Are you interested in applying to the Health Sciences Program (BHSc) at Mcmaster University? Wondering what the admission requirements are? What marks are required? What extra curriculars? Well Isabella got in and she's going to describe her grade 12 experience prior to acceptance!

What were your marks in all of your grade 11 and 12 courses?

Grade 11:
Chemistry (SCH3U) – 97
Biology (SBI3U) – 99
Functions (MCR3U) – 99
Physics (SPH3U) – 90
English (ENG3U) – 85
French (FIF4U) - 90

Grade 12:
Chemistry (SCH4U) – 99
Biology (SBI4U) - 98
Advanced Functions (MHF4U) – 98
Data Management (MDM4U) – 99
AP Calculus and Vectors (MCV4U) – 95
Physics (SPH4U) - 96
English (ENG4U) - 90

When did you receive your acceptance?

May 12th

What subject(s) are you best at? Weakest at? Was it always like this? What are your favourite subjects?

Best subjects- math (Advanced Functions and Data Management), Biology and Chemistry
Weakest subjects- English
Favourite subjects- Biology and Advanced Functions

All throughout school, starting even in elementary school, I was always strong in math and sciences, and struggled slightly with the English classes. This could be as a result of only learning french from JK to grade 3 and only having one to two hours of english a day until grade 7.

Did you work during your grade 12 year? If so, how many hours per week? How did it affect your studying?

During my grade 12 year (as well as grade 10 and grade 11) I worked at a local pharmacy in the dispensary. On average, I would work approximately 12 hours a week. It did not affect my studying since I was able to prioritize my time effectively. On days that I would work, I would spend more time at school studying (during breaks and lunch).

What were your study habits like? Were they the same everyday?

I had very good study habits and they were slightly different each day depending on what I had going on. Oftentimes I would spend the second part of my lunch in the library studying or trying to finish assignments. On the days that I had basketball practice I would stay at the school until my practice to study and finish homework (classes were over at 3pm and basketball practice started at 6:30pm). Almost every night before I went to bed I would also spend about 2-3 hours on school work

My favourite place to study and where I was the most productive was at a desk in the office at school. This spot was quiet most of the time and had a large space that allowed me to spread out my papers and books.

Even though I had good study habits, I was/still am the queen of procrastination. In order to focus better I would often turn my phone off or tell myself that I have to do work for a certain amount of time before checking my phone again. If my friends were around when I was trying to study I would get distracted easily and was not able to do work unless we were studying for the same thing.

What extracurricular activities did you participate in? Did it affect your studying?

From grade 3 to grade 11 I swam competitively, and towards the end of my career I was practicing about 10-12 hours a week. I strongly believe that it did not have a negative affect on my studying as it taught proper time management. Swimming taught me how to stay focused and this contributed to my good marks all throughout school.

Starting in grade 7 and continuing on until covid hit, I played rep basketball. I was practicing approximately 5 hours a week and had games/tournaments every other weekend. I believe that this also helped me improve my time management skills, and allowed me to be more productive and efficient while studying.

I also played on the highschool basketball, volleyball, soccer and baseball team each year. With most teams we had a mandatory study practice and this allowed me to be able to get lots of work and studying done.

I was involved in many sports teams, but I truly believe that they allowed me to improve my time management skills, which contributed to my good marks. Being a student-athlete only helped me get better, and did not have a negative affect on my studying.

Briefly describe your 3 closest friends (or the 3 people you most talked to and spent the most time with) during your grade 12 year. Did they have any affect on your results in grade 12?

Friend #1:

  • Best friend, spent most time with her in and out of school
  • Mid 90’s average
  • Played on most sports teams
  • More of an introvert (unlike myself)
  • Very supportive
  • Helped each other study and complete assignments
  • Was more of a last minute studier
  • Supports my iced coffee addictions
  • Attending University of Toronto for Kinesiology
  • Had a positive affect on my grade 12 results


Friend #2:

  • Good friend
  • Low 80’s average
  • Played a few sports
  • Pretty outgoing
  • Did not talk about school much
  • More focused on hanging out with friends and having a good time
  • Interactions only really took place at school, in the library, or at work
  • Pretty supportive
  • Always did homework, but never truly understood the topics
  • Doing a victory lap
  • Did not really have an affect on my grade 12 results


Friend #3

  • My sister, only a year older than me, is taking Biomed at the University of Guelph
  • High 80’s average
  • Played lots of sports
  • Very supportive
  • Helped me with some assignments as she took all the same classes in highschool
  • Influenced a lot of things that I did
  • Hung out with her all the time and was on facetime often
  • Helped make my grade 12 year very successful

What advice would you give to someone when they’re preparing for the supplementaries in the application process (interviews, forms, etc)? What mistakes did you feel you made in this process? How would you have prepared differently to avoid these mistakes?

My best advice would be to start doing research on the question as soon as they are released. Gather as much information as possible and start creating your answer. That way you have a few weeks or months to edit your answer to reflect your true abilities.

There were three questions that required a long answer. The first question was in regards to the Indigenous community, the second question required you to choose an institution from the list provided and explain why you would want to work for them, and finally for the last question you were given a set of data and you had to explain or try to explain why the numbers occurred as they did.

One thing that I would change in how I approached these questions would be to start doing research right away. I waited until the week before to start collecting information and this caused unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Why did you choose McMaster for Health Science? What are you looking to get out of the program (during and after)?

I chose McMaster for Health Sciences as it is one of the best pre-med programs in Canada. The curriculum and learning style was very appealing to me since there is a big emphasis on understanding the material and group work rather than memorizing and forgetting the content after the midterm or exam was taken.

The courses have not started yet, but the sense of community within the program is so wonderful and I have already made so many friends.

While taking Health Sciences I want to participate in a lot of research, volunteer, make lots of friends and gain as much knowledge as I can.

I am hoping that this program will help me get my foot in the door of medicine, and prepare me to apply and hopefully get accepted into med school.

If you were able to go back to the day before Grade 12 started and give yourself advice, what would it be?

Everything happens for a reason and things will work out the way they are suppose to be

Believe in yourself, you are capable of doing a lot more than you think you can

The hardwork will pay off in the end, don’t give up

You need to believe in yourself in order to reach your full potential. At the end of grade 11, in the financing unit of functions, my class had to choose the job that you could see yourself doing and where you want to live, and from there you had to figure out if you could afford it and work out the mortgage etc. At that point, I did not believe in myself and I did not think that I would be smart enough to make it into med school or Health Sciences at McMaster, so I decided on a job that does not reflect my true abilities. My teacher pulled me aside and asked why I did not put “doctor” as my job and told me that she believed in me and that if I keep working hard that anything is possible. Once I started believing in myself, I worked much harder and one year later I was accepted into my dream program at University. I also increased my average by over 3% from grade 11 to grade 12.