 courses, which will usually be divided into 10 half courses that last one semester each. Most first year courses are divided into two half courses (bio, chem, physics etc). One exception to this is first year psych, which is a 1.0 course that lasts all year. 
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Hey thanks so much for helping us newbies out! <33 
So does that mean you take 5 classes per semester? that seems like a lot of work tbh 
and also besides on what you generally like, did you choose courses based on what you need to learn for the MCAT? Like for example, I think I would want to take applied math but does that have a disadvantage when it comes to the math? 

Also have you started studying for MCAT? Do the courses prepare you enough or do you have to learn a lot of things on your own? Would you recommend trying to choose the easier subjects as GPA boosters? 
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No prob! Yeah everybody takes 5 courses per semester, it's not too bad at all once you get used to it! 

I didn't specifically choose courses about what I needed to know for the MCAT, but the mandatory courses in Med Sci encompass everything you need to know for the MCAT except some of the sociology. So by doing med sci, you're also learning all the stuff on the MCAT. 

And yeah, I wrote the MCAT already. The courses teach you pretty much everything you need to know, but you obviously need to review on your own for weeks/months before you write to make sure you didn't miss things and to make sure you actually remember everything. As for GPA boosters, there are definitely some interesting courses that will make your life easier by having relatively easy exams and having less work in general. When you have electives, definitely take those if you find them interesting. A word of warning though: A lot of people's worst marks in all of university are "bird" courses that they hated and thus, did poorly in. Make sure that you're interested in everything you're taking because you'll do better in a course you're interested in even if it's a little more difficult than another. 
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Also, there's no calculus on the mcat, so you won't be at a disadvantage regardless of which math courses you take!
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oh sweet thanks!
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lol can you tell us what your MCAT grade was? are you scared to be applying to med school? and if you don't get in what is your backup? How come you didn't try for med school 3rd year?
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ahh am i asking too many questions? Also will you be checking this thread later too or do I need to go do research ASAP so you can answer all my questions? LOL i only know people in 1st years so you're such a great help rn
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Uhmmm, I'm not fully comfortable disclosing my exact grade, but it's in the top few percentile. And I actually applied to med this year, this thread is how I'm keeping myself distracted while I wait to hear back haha. 

If I didn't get in, I'd probably do an MBA, then go into biotech or pharmaceuticals. It's still helping people and innovating within science, but just in a different way :)

And I'll be on the site for the next week or so (probably a month tbh), so feel free to ask anything until then!
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What did you do to prepare for the verbal part of MCAT? 

Can you do well on the verbal part if you are NOT an avid reader? 

I imagine that the best way to prepare is to read a lot on your own just for pleasure. It seems to me that having a good vocabulary is essential for success on the verbal MCAT, and you can't cram good vocabulary. It takes years of reading to develop. Do you agree?
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I did some of the prep books and a bunch of practice exams. One of the keys to verbal is to be able to read quickly, yet be able to absorb enough out of the passage to answer the questions. So quick reading comprehension is probably the most important skill you can have for verbal.

As for vocabulary, I don't think having a large vocabulary would help you; an average vocab would be more than sufficient. The biggest advantage you'd gain from reading a lot is the reading speed and the reading comprehension abilities. 
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I'm trying to pick between McGill Life/Biomed Sci and Western Med Sci right now and literally have no idea what school to choose :( Please help. I am hoping to go into medicine.
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Alright, so I don't know much about McGill, but what I do know is that it's known to be a relatively difficult school/program to get good marks in. That's all hearsay, but it's what I've heard. One of the biggest factors to get into medicine is your GPA, so if you go to a "difficult" school, it could affect your GPA. Having never attended McGill, I can't know how its difficulty compares to Western, but I've heard that it's pretty tough.
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I know a few people who went to McGill Life Sci. Only one went on to Med School (another went to Vet, a few to MBA, etc). Anyway, McGill Life Sci is often referred to as "where dreams of med school go to die"
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What was your top 6 coming out of high school?
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~95
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When is the last date to get admission emails sent from Western for med sci first year? I still haven't got mine yet :/
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No idea, you can email the admissions office though!
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is a 91.8 good to get into the program?
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Should be! Past admission cutoffs have been around 90 or below, so unless there was a pretty big increase this year, you should be fine.
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Hi! Thank you so much for the help :) I really appreciate it. I have several questions if you don't mind.
1) Is it possible to get clinical experience? Are there opportunities for it and is that common for med sci students?
2) Around how many of the med sci students are interested in medical school? 
3) Are there people who get into med school after only three years? 
4) I guess this is a difficult question to answer... but just how competitive is med school acceptance for you and your peers? I mean as someone with a 4.0, do you feel confident about being accepted into a med school next year? (Sorry if this is kind of personal, you definitely do not need to answer if you don't feel comfortable.) I guess my worry is that med sci is kind of narrow and I'm not really passionate about the other career options.

Thanks again for your help!
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1. Clinical experience is something I never really looked for, so I'm not sure what's out there. That said, a friend of mine did some pretty cool clinical shadowing, so there's definitely an opportunity for clinical stuff at Western if you look around for it. 

2. The number of med sci students interested in med is difficult to know because there's so many people and a lot of people aren't 100% sure what they want to do. I can't even guess a ballpark number, but I'd assume the number is very similar to any other science program in Ontario. 

3. Yes, there are definitely people who get in after three years. Of course, it's not the majority of any med school class, but there are definitely some people. 

4. Yes, it is competitive to be accepted. However, my favourite part of med sci is that it's not a competitive atmosphere, particularly in first and second year. I've heard horror stories from some schools where people delete others' notes, rip pages from library books etc. to prevent other people from doing well. My absolute favourite thing about Western is that for the most part, people actually like each other and don't see others as competition. Instead, people help each other to do well (which sounds idealistic, but it actually happens!). As for me personally, no, I'm not confident I'll get in this year. I think I'm in a good position, but I can't say I'm confident or expecting to get in. And that's the nature of the system, you don't just automatically get in if you have the marks. You need to be a well-rounded person as well. Although I think I'm a good candidate, there are lots of other bright, well-rounded people applying who would make excellent doctors. So you can never be sure that you'll get in, you can just do what you can to make yourself a good candidate (get good marks, follow your interests etc.) and hope for the best. 
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Thank you a lot! Just from your answers here I can tell you are a kind and helpful individual. I really hope things go your way, best of luck! :)
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did you only apply to medical schools in ontario? and did you apply to any other professional schools (dentistry pharmacy etc)? thanks for answering our q's, best of luck to you!
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1. Yes and 2. No :)
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Hey, do you have any tips on how to stand out during the medical school interview/ essay process? I feel like I can get good grades and join clubs and do EC's that I like, but can't everyone? 
Why do you want to be a doctor besides "I want to help people?" 
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I'm not actually in med school right now, so I'm not sure if I'm qualified to give you any tips about the application process because everything I say could be totally wrong! If I get in, I'll come back to this one.

What I will say is that most people can get good grades and do ECs, but not everybody does. So if you're one of those people who actually gets good grades and does cool ECs that you enjoy, I personally think you'll stand out.
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Okay, thanks for replying.
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I got in, so I'm coming back to this one. I'll stand by what I said before because I believe getting good grades and actually doing some sort of ECs is the most important thing by far, but I'll add a little more. Standing out means doing things you're actually interested in at a high level, rather that doing cookie cutter ECs just because you feel you have to. For example, if you're volunteering at the hospital because you feel you need to, your time would probably be better spent working on your hobbies (literally anything from wakeboarding to painting stained glass windows) and taking your hobbies to the highest level you possibly can. It'll make you stand out WAY more than cookie cutter volunteer positions would. So using the somewhat crazy examples I mentioned, you could wakeboard at the provincial level or start a small business selling stained glass windows that you pained. Those things make you unique and interesting, which makes you much more attractive as a candidate. 

All of this being said, if you really enjoy things that happen to be somewhat standard ECs (soup kitchens, hospital volunteering etc.), still do it! They don't care what you're doing as long as you do what you enjoy and you do it well. 
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i guess this is not really med sci specific, but are you allowed to choose your own roommate for res? my friend and i are both going to med sci, and it'd be awesome if we got to room together.
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Yep, you get to choose!
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could you comment on the class sizes for first year (and if possible, second and third)? 
if the class sizes are large, how can one go about getting to know their profs/standing out? 
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Classes are pretty big in first and second year (100 at the smallest, ~700 at the largest). So the way to get to know profs is by going to office hours and chatting with them/asking questions. Third year is completely different depending on your module. If you take a smaller module, you could have 10 person classes, whereas a larger module might have 200 person classes still. In any case, office hours and talking to the professor after class are good ways to get to know them.
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Diff anon not the one who asked question: but if you do that won't they know you're tryna get close to them for references, unless you naturally want to ask them questions I guess
Also, how will having conversations with them help you actually get close to them because that'll just let them know you care about academia and are maybe passionate right?
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I'll put it this way, reference letters can come from absolutely anybody and the perceived "status" of your referee isn't going to have any impact on your application. The only thing that matters is what your referee has to say about you. Personally, none of my referees were professors. So I wouldn't waste time trying to get close to professors unless you're genuinely interested in their courses because their reference letter is no more valuable than the letter from the volunteer coordinator where you spent a few years volunteering.
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I thought that some med schools want to see at least one academic and at least one non-academic reference. Did you have any academic references?
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But I'm going to have to start volunteering all over again in London.. where did you volunteer? And are there references I can get from joining clubs?
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Yeah that's true, it's good to have academic references. A lot of people use research supervisors though, not profs. And you can volunteer at places in London, but what I'd suggest is to continue volunteering at the places you currently volunteer at in the summers (on weekends/whenever you're not working, assuming you'll have a summer job and you actually enjoy the volunteering you're currently doing) and do other things in London, such as clubs, teams, and other interesting things that you enjoy. There are so many cool, new opportunities at Western that you don't want to limit yourself to a few volunteer options unless you find one you really like. To answer that last question, I think there are some clubs that have reference letter programs, but you'd never use a club generic letter as your med reference letter. I don't even think that's allowed because the club president would be another student.
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Hi can you please estimate the amount of kids with around a 4.0 GPA in your year rn?
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That's a really difficult thing to do because most people don't know each other's GPAs. If I were to ballpark it, I'd say around 10-15ish with way more people in the high 3.9s.
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Okay thanks, and congrats for being one of those 10-15 people! That's amazing!
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how do most professors feel about you talking to them during their office hours? are most of them helpful, or are just kind of annoyed and unwilling to help?
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They're great! They have office hours for the purpose of having students come in and ask questions, so they're more than willing to answer those questions.
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what is western scholars (not scholars elective, just scholars)? thanks!
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It's just a designation on your transcript. They hold occasional events and things every once in a while, but I don't think I've ever participated in anything they've held.
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i would say im definitely not someone looking to attend many parties... so which rez would you say throws the fewest parties? also, are there residences with more med sci students than others?
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^^yess I would like the answer to this question to pleasee
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To be honest, all rezes throw parties. If I were to guess, I'd probably say one of the suite style ones (Elgin and Essex) solely for the fact that they tend to be somewhat more difficult to meet people. Also, I think the distribution of med sci students is pretty even across all the residences, but if I had to pick one, I'd say Med-Syd and Elgin because they have a Science floor and Med Sci floor respectively. 
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^isnt elgin the one with the med sci floor not Ontario ...

https://www.residenceatwestern.ca/elgin.cfm
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Oh...well that's new haha my bad, I guess they switched the med sci floor to elgin for this year!
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Hi, for first year I have to choose a course for category A and B (http://westerncalendar.uwo.ca/Archive/2013/2013/pg81.html )  I'm not really drawn to any of the courses in category B, would you say philosophy is difficult to do well in? Also did your peers (or you) find it fun?
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Also, what is the difference between honours BMSc and just BMSc
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Unfortunately, I've never taken philosophy and interestingly enough, nobody I know has taken it either, so I can't really speak to it. Most people I know took a classics course or a language course for their category B requirement.
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The difference between Honours and Non-Honours is a designation on your transcript, which can actually have implications on future plans (occasionally med/grad schools require honours degrees). The vast majority of people who get a BMSc degree get an honours degree, you need to do an honours specialization or a double major and fulfill the minimum grade requirements. Here's a link if you're curious: https://www.schulich.uwo.ca/bmsc/future_students/modules/modules_in_bmsc/index.html
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Thanks so much! And for the updated website too lol.. anon below had the same problem :')
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So I'm looking at this: http://westerncalendar.uwo.ca/Archive/2013/2013/pg81.html and I can't help being extremely confused... 
If you don't mind, could you explain how course selection works for first year? before in the thread you said " I took the usual 5 (Bio, Chem, Zinke Physics, Psych, and Calc/Applied Math 1201)." which does not have anything in one of the categories.
also what are the required courses, how many electives do we get, and when do we start choosing courses? 
sorry if this is a dumb question, but I did look around online and couldn't really find a definitive answer. thank you :) 
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Totally agree, the online resources can be pretty confusing from time to time! Anyways, what that page is trying to say is that you need to do 1.0 courses from Category A, B, and C before you graduate. When you're in med sci, the vast majority of your courses will come from Category C (the science category), so you don't have to worry about that one. In first year, most people take Psych, which fulfils the category A requirement. From there, you just need to fulfil the category B requirement sometime between 2nd and 4th year. So using my year as an example, Bio, Chem, Physics, and Math came from Category C and Psych came from Category A.

As for the required courses, you need to take first year Bio (Bio 1001/1002), Chem (1301/1302), Physics (there's some choice here, but a lot of people take Physics 1028/1029), Math (Calculus 1000 and a choice of second semester math), and an elective from either category A or B. So in first year, you get 1.0 electives and it can't be a category C (Science) elective. Also, course selection is usually near the end of June.

Finally, I noticed you were using the old academic calendar from 2013. Try to always use the updated ones because things change from time to time. Here's the 2016 one: http://www.westerncalendar.uwo.ca/2016/index.html
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oh my god thank you so much! that was insanely helpful!!!
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