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3rd year Canadian medical student happy to answer questions!
UPDATE July 11, 2012:

My name is Josh, some of you might know me as the guy who started MedHopeful. For those of you who don't know me, I am currently a 3rd year Medical Student at UofT and I have run a blog called MedHopeful for almost 4 years now which provides stories and advice relating to undergrad, scholarships and medical school.

I originally wanted to remain anonymous in this thread because I was working on a few new projects (like a new group blog I had started) with some medical school classmates who wanted to remain anonymous. However, after long discussions and thinking, I decided to go back to primarily posting on MedHopeful. I also figured that I was OK not being anonymous (my friends still want to be, which is fine and I understand why).

In any case, I am happy to answer any questions, and for those of you who didn't know, I started a similar thread like this last year on the old Student Awards forums, which you might also find useful:


* * * * *

Hey everyone,

I am a 3rd year medical student at a Canadian medical school. My first 2 years were spent mostly in the classroom learning anatomy, physiology, disease, treatments, etc.

I started 3rd year in September 2011, and since then, I have been in "clerkship" - which means I have been working and learning full time in the hospital - seeing real patients everyday, and learning to diagnose/treat their illnesses. I have to say, it's very different from what I imagined. No matter how much you try to learn what it's like to practice medicine (e.g. shadowing), you really don't know what it's like until you do it.

I found these forums very helpful while studying in undergrad and applying to medical school. I'd like to give back by answering questions about medical school if anyone has any.

I'll try to be as honest as possible. I just won't be revealing any personal details as I'd prefer to remain anonymous.

Ask away! :)

P.S. I now blog everyday about med school life, getting in to med school, undergrad tips, etc. (see signature)
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AMA: Brock BAcc Grad, Carleton MAcc Student, Big 4 Employee
My name is Neal, and I'm one of yconic's Digital Brand Ambassadors for 2016-17. I also currently work at Ernst and Young in Toronto.  

I graduated from Brock's Bachelor of Accounting program in 2016 and I am currently enrolled in Carleton's Master of Accounting program. I will write the Common Final Exam (the last exam in the CPA process) in September 2017.  

A snapshot of my time at Brock:  
-Served as an executive for several clubs  
-Participated in numerous internal/external case competitions and conferences  
-Served as a Tutorial Leader for Brock's first-year Macroeconomics course  
-Inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma (the top 10% of Goodman get invited)  
-Did co-ops and internships with 3 different companies in corporate accounting, assurance, tax and risk assurance located in Germany and Canada  
-Participated in a short-term exchange to France  
-Volunteered for the business school's Career Services office, where I critiqued students' resumes  
-Lived in residence (first-year) and off campus

A snapshot of my time at Carleton:  
-Currently the President of the Sprott MAcc Society  

As a Digital Brand Ambassador, I am here to provide insight into the post-secondary world. Feel free to ask me questions below.  

Please subscribe to me (click the + beside my user name) to follow my weekly blog posts!
Western BMOS or Ryerson Business Management?
Hey guys! I'm currently on the waitlist for Schulich, but I have to make a decision in case I don't get that spot in Schulich.
I've been accepted to Western for their Management and Organizational studies program and at Ryerson for Business Managment. 
I know that Western has a better reputation compared to Ryerson, but Ryerson is located in the heart of Toronto where all the big businesses are and might give me more opportunities compared to Western. 
I can't make a decision and have a week left to accept an offer. 
I also have offers from U of T Scarborough for Social Sciences and Humanities, U of T Mississauga for Commerce, and York U for Commerce, however I don't want to go to any of these. 
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UBC Residence
How is residence life at UBC?  I'm choosing to stay in residence for my 1st year (will probably end up at Totem or Vanier). 

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Ive been a (pro)crastinator. it wasn't affecting me too much until this year which i am in grade 11 and 1st semester my grades were very low (60-80)  but in semester 2 I'm trying to stop procrastinate and my grades are so far not too shabby, (90-94) But i know I'm in trouble for grade 12. I can't stop procrastinating. I study for some tests, the morning of. I can't seem to focus in class. I haven't done homework in over a year. Ive tried making to do lists and a bunch of lists but they never ever worked. I tried to go to the library to force myself to study. I turned my phone off and all electronics. People told me to study days ahead, tried it and later didn't work. I tried waking up early in the morning to study to distract anything but no energy and i kept hearing buzzing sounds and that irritated me. I think maybe i work better in the night since theres nothing outside, people/friends are sleeping, i feel more energized, and its quietBut nothing works, i need help...heheh please any tips, advices, anything. 

4th year Ryerson student: Ask Me Anything!
I'm a current student at Ryerson in my 4th year, majoring in Professional Communication. I'm currently studying for the LSAT and plan to write in Summer 2017. Aside from holding 2 internships over the last 3 years, I work as a mentor for first year students and in student recruitment for my program faculty. This past summer I worked as a Project and Communications Assistant for the Government of Ontario, and in September I was hired at the Ontario Energy Board in the Public Affairs department. 

I can answer questions about:
- all program requirements and acceptances 
- campus life 
- residence 
- internships and co-op opportunities + job search + how I got hired in the government 
- basically any other questions you might have 

Hope you're all excited about the potential of attending Ryerson! Ask me anything! 

If you're looking to contact me personally, you can reach me at ienoukov@ryerson.ca

Done my second year of undergrad and I want to go to med school but my GPA is down the drain. Help!
Hello all, I'm at Brock University in their Neuroscience program. First year I did pretty poorly. I am not much of a party person but I did let procrastination get the better of me. This second year I did decent in first semester but not great and I can attribute my grades again to my bad habits. However, in second semester I was plagued with spontaneous pneumothoraces (lung collapses) and so I missed a week of classes to heal. A month later it happened again, and at finals it happened again!! I managed to do my finals with my collapsed lung LOL. In fact I am here writing this with a chest tube in me as I had surgery and might still need other procedures.. Needless to say, my grades are shot. My OMSAS GPA is a 2.0. 

So how do I go about rectifying my poor academic performance? I do learn the material I am taught but I also don't test well. I would love to know what I can do to still have a chance at getting in. Should I do a masters degree? Take less courses but do better in them with the greater allotment of time? Currently I am already a semester behind because I was going to take organic chem this spring session but I ended up being hospitalized so I cancelled it; however this means I cannot take some of my fall/winter courses since organic chem is a prereq. I would also appreciate any tips on how to stop procrastinating.

I appreciate any help and thanks for reading this.
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Bad Marks In Advanced Functions, What To Do?
So, the title is pretty much a TL;DR but to elaborate, I'm getting a 56 (probably slightly lower now) in the class. Yes, I do my homework, in fact I prioritize it over my other subjects and I do go for help as well. But every time I do a test, I blank out. I'm not sure why this happens but I'm capable of completing the questions since I'm able to do it for homework. 

This is besides the point though. Many of my choices for university require advanced functions however....well...yeah my grade is horrible. What should I do? I thought of dropping this course and maybe taking it for summer school (I heard this wasn't a good idea though) but I was initially planning on taking grade 12 English during this time, private schooling it, or taking it for grade 12 (I'm in grade 11 currently). 

I'm panicking because of this, please help. I'd like to know some of your opinions and suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to read :) 

EDIT: Just wanted to give more background. This also occurred in Functions where I actually initially got a 43-46? But I boosted it by 20 percent and ended with a 66 at the end. I'm normally a high 80s person in subjects that have little intense math such as biology or English etc. So I am capable, however I don't know if i want to take that risk again.

UPDATE: My midterm marks were updated today and now I have a 67, the deadline to drop is April 27th, I'm still not too sure.
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Which Program is best for Research?
Hi, I'm interested in research as a part of my future. Which program is best for someone who wants to research psychology/neuroscience, psychology co-op at Waterloo or psychology life science at UofT?
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Switching Programs in Uni
Say one got accepted into agricultural and environmental sciences at a specific university (McGill); could you switch to life sciences after the first year? In addition, can you transfer to a different program/university after the first year? What marks would be taken into consideration? Thank you for your time
Is it hard to transfer into McMaster Life Science?
Hi, I got accepted to Mcmaster social science with the intent of going into Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour. I haven't heard from health or life science yet but would it be possible to transfer into life science PNB during my second year if I am in socsci the first year?
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2nd year UBC student! Ask me anything!
Contact: elizabethsflower@gmail.com 

In second year at UBC as a Health Science (FNH) student from LFS. 

Want to know how I got in? What UBC life is like? General advice about gr. 12/senior year, study tips, and applying to universities? I'll try my best to answer any of your inquiries (:

See you at UBC in September!
UTSC alternate offer from BBA
Hey guys, can anyone help me here?
So I've applied to Rotman commerce, UTSC BBA, and Ryerson ted rogers(accounting and finance). I have an average of 89, got two acceptance so far.  One from Ryerson and another one were from UTSC, which is an alternate offer to Social Science& Humanity. I know that I wasn't that competitive with such low mark especially in business. Honestly, even though UT is reputable but with BA in social science, I don't think its worth it and it won't lead me to anywhere in the future. They are saying that I'll still have the chance to get into my preferred program BBA by the end of my first year studying at UTSC, but it's quite risky if I do that, what if I couldn't get into that department then I have to continue my social science. I know that I will be rejected by UT, the best possible outcome will be an alternate offer, maybe to the social science again.  Do you guys think a BBA from Ryerson will offer me a nice job in the future? I'm  not saying that Ryerson is bad but they are always rank the last few.  
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What Are The Best Resources to Write an Essay?
Have trouble writing essays? Having access to the right resources can make the essay writing process a lot easier. Here are my go-to resources that help me get the job done:

  1. Purdue OWL: Purdue OWL is pretty much the essay writing bible. I mainly use it as a resource to properly format my essay, include in-text citations, and to create a reference page. There is also information on how to conduct research which can be helpful as a first-year university student. If you are writing a paper in APA, MLA, Chicago, or AMA, Purdue Owl will most likely become your new best friend. 

2. Grammarly: Grammarly will help you catch more grammar mistakes than Microsoft word. It also has a plagiarism tool that catches any content in your essay that is not written in your own words. You can either access Grammarly by website or you can download the app to your computer.

3. Bibme.org: This website properly formats your resources in a selected format. All you have to do is select your preferred format and type in the website or title of the journal article. The citation generator will locate all the information you have to include within your citation and do all the work for you! This website is a huge time saver. However, it is important to know how to properly site resources yourself and to check over your resources before you hand it in. I have caught mistakes in the past.

4. Your school’s online library database: I do the majority of my research using my school’s online journal database. It is a trustworthy resource to find peer-reviewed articles and other scholarly material.

5. Google Scholar: Google scholar will help you find more scholarly resources than using the normal google search. It also has great filters to help narrow down your search. 

Hope these resources help you write your next essay!

-Michelle Young, yconic student ambassador
Apps that help you avoid distractions when you have to study
Smartphones and social media websites can be two of the biggest distractions when it comes to studying. If you are anything like me and find yourself checking your social media or email every 5 minutes you may want to consider downloading one of these apps:

  1. Self-Control: Self-control is an app that you can download if you are a Mac OS user. It will block your access to selected websites or mail servers for a set amount of time. Self-control is a free version of the popular app Freedom that blocks your access from the internet for 8 hours.

  2. Moment: Moment is an IOS app that tracks the amount of time you spend on your phone a day. All of those quick study breaks may add up faster than you think. If you want to set limits on the amount of time you spend on your phone, Moment will notify you when you reach your limit.

  3. AppDetox: For those Android users, AppDetox is an app locker that allows you to take a digital detox while setting your own rules. 

4. Off time: Off time allows you to block calls and texts while sending out auto-replies and keeps a list of your missed phone activity. It is offered for both Android and Apple phones. 

5. White Noise: White noise is an app that is known for helping you sleep at night. However, it can also increase your focus and reduce your stress levels. 

6. Turn off your phones notifications: Turning off my notifications help keeps me focused because it restricts my phone from buzzing every few minutes. If you are not constantly being reminded of your phone, it is a lot easier to keep away. 

I hope these apps help you stay focused during the last few months of school!

  -Michelle Young, yconic student ambassador
How to write an essay based final exam?
As someone who prefers the sciences, writing is something I had to work on over the years to do well in my other subjects. Here are some tips I have found helpful on how to prepare for and write an essay based exam: 

Before the exam:

1. Anticipate what questions may be asked: Brainstorm the main concepts, theories, or outcomes of the course. Essay questions are open-ended questions that are created from the big picture ideas that you can elaborate on and/or give your opinion.

2. Practice writing about the questions you brainstormed: Even if the topics are different than the actual exam questions, you will be better prepared for the writing and critical thinking process. If the questions are given ahead of time, take the time to brainstorm solid arguments.

3. Know the content of the course: The more familiar you are with the course content, the easier it will be to write about a given topic.

During the exam:

  1. Make sure you understand what the teacher wants in your response: Look for key words in the question to determine if you have to argue one point, compare different theories, reflect on your personal opinion, etc.

2. Make Notes: I find it helpful to write down what I know about the topic, so I have something to go back to when writing. Idea maps don’t work for me, but I know other people who swear by them. 

3. Organize and formulate an argument: Write a thesis and organize your notes to support your argument. Having a plan makes the writing process easier. 

4. Avoid writing a generalized response with a whole bunch of random facts. Even if you know a lot about the topic, the professor wants you to be able to present your facts in a focused and organized manner. Well written essays have direction and avoid redundancy.

5. Instead of focusing on the length of the essay, focus on having a well-written argument. Quality is more important than quantity.

6. Beware of the time: If you have to write more than one essay, make sure you allow enough time to answer each question. Writing two good essays is better than one excellent essay and one half finished essay.

  7. Review: If you have extra time make sure to read over your essay to make sure your ideas flow in a logical manner and fix any grammatical errors.

  I hope these tips come in handy with your upcoming exams!

-Michelle Young, yconic student ambassador
Exam Day Strategies (Part 2/3)
Believe it or not, but exams are only two and a half months away! Previously, I posted strategies about preparing for exams early on (Check it out here http://bit.ly/2nI27gf). But what about strategies on exam day? How can you prepare for success on the actual day of the exam? Here are some of my personal favorites. 

1. Prepare a roadmap 
More often than not, your teacher will give you a rundown of how the exam will be. This might be information about the exam's breakdown by unit or by the type of question (multiple choice, short answer). Be smart and try to avoid class the week prior to exams because this is when teachers will release this kind of information. Use this information to create a roadmap of how you want to write the exam the day of.This will give you directions to what you need to do in order to save the most time. For example,  my personal roadmap is: 
-Answer multiple choice by circling (no scantron) 
-Application questions
-Check multiple choice 
-Bubble in the scantron sheet
-Problem solving questions
-Final check 
My strategy that I have adopted allows me get in the groove of things by approaching the multiple choice first prior to the longer answers and allows me to check once more before bubbling the scantron in to avoid any mistakes that might cost me alot of time. I leave for the end the problem solving questions last as I know it is my weakest section when all the other sections are complete. 

2. Avoid the pre-exam speculators
There will always, without a doubt, be people standing outside the exam room panicking about the smallest details. My advice is to avoid these people at all costs. These people more often than not invoke distress with everyone (and I mean everyone) that is about to write the exam, without actually helping them study. The truth is that, your studying should not be done minutes before the exam, but rather the night before. By panicking, you are only going to confuse yourself, and others even more. 

3. Run over the exam first
When you first get your test, take 30 seconds to glance at the rest of the pages. Not only do you get to gauge how much you have to do in the time given, but you may skip something important like a periodic table, formula sheet, etc that might be of use. In addition, by glancing at the rest of the questions, you may see if there are questions that require information that you might have forgotten but may appear in the earlier pages. All in all, be as attentive and situationally aware as possible. 

Do you have some exam day strategies? Share them below!

Part 1: (http://bit.ly/2nI27gf)
Part 3 (http://bit.ly/2p0PBIj) 

-Benson Law 
Yconic Student Ambassador 
Can you negotiate your final grades?
Short answer: No. 

Most times, professors will be clear with the grading system and any rounding rules that they may have when calculating your final GPA. Even if you are 0.0001% off from the next grade level, they will unfortunately still not change it for you to keep a fair playing field for everyone. There are, however, some exceptions to this…  

1. Error in Grade Calculation: This is the obvious one. Most classes will give you a breakdown of all your grades. If there is an error, they will definitely fix it for you!
2. Appealing Grade to University: If you feel that you were not graded fairly in that particular course, you can always appeal your mark to the university directly. They will go through all of your assignments and see if there should be a change in your grade.
3. Going over Exams with Profs during Office Hours: Often, TA’s are the ones that mark your exams. Depending on whether they are essays, multiple choice, or written response, there can be a level of subjectivity. By going over your grades with your profs directly, they may be able to give you a couple points here and there which could add up to be a large difference.

yconic Student Ambassador
Tips for writing exams in gymnasiums
One of the most difficult transitions into university is the environment in which you write your final exams –most likely, huge gymnasiums with capacities of up to 500 writers. Here are some quick tips for writing exams in large gyms:  

#1: Wear Layers  
Sometimes, gyms can be freezing cold. Avoid shivering and uncomfortableness by wearing an extra layer or two.  

#2: Earplugs  
If slight noise is distracting for you, there’s no harm in bringing a set of earplugs.  

#3: Bring Only What You Need  
All you really need are typically writing utensils and sometimes a calculator. Don’t complicate things by bringing laptops, textbooks, and your  dinner. 

#4: Check Your Exam Paper Before You Start  
Multiple classes (sometimes in completely different faculties) may write exams together. There’s usually a whiteboard near the gym’s entrance which tells you which row your class’ exam will be in – but before you sit down, make sure you sit at a desk with the correct exam.

#5: Keep Hydrated  
Bring a bottle of water with you – but tear off the label before you go in.  

Have any tips for writing exams in gyms? Comment below!  

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador
Hidden Library Services Rundown for Incoming University Students

University libraries are more than study spaces – they can provide helpful services as well! If you’re starting university in the near future, here are some library services that can help you out:

#1 - Laptop Rentals

BSOD on your laptop? While you’re working on getting that sorted out, you can borrow laptops from your university library. At the Brock library, laptop rentals are available on a 4-hour basis. And if you rent within 4 hours of closing, you can keep the laptop overnight.

#2 - Exam Reserves

Your university library may have a section on its website which will link you to electronic copies of previous midterm and final exams (that professors have authorized to be made public). Brock students, check out: https://e-reserves.library.brocku.ca and click on "Looking for Exams?"

#3 - Short-Term Textbook Loans

Sometimes, professors will put copies of your course textbook on reserve at the library. You can rent them out on a short-term basis (anywhere from 1 to 4 hours). This saves you from having to buy textbooks. Brock students, check out: https://e-reserves.library.brocku.ca

#4 - Inter-Library Loans

Working on a research paper, and don’t have proper books at your university’s library? Or do you need a textbook for a class and is it not available for short-term loan? Most universities participate in Canada are part of the inter-library loan (ILL) program. This means you can borrow books from other universities across the country, all for free. Ask your librarian for how to register.

(Note: These are services that I’ve encountered based as a student at Brock University. Library services will vary by institution.)

Are there any other helpful library services that I’ve missed? Comment below!

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador

How to study for multiple choice exams
Preparing for and writing multiple choice exams was one adjustment I had to make coming out of high school and entering university. Here are my top tips for studying for an MC exam: 

1. Condense: Go through your notes and condense them down onto fewer sheets of paper, this also includes highlighting key information or collecting a list of terminology.

2. Begin Studying Early: Multiple choice exams tend to focus on details, and you cannot retain effectively in short-term memory. It is better to study for shorter sessions over a longer term.

3. Flashcards: As corny as it sounds, flashcards can do the trick when it comes to quizzing yourself with terminology or concepts before an exam.

4. Teach others: Study in groups and explain class concepts to others to solidify (Long Term Memory) the information that you are supposed to understand.

5. Double Check: Check in with your instructor to make sure you understand what topics will be covered on the exam and from which sources. It is as easy as sending an email. It is better to be sure you understand what content is covered during the exam.

6. Depth of understanding: Memorizing is not the way to go for MC. Most instructors will rephrase things in their own words, so it is more important to understand the concepts. 

7. Practice test: if there is a previous exam on file, see if you can photocopy it for practice. 8. When writing the exam: 
a. Do not get hung up on a question, star it and come back to it when you have the time.
b. Look for key words and ignore extra info not needed to answer the question. 
c. Don’t second guess yourself, your first answer is more likely the right answer.

I hope this list helps as you prepare for finals!

  -Michelle Young, yconic student ambassador
mcmaster life science vs mcmaster kinesology
I'm having trouble deciding between these two. I find both of them to be appealing.  
how are the programs different from each other besides the obvious. which one would I have a greater success in? 
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What motivates you to work hard at school?

It takes a great deal of motivation to get through any undergraduate program; you must juggle your newfound freedom with assignments and examinations. Here’s a few things that motivated me to work hard at school:

#1: Remembering My Inve$tment

When you get to university, classes aren’t free like they are in high school. Each time I submitted a tuition payment, bought a textbook, and paid for my student housing, it was a reminder to myself that I needed to deliver academically.

#2: Lists

I used to write down everything I needed to do in a given week. Each time I completed something, I crossed it off my list. Sometimes I was surprised to see how much I got done – and seeing a visual of my completed tasks helped pump me up for the next week.

#3: Getting To Know My Professors

One thing that worked for me was getting to know some of my professors. As I struck up friendships and commonalities with them, it made me want to work harder in their classes – slacking made me feel like I was letting them down.

#4: My Co-op Experiences

As an accounting student, my classes weren’t the most interesting. What motivated me to do well were my co-op experiences – I knew that while studying accounting wasn’t necessarily fun, I enjoyed the work. Also, the fact that I had co-workers depending on me to come back was motivating as well.

What motivates you to work hard at school? Comment below!

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador

Time-Management for Finals: Reverse Engineered Agenda
Nearing the end of my first year, I can tell you that time management is the number one key to being successful. As you may commonly hear, the most difficult times are midterms and finals, as you are forced study for your exams while continuing to complete your regular assignments. Want the best strategy for time-management? Try out the Reverse Engineered Agenda!  

Step 1: Do the Usual by putting in dates of tests/events on your calendar.  

Step 2: Accordingly, to your life events, go BACKWARDS and account for how many days that are needed to study for that particular test. Give that day a “point” (Usually for larger exams, I would have “1 Point” for each lecture of class). 

Step 3: Shift your schedule accordingly. Each day should not have more than 3 points in order to have ample time to complete your studies. 

This is a great method that I learned at the University of Calgary’s Success Center and it has been extremely helpful for me moving forward. Have any time-management methods that work for you? Share them down in the comments below. 

yconic Student Ambassador