Admissions Blog

Change to UBC Biochemistry prerequisite

By Admissions on December 9, 2011

We have made a change to our biochemistry requirement for UBC students. BIOC 300 will no longer be offered as of September 2012. In its place, students will take a new course, BIOC 202 and BIOC 302.  We will continue to accept BIOL 201/BIOC 302, although students should note that by taking BIOC 202/302 they will be better prepared for the biochemistry component of first year medicine. This stream is recommended, as it has a human focus and is designed for students planning to enter the health sciences fields, including medicine.  Students in the biochemistry program will take BIOC 203 and 303, though we will only include the grade for BIOC 303 in the prerequisite average. BIOC 300 is of course still acceptable for the biochemistry prerequisite if taken before September 2012.

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Suitable referees

By Admissions on November 18, 2011

We are getting a number of inquiries from applicants invited for interview asking about the suitability of referees. Please refer to the Supplemental Application section of the Interview Information page where there is a link to suggestions of who we consider to be appropriate referees. These are our guidelines and we are unable to provide any further information as to whether a particular referee would be suitable, or if one is better than another. The choice is yours, but please make sure your referees feel comfortable that they know you sufficiently well to be able to answer all the questions.

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FAQs for applicants not invited for interview

By Admissions on November 15, 2011

For those of you who unfortunately did not make it to the interview stage, we do realize how disappointed you must feel and recognize that many of you may have questions. The Admissions Office is unable to provide any further information about our evaluation process, but here are answers to some of the most frequent questions we are asked at this stage.

I received a Regrets, No Interview letter with my academic and non-academic scores. Can I get more information on the definition of these scores?

We cannot provide any further details or specifics regarding the results of your file evaluation. There is detailed information on our evaluation criteria, including non-academic scoring, listed on our website:

You may also find it helpful to review the Interim Statistics on our website to assist you in determining the competiveness of your file:

I was not invited for an interview; can I talk/meet with someone to discuss my application?

Due to limited resources, we regret that we are not able to offer any feedback advising to applicants who were not granted an interview, nor can we provide any further information about the evaluation of your file. It’s obviously not as satisfactory, but you may wish to attend any of the small group information sessions offered at all of our distributed sites (dates, times & locations are listed on our website). Although these sessions are generally geared to prospective applicants, those considering reapplying may also find them helpful.

I think that there has been a mistake in the academic evaluation of my file.

This year, with the new on-line application, the academic evaluation was based on the credits and grades entered by applicants. If you believe that there has been a specific error, please send an email via the on-line application detailing what you believe the mistake to be. Please note that some applicants entered wrong information – eg. did not include all courses, excluded failed courses or used letter grades instead of percentages. In these instances the Admissions Office had to correct these mistakes by verifying courses and grades on official transcripts. Therefore, there may be a discrepancy between averages calculated by an applicant & the grades as they appear on the Application Status page of his/her application.

The calculation of the AQ Score is automatically performed by the online application system, so as long as your OGPA or AGPA (if applicable) is correct, your AQ Score is also correct.  Your AQ Score might seem low, but if your OGPA or AGPA is right then your AQ Score is right, too.  As an additional note try not to compare your AQ score to the one you received last cycle – remember that this year there is no Last 60 credits component, and the score is out of 50 this year rather than 25, so it’s not a very useful comparison.

I thought I should have been eligible for the Adjusted Academic Average to determine my academic score, but it does not seem to have been used.

The AGPA was calculated based on the courses & grades entered by applicants. The on-line system automatically determined (a) the lowest academic year which could be eliminated and (b) if this year could be dropped (i.e. that there were still 90 remaining credits). The Admissions Office verified that grades had been entered accurately by comparison with the official transcripts.

My overall is slightly below the cut-offs posted but I still feel my non-academic experiences are very strong and should have been reviewed.

Although we look for excellent non-academic qualities, these must also be accompanied by very good academic qualities to demonstrate an applicant’s ability to successfully handle the rigorous MD Undergraduate curriculum. It was determined that a lower AQ score (below 75% for BC and below 80% for OOP) cannot be offset by a strong NAQ score; hence these files were not reviewed.

I attended a university that did not use percentages for its grading scheme. How did UBC calculate averages from universities with different grading schemes?

Please see information on our grade conversions:]

I am not happy with the non-academic score I received, can I request another review? 

We appreciate that you may be dissatisfied with the scoring of the non-academic portion of your file, but would like to assure you that the non-academic portion of your application was reviewed and evaluated fairly and consistently. We will not re-evaluate the non-academic section of your file. At the beginning of each cycle, with guidelines provided by the Admissions Policy Committee, we establish a profile of an average applicant as a benchmark and points are allotted accordingly. Reviewers are trained and files are cross-checked. Although there cannot help but be a degree of subjectivity involved, we feel the standardized process keeps this to a minimum.

I was not invited for an interview and would like to appeal the decision.

We realize the importance of your application and appreciate that the results may be disappointing. Please be aware that we do our best to ensure that our evaluation practices are fair and consistent. Files are often double and sometimes triple checked to ensure accuracy. While we are unable to discuss your application over the phone, you may email Admissions through your on-line application if you have any specific concerns regarding your file evaluation. Please note that we will not re-evaluate the non-academic section of your file. We will not make appointments with the Dean, Associate Dean, Director or an Advisor/Coordinator to discuss your application.

I’m not sure if I am seeing the right thing under the Scores line on my Application Status page.

The scores you see depend on your application status (refer to the interview decision email you received if you aren’t sure about your specific application status).  Applicants whose files are ineligible and applicants invited for an interview don’t see any scores, so their Scores line says “no scores found.”  Applicants whose application status is Partial File Review can see their OGPA, and if they are eligible for it, their AGPA.  Applicants with an application status of Regrets, No Interview see several scores: OGPA, AGPA (if eligible), AQ Score, NAQ Score, and TFR Score.

You may also wish to review the FAQ section on our website:

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Interview notifications are quickly approaching

By Admissions on October 31, 2011

As you may or may not have noticed, the application timeline has recently been updated. The interview notifications (invites and regrets) will be sent during the week of November 14-18. Your application status can change at any point throughout the day (8:30-4:30 PST). We wish we could give you a specific date/time, but there are many checks that must be completed before we email the letters to you and we don’t want to get your  hopes up in case something is delayed.

If you are one of the lucky 640 applicants to be invited for interview this year, in addition to your invitation letter, you will receive information on how to book your interview, specific information relating to the interview and special events, and how to complete the supplemental application by the Feb. 15 deadline. This year you will be able to book your interview online through the online application system. Interviews are scheduled on a “first-come, first-served” basis, no exceptions. All applicants invited for interview will have access to the booking system at exactly the same time. If you have exceptional circumstances determining when you can interview, make sure that you schedule your interview early. We will not be able to give you a different date or time if the dates you need are already full. The deadline for booking an interview is November 28 at 12:00 (noon) PST.

For more information relating to the style and format of the  interviews, please see the “Interviews” page of our website. It has also been updated and will give you a good idea of what to expect this year.

Good luck and we’ll be in touch in a couple of weeks!

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2011-12 application cycle update

By Admissions on October 12, 2011

This has been (and continues to be) a very busy time for the Admissions Office evaluating files for this current cycle. We are very pleased that so many of you want to apply to our program and we thank you for your effort filling out the application, especially the Transcript section.  We know it was quite a task for some of you!  Regarding grades, as a reminder we are now converting each letter grade into a percentage, based on Table 1 or Table 2 as applicable.  Percentage grades are not converted

There is another change this year –  the AQ (Academic) and the NAQ (Non-Academic) Qualities scores will each be out of 50 instead of 25, to give a combined score out of 100. This will mean the TFR (Total File Review) score to determine which applicants will be invited for interview will be very different from last year. The AQ score will be based solely on applicants’ Overall Academic Average or Adjusted Academic Average (if applicable). We cannot yet say what the cut-off for interview will be. MCAT scores and the prerequisite average still are not factors at this stage in the process.

The Admissions Statistics for the 2011 entering class (MED 2015) have been posted on our website:

As you can see, we continue to attract and admit applicants with very strong academic backgrounds.

A heads up for next year – the application deadline will be later, September 17, 2012 and as so many applicants have attended post-secondary institutions outside of North America, next year we will require a WES or ICES evaluation for everyone, even if you were just on an exchange. This is because evaluating foreign transcripts can be a very time-consuming business and also it can be advantageous to have a WES or ICES evaluation done, as they convert all grades, from whichever country, to a North American scale, which is a very helpful comparison for us.


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