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New MMI Video Available Next Week

February 12th, 2016 by Dr Ian Walker

Recognizing that the MMI sample videos we have posted on our website all feature fairly traditional MMI scenarios, we just finished producing one using one of our more recent “unusual” ones.  Unfortunately it is too big to upload here, but it will be available on our website sometime early next week.

Enjoy, and thanks to the volunteers who agreed to appear in the video.

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66 responses so far ↓

  • Hi Dr. Walker,

    Thanks so much for your transparency through this process – it is much appreciated.

    Would you mind sharing whether there are seperate wait lists for in-province and out-of-province applicants, or if it is one list?

    Thank you in advance.

  • Hello Dr. Walker,
    When will the scores for unsuccessful applicants (pre interview) be available? The admission offers are out and I was wondering if it will be available soon. Last year they were available to applicants early, so hopefully this year it will be up soon.

    • Scores will be available after the first day of classes, which is early July. Same as last year.

      • Thanks for your response. The scores were available to pre interview unsuccessful applicants in April last year. It helps us a lot in terms of planning to reapply if we know the scores. I think you are referring to the scores for students who were unsuccessful post interview.

  • Hi,

    Would it be possible for you to share how many people were put on ‘waitlist’?
    Thank you

  • Hi Dr. Walker,

    Now that admissions offers have been released, how long will it be before we can view our scores if we were unsuccessful?

    Thanks!

  • Dear Dr. Walker,

    Would you mind telling us approximately how many people who get acceptances had verifiers that were contacted?

    • Take a deep breath pathoma. No use in overthinking things. It will only make waiting for May 4th tougher. Best of luck!

    • Verifiers are contacted at random, and we start the process before we have even an prospective rank order list at our disposal, so you can’t predict anything about acceptance / rejection based on whether verifiers have been contacted or not.

  • Hi Dr. Walker,

    Any update on when admissions offers are expected to be released?
    Is the admissions office planning on releasing them on May 15th like U of A?

    Thank you!

    • Hopefully not! Given the UofC is starting earlier this year (now 2 months earlier than UofA), it would be nice for those getting an initial offer from UofC to have some time to get their lives in order on such short notice.

      I’m also not sure if the UofC is aware of this, but May offers of admission make things very difficult for grad students. For example, if a grad student wants to complete their degree in time for their grad GPA to count in October (should re-application be necessary), they need to have everything done by April 30 in order to convocate in June and have their diploma by October. A day later than April 30, and they don’t get their degree until the November convocation so can’t use their grad GPA in October. One might say, just get it done for April, but then there’s an even bigger issue at stake: finance. Most MSc or PhD students have an external scholarship, and if you finish in April, you’re funding gets cut off at that point. So even if you do get accepted to med school, you lose out on your summer income, which is about $2500 per month. If we heard about MD offers in April, we would know if we needed scramble to have everything handed in to get a GPA boost in October (if we were rejected), or if we are accepted, we could properly finish everything in June to continue to receive funding/income until med school starts. I’d imagine it’s even worse for PhD’s. Some of their awards can transition to MD/PhD awards, so if they knew about offers in April they could join LIM officially and continue receiving funding during their MD. As it is now, the PhDs have to gamble on defending early to get a GPA boost in October if needed, or hold off from defending in hopes of getting accepted and then officially joining LIM. This is a huge deal – nearly $100,000 on the line for them with this decision if offers go out in May.

      So my central point in all of this: any chance of hearing about offers in April?

      • But hasn’t U of C always started earlier during the summer by virtue of being a three year program?

        • U of C is starting 3 weeks earlier than last year because they made the Population Health course a 3-week course rather than a longitudinal course. Dr. Walker said this below: “Last year we sent out offers earlier due to issues related to MCAT registrations. This year, we will not be sending out offers until the first week of May. We have our last admissions committee meeting on May 4th.”

      • Dr. Walker’s response to this question a little ways down this comment thread:

        “Last year we sent out offers earlier due to issues related to MCAT registrations. This year, we will not be sending out offers until the first week of May. We have our last admissions committee meeting on May 4th.”

        So, first week of May, between May 4-6.

      • I was also wondering about the grad student policy. Instead of having a degree in hand by Oct 1 to qualify for using your grad GPA, would this be sufficient for the upcoming cycle?

        http://www.grad.ucalgary.ca/current/managing-my-program/convocation#quickset-field_collection_quicktabs_4

        The bottom tab “How do I obtain Confirmation of my Degree?” indicates there is an official document from the Faculty of Graduate Studies confirming that all degree requirements are complete and the degree will be conferred at the next convocation. Other schools have equivalent letters confirming completion. Given convocation only happens 3 times per year (one of which being November, after the MD application deadline), using a form like this would still allow the UofC to restrict the grad GPA policy to those who have officially completed all degree requirements before the Oct 1 deadline.

        Would something like this be acceptable by MD admissions as evidence of completing the graduate degree, and thus being eligible to take advantage of the grad GPA policy for the upcoming cycle?

        • Short answer is no, you have to have the physical diploma in hand in order for it to count. I believe Dr. Walker has addressed a similar question in the comments section of one of this year’s blog posts.

          • Thanks, but I’m not asking about last year’s policy, I’m asking about the upcoming year. I’m aware of last year’s policy and Dr. Walkers previous post – he said the policy may be reconsidered, so I’m wondering if that is still a possibility for the upcoming cycle as the new applicant manual is not yet released.

          • No decisions have been made yet about policy for next year. I am afraid you will have to wait for the release of the new applicant manual.

          • Sure would be nice to be able to include the graduate GPA for those of us who defend after the June convocation deadline. While I won’t have my diploma by October 1, I’ll be all done my graduate degree by the first week of June and I can get a letter from the School of Graduate Studies confirming that I have completed my degree. Most graduate students don’t operate on a semester schedule and defend at random times, and I can’t speak for all departments but mine certainly didn’t give a hoot about trying to push my paperwork through so that I could defend in April, so that I could convocate in June… etc.

          • Yeah, we hear you. It is an issue that we revisit from time to time.

    • May 15th is a Sunday. I wonder why UofA is releasing on a Sunday.

      • In previous years, when May 15th was a weekend day, the decisions were released on the preceding Friday. Ours could be May 13th.

  • Quick question. Hypothetically, if we are offered admission when the final decisions come out, how long (ie how many days) do we have to confirm the acceptance of the offer?

    • Initially, the deadline to respond will be May 27th, by agreement with other medical schools. Once the waitlist starts to move, response times will be 5 days or less. Towards the end, it gets down to two days.

  • Dear Dr. Walker,

    I was wondering if there is a re-standardization step of the pre-MMI scores following the selection of interviewees?

    I ask because looking at the previous years’ statistics, it appears that scoring system is weighted towards the MMI, due to the wider spreads of MMI scores compared to pre-MMI.

    • Hi R,

      You bring up a good point that I have been pondering as well.

      I have not applied previously, but looking at the posted reference statistics from 2013/2014 it seems as though the range of raw scores for the pre-MMI is significantly smaller than the MMI scores.

      The distribution shows that virtually all of the pre-MMI scores for the interview pool is above 100, whereas the MMI raw scores have a range that extends quite a bit lower. When looking at the total application score for the interviewers there is a range from 155 to 250, so if essentially all interview applicants have a score of 100 plus, then MMI scores can be as low as approximately 50.

      What we are noticing may be the result of the pre-MMI score not being standardized to the interview pool, like the MMI scores.

      If this is the case then there will be a significantly higher weighting towards the MMI.

      I just wanted to clarify, but is this what you are getting at R?

    • Well spotted, it looks like we have someone who studied hard for stats here! Yes, if my memory serves me right, this problem was discovered in the admissions procedure a couple years ago and has since been addressed by renormalizing the pre-interview scores of everyone who is interviewed. There is probably a blog post about it, but I can’t find it.

      • Wow My mind was just blown by this. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of this myself before.
        If they do re-calibrate it for people who have receive interviews, it would be nice if we received both an unadjusted and an adjusted pre-interview score during the feedback so we know where we stood among those who received an interview as well.

      • Hi N.N,

        Even though the stats are not posted from last cycle, based on personal experience I do not think there was a re-normalization step applied.

        I believe last year the pre-MMI score distributed across all applicants was used in the calculations of the final score.

        However, if there is a re-normalization step, then interviewees in the lower percentile (in the pool of interviewees) would have scores below 100 (likely as low as 60-70s). If that range matches the range of scores from the MMI, you achieve a 50-50 split.

        BUT it also means interviewees in the lower percentiles have virtually no chance of receiving an admission offer. So, their efforts of making transportation and accommodation arrangements to the interview is for a lost cause.

        ______________

        A VERY rough estimate of the pre-MMI and MMI weighting gave me a split of:

        25% pre-MMI, 75% MMI for last year’s cycle.

        For this year’s cycle, I believe it will be closer to:

        30% pre-MMI and 70% MMI

        (This would be due to lower number of total applicants, and therefore, a higher percentage of total applicants receiving interviews)

        ______________

        I have also attempted to work out the numbers for a sample scenario where:

        person A scores 80th percentile pre-MMI, 20th percentile MMI
        person B scores 20th percentile pre-MMI, 80th percentile MMI*

        ( * Both pre-MMI and MMI percentiles comparing to the pool of interviewees)

        person A and B should approximately have the same final score, assuming the pre-MMI and MMI scores are weighted equally at 50% each.

        But we can *approximate* the following scores

        person A would score: 112 pre-MMI, 90 MMI
        person B would score: 106 pre-MMI, 110 MMI

        person A total: 202
        person B total: 216

        ______________

        I understand I am speculating a lot in this post, and I also know Dr. Walker and the admission committee have spent a lot more time than us reviewing the process. Hopefully Dr. Walker can give us the clarification so we can stop speculating.

        • @jgh, when you say 20th pre-MMI score for person A, I’m assuming that is respective to the interviewee pool and not the overall applicant pool, correct?

          Your analysis does seem logical.

        • We have not, for mostly logistical reasons, been able to restandardize the pre-MMI scores, so your assessment that, in fact, the MMI likley contributes more than 50% of the variance is correct. That said, the other part of your ananlysis is also correct in that on our current system, everyone invited to interview has at least a chance of getting an offer of admission. Given that we offer fewer than 50% of the people we interview, it is imperitive that the last person invited for interview still has a path to success.

    • I don’t think they get re-standardized. My final score from last year appears to use my pre-MMI score as compared to all applicants.

  • How can the medical program honestly say that there is no gender bias in the admissions process when successful male applicanrts appear to be significantly under represented year after year?

    • I believe that gender ratio is influenced by the admissions criteria each school considers.
      Western (UWO), for example, has a heavy emphasis on MCAT and GPA (academic components) with minimal regard for CV/ LoR (people skills?)– their classes often have more males than females.
      UofC, in contrast, has a heavy focus on CANMeds based on Top 10s (CV) and LoR (people skills) and a lesser focus on GPA/MCAT (academics), and females tend to fair better subsequently.
      This is simply a reflection of the general strengths of males and females in my opinion. Not really backed up my data so feel free to correct me if anyone has data that says otherwise.

      I also believe Dr. Ian Walker mentioned in a previous podcast that the gender ratio was something they were aware of and looking into more.

      • I would agree. It is well documented that men do better at the MCAT and have higher GPA’s. If you have a process that weights those components more, you will have more men in your classes? Is that good or bad? Totally depends on what you are trying to do with your med school classes. Interestingly, nationally, all the schools together accept men and women in pretty much exactly the same proportion that they apply to medical school.

    • Calgary’s published reference statistics of approximately 60%/40% f/m acceptance for their medical school program in 2014 may simply reflect the inequality in male and female participation at Canadian universities in general. The population of Canadian universities was found to be 60%/40% f/m evaluated from 2006 census data (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/81-004-x/2008001/article/10561-eng.htm).

      Just something I thought about when I researched the Calgary admission numbers after considering your question.

      • J,

        Your comment to explain a 60%/40% female/male participation at Canadian universities would apply if there was a similar ratio of female/male applicants to medical school at UofC. But this is not the case.

        In 2013, there were only 8.8% more female applicants to medical school, but 24.6% more female applicants were accepted compared to male. In 2014, the numbers were 5.2% and 18.6% respectively. The stats for 2015 have not been released yet.

        Yes, more women have applied to medical school recently, but this difference is not in agreement with the ratio of female/male applicants who received an offer for medical school.

        • The ratio for 2015 is 67% to 33% F/M if memory serves. The stats from the med school aren’t up but the enrolment data is out there.

        • Another way to look at it is, based on 2013/14 reference statistics, males had a 15% chance of being admitted, whereas females had a 20% chance. Therefore, females are about 33% more likely than males to be admitted to UofC Med.

        • That is an interesting point IG. Without access to full file review data to compare the defined categories I can only speculate on the matter.
          I was merely thinking that if there are more women in higher education and grading typically follows a normal distribution that it would follow that there would be larger numbers of academically competitive women than men that could potentially apply to the medical program. If there is any merit in the thought it is likely only part of a more complicated answer.

    • There is no question that for the last few years, women have outnumbered men in our classes. That is not a secret. It is also not a secret that women perform better on our MMI than men. In schools that have a greater emphasis on the MCAT (particularly the non VR / CARS sections) that often counterbalances the effect of interviews. As we put significantly less emphasis on MCAT’s and GPA vis a vis MMI, it is not a big surprise that women tend to do better in our process. It is also interesting, that for some reason, women are more likely to accept our offers of admission than men, and that is of course entirely outside of our sphere of control.
      Whether that represents bias is an open question. Women do better in our process. That could be because the traits we are looking for in our process are more commonly found in women, or it be because the the process if biased. To claim the later, you would need to show that the process is less predictive of success in women than in men. Not saying that is not possible, but it will be difficult, and has not be done as of yet. For now, I remain agnostic on the question.

      • Dr. Walker, is it true that the interviewers are not allowed (or are discouraged) to give any their interviewees the same score out of 10 for the subjective half of the station score? (I.e. are they prevented from giving more than one 8,9,10,etc?)

      • That is really interesting. Especially since the opposite seems to be true for Western. I’ve been told by a friend that the gender split of their OFFERS is nearly 50/50, meaning that the gap occurs due to more men accepting their offers, not before.

  • Any idea when scores will be available for viewing on our UCAN applications?

  • Hi Dr. Walker,

    I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed my MMI and I was really impressed by how welcoming the school was. Thank you for making the experience so enjoyable!

    I heard that offers went out on April 21st last year, which is much earlier than the May 15th predicted date. Was this solely due to the requirement of the new MCAT for the following year, or can we expect a similar deadline this year?

    Thank you very much

    • Along that same line, are the scores normalized somehow for different MMI days? Is that what causes the long delay after the MMIs until offers/regrets? Also, do scores for unsuccessful applicants come out at the same time?

    • Last year we sent out offers earlier due to issues related to MCAT registrations. This year, we will not be sending out offers until the first week of May. We have our last admissions committee meeting on May 4th.

  • Hi, question from an OOP applicant:

    How many offers were made in previous years to OOP applicants from the waiting list?

    Thanks.

  • Quick question about the format of the interview this year. The last email said stations will be 8 minutes. Does that mean 8 minutes inside of the room to answer the question or do the task? Or is it 8 minutes total including the two minutes outside the room to read the prompt?

  • Just a short note to say the “new” MMI was fantastic, Dr. Walker. Thank you for shaking things up a bit.

  • Unrelated question, will the class size this year be similar to last year?

    • Last weekend Dr. Walker said that while they do not have the final decision from the Minister of Education, there is no indication that it will be different from last year’s class of 155

      • Interesting. I wonder when cuts to med school seats will begin considering how residency spots have decreased this year and will decrease more next year.

        Glad it isn’t this year though.

  • Hi Dr. Walker, I am applying for the class of 2020. I registered for the MCAT last February 10, and my testing date is on September 1. I’ve been looking for information about the last eligible sitting date – and I want to verify if the September 1 test date (with an October 4 release date) be fine? I think this might be a piece of information that your office can communicate ahead of time as test spots easily fill up, and the registration begins in February and the manual gets released in July. Thank you very much.

    • From the admissions website: “The last MCAT exam sitting we will accept for the 2016 application cycle will be August 25th, 2016”

  • Well that’s very considerate to us applicants; thanks!