McMaster BHSc: Supplementary Essay Examples & Templates

If you are looking for guidance on the McMaster Health Sciences (BHSc) Supplementary Application, as well as essay examples and templates, then you’ve come to the right place.

This Application Prep guide is fully updated with the 2021/2022 application.

Before you dive in, it’s important to understand that the admissions committees receive thousands of applications every year. To help set you apart from the crowd, you need to write essays that demonstrate your strong problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication skills, while also showing who you are, where you came from, and what’s important to you. 

We recommend reading both our Deductive Communication Approach and Narrative Communication Approach skills guides to empower you with the skills to communicate in a clear, compelling, and concise manner.

You’ll notice the essay templates below follow these communicative formats. The purpose of sharing these structures is to help teach you best-practice processes for communication.

Using this structure does not mean your essays will be the same as other students because it is designed to help you create unique answers that are completely authentic to your individual identity and experiences.

We also suggest following the 5-step essay writing process we teach (scroll to the bottom of each communication skills guide).

If you’re serious about getting into McMaster Health Sciences and reaching your fullest post-secondary potential, connect with a coach. It’s never too early to receive coaching.

For more information about McMaster BHSc, check out this free Program Guide and this informative video that one of our coaches, a McMaster alumna and former Supp App reviewer, created to help students just like you. 

Table of Contents 

  1. 2021/2022 McMaster BHSc Supplementary Essays: Questions; Tips for Writing; Templates; Examples; and More.
  2. 2020/2021 McMaster BHSc Supplementary Essays: Questions; Tips for Writing; Templates; Examples; and More.

2021/2022 McMaster Health Sciences (BHSc) Application

For each question, applicants may choose between three options (A, B, or C).

Before getting started, you must choose the right question for YOU. That’s why we created the McMaster BHSc Supp App Success Checklist (go to File > Make a Copy).

Fill out Step 1 and Step 2 of the checklist so you can dive into one question with confidence.

The worst feeling is spending hours on an essay, then reconsidering if you should be answering another question, so save yourself time and start here.

McMaster BHSc Essay Question 1

Question 1 is very personal, which is why we suggest using the Narrative Communication Approach in your response. In other words, you need to tell a story. Stories are more memorable for readers.

McMaster BHSc Essay Question 1A – Breakdown

1977 Chemistry Nobel Prize -winner Ilya Prigogine said, “The future is uncertain…but this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity.” The COVID-19 pandemic has given us all profound lessons at living with uncertainty and being creative. What is something that has changed during the pandemic that you think should continue afterward? How do you think the ‘new normal’ after COVID-19 should be different from the ‘old’?

Have you seen the movie The Butterfly Effect (2004) with Ashton Kutcher?

It’s a bit of a disturbing movie, but it highlights the concept of ‘chaos theory‘, which Prigogine co-developed. Essentially, it means that one small change in conditions can lead to unpredictable variation in the future state of a system. For example, if you change any decision made in your life, you have no idea how that will impact your life down the road.

Ilya Prigogine co-authored a book called The End of Certainty, and is most widely known for his view that no events in the world can be perfectly determined. There is always a level of probability attached to any event. An example that will resonate the most is the fact that the weather cannot ever be predicted with perfect accuracy. Here’s a video that summarizes some of his views.

This question is an opportunity for you to think creatively. Refrain from a first-order answer. In other words, stating an obvious outcome from COVID-19, such as “it made the world much more sanitary”, “it improved our vaccine approval process”, or “it reduced greenhouse gasses in the world.” Only use these if there’s an authentic personal connection.

Instead, think about what you would never have expected the pandemic to influence. Choose a topic that allows you to give personal insight about who you are.

For example, if you listened to a lot of podcasts throughout the pandemic, you could argue this made you (and others) a better listener—then tell describe a real example of how this has played out in your life.

Or, if you’re passionate about women’s issues, you could talk about how the countries with female leaders had better success navigating COVID-19. Will this help more women be in charge through future crises? Could this help reduce the gender inequity gap?

McMaster BHSc Essay Question 1A – Template

Here’s a framework, using the Narrative Communication Approach, that you can use to answer the question logically, while appealing to the emotion of the reader.

This is a two-component question, so make sure you answer both components:

  1. What is something that has changed during the pandemic you think you should continue?
  2. How do you think post-pandemic should be different from the old?

Get started on your template here (click File > Make a Copy within the doc).

  • Part 1: Hook – Optional (~100 characters)
    • Capture the reader’s attention and give a preview of what’s to come.
  • Part 2: Context (~300 characters)
    • Describe how things worked pre-pandemic in the area you’re going to focus your essay on. Give a personal example or perspective that really resonates with you.
  • Part 3: Catalyst (~500 characters)
    • Highlight the change that was catalyzed because of the conditions of the pandemic. Make sure you clearly answer this. Then, elaborate about what happened during the pandemic at a macro level (global) and a micro level (personal) as it relates to the issue you’re discussing.
  • Part 4: Outcome (~400 characters)
    • Describe, in detail, how you think the post-pandemic should continue, so we don’t simply reverse to pre-pandemic ways? Why would this be a good thing for society?
  • Part 5: Reflection (~200 characters)
    • Wrap it up by making a short statement that relates back to the theme of the question, “uncertainty and creativity”, and how that ties to you, your pursuit of science, and what you want to accomplish in the future.
McMaster BHSc Essay Question 1A – Example

Since we’re passionate about coaching and mentorship, our answer will be about how COVID-19 enabled an adoption of virtual mentorship.

We’re putting our finishing touches on this example. Please check back soon! 🙂

McMaster BHSc Essay Question 1B – Breakdown

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you might find you get what you need.” — Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (recorded by The Rolling Stones). Discuss.

You don’t have to be alive in the 60’s to choose this essay question, but one thing that might be helpful to know is the same group sang a song “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”. Similar theme here.

Here’s an excerpt from American Songwriter that does a good job summarizing the meaning:

“Many of us go wildly awry in search of some personal achievement that is only bound to bring heartbreak. The chorus suggests that there is no shame in settling. If anything, it might be the path to true contentment.”

Essentially, going after big goals and not achieving them may not be a bad thing. You may have just saved yourself from a bad situation (and you likely learned a lesson from it).

Our coaches encourage students to set Audacious Yet Authentic Goals, because if they are just audacious, you’ll be left unsatisfied when you reach your goals. So, what goal did you pursue that wasn’t authentic?

In other words, what goal wasn’t ‘yours’. Maybe it was someone else’s, influenced by your parents, siblings, friends, society, etc. Maybe you just didn’t have enough of a grasp on what’s important to you and so you went after something you ‘thought’ was going to make you happy, but didn’t. Maybe you failed at pursuing a goal and you learned something significant?

It could even be about a goal you saw someone else pursuing, as long as you relate it back to you, so you can give the reader personal insight about who you are.

Either way, make sure it’s unique. If it isn’t, try to dig a little deeper so that story is more compelling than others. For example, if you spent 10 years pursuing RCM piano, it’s likely many high-achievers applying to McMaster BHSc did the same. You’ll see how we did this in the example below.

McMaster BHSc Essay Question 1B – Template

We recommend using the Narrative Communication Approach for this essay, so that it reads more like a story.

We suggest allocating a good portion of the essay to the final Reflection section of the narrative.

Get started on your template here (click File > Make a Copy within the doc).

  • Part 1: Hook – Optional (~100 characters)
    • Capture the reader’s attention and give a preview of what’s to come.
  • Part 2: Context (~300 characters)
    • Paint the picture and set the scene about relevant details that would help give some colour to the story (i.e. your upbringing, when the story took place, etc.). This theme in this part should foreshadow the Reflection part.
  • Part 3: Catalyst (~350 characters)
    • Talk about the achievement you pursued, why, and what was involved. Give some specifics here and finish the paragraph with the result of your efforts (e.g. you reached the goal, you failed, you quit, etc.).
  • Part 4: Outcome (~300 characters)
    • Describe what happened afterwards. Don’t jump to the learning just yet, stick to how you felt after the result of the part before.
  • Part 5: Reflection (~450 characters)
    • This is where you respond to the “you might find what you need” part of the song. What did you learn about yourself or realize about the world through this pursuit? Why was the pursuit of your initial desire not right?
McMaster BHSc Essay Question 1B – Example

We’re going to take a crack at answering this using the example of a student who’s pursued RCM piano for ten years, eventually realizing she spend thousands of hours going after a goal that have her no intrinsic gratification whatsoever.

We’re putting our finishing touches on this example. Please check back soon! 🙂

McMaster BHSc Essay Question 1C – Breakdown

American psychologist David Keirsey devised a personality typology, a contemporary interpretation of ancient Greek thinking on temperament. It consists of 4 main temperaments, each of which has 2 roles:

You have been selected as one member of a challenging 5-year space mission, and have been asked to recommend one preferred crewmate, based on how well they would complement your own strengths and weaknesses. Which of the 8 Keirsey Roles would you choose as your partner in order to optimize your chances for mission success, and why?

We love these types of questions, because it’s perfect for our students who completed the Student Identity Blueprint. In order to truly know the crewmate who would complement your strengths and weaknesses, you have to be self-aware about your own.

If you’re working with a coach, go back and visit your Blueprint, particularly the Skills and Susceptibilities sections, where you’ve articulated a statement for each of them. Use these statements in this essay.

You may be tempted, especially if you are a Rational type, to clarify what a “challenging 5-year space mission” exactly entails. We believe this was left intentionally vague for you to briefly share with the reader what success look like for you in this mission? Is it just survival? Exploration? Enjoyment? Maybe all of the above.

The best place to start with this essay is what kind of challenging life experience do you want to share with the reader that best encapsulates your strengths and weaknesses? For example, maybe you play AAA hockey and your defence partner is the perfect complement to you. Check out the template in the next section to see how you’d incorporate a personal experience.

If you’re unsure which of the 16 roles you are, you can take a free test at 16personalities.com, which will give you a set of four letters. These four letters map to the 16 Keirsey Roles. For example, if you are an INTJ, Keirsey labels you a ‘Mastermind‘.

After you’ve read a bit more about yourself to understand your type better, the easiest way to find your perfect complement is to look at your opposite type. For example, if you’re an INTJ (Mastermind), your opposing types are simply the opposite sets of letters in your mix, in this case ESFP (Performer).

Here are the MBTI dichotomies to help you find a complement. Alternatively, the Natural Skills assessment from the Blueprint is based on MBTI, so you can also look at the skills you’re low in and map those to a Keirsey Role/MBTI role. If you need help doing so, reach out to your coach.

Your complementary crewmate doesn’t have to be perfectly opposite to you. For example, if you’re an INTJ, a good complement may also be a ISTJ, or a ENTP. Not every letter has to be completely different. It’s best to identify opposing types and read through the descriptions of these individuals to see which type best complements you.

You can also think about friends who you would want to be your crewmates, and ask them to take the 16personalities.com test, then map that to a Keirsey Role. Maybe you went through a challenging experience with someone and conquered it? That’s a great thing to incorporate for this essay.

What challenges would you expect to arise when it comes to this mission, because of your susceptibilities? For example, if you’re an ENFJ maybe you’re a really influential person, so when you land on an inhabited planet, you can sweet talk those aliens and get them to like you.

On the other hand, maybe you’re not so strong with hands-on tools and machinery. For example, if a crater knocked off one of your signals on your space shuttle, you wouldn’t be the best person to go out there and fix it.

Ideally, you want to relate this back to a real life experience that aligns. Maybe you helped build a home in Nicaragua for a local community, and when some of your materials were stolen, you had to influence friends back home to donate $500 to help pay for these materials.

McMaster BHSc Essay Question 1C – Template

We recommend using the Narrative Communication Approach for this essay, so that it reads more like a story.

As you can see, we allocated a lot of character space to Part 3, because we feel that’s the section the reader will be able to get a true understanding about you.

Get started on your template here (click File > Make a Copy within the doc).

  • Part 1: Hook – Optional (~100 characters)
    • Capture the reader’s attention and give a preview of what’s to come.
  • Part 2: Context (~300 characters)
    • Describe your strengths and weaknesses very clearly and specifically, leveraging your Skills and Susceptibilities statements from your Blueprint. Identify your Keirsey role and the role that you would choose for your partner. Explain why.
  • Part 3: Catalyst (~500 characters)
    • Give some personal insight here, ideally describing a real life experience that further argues why this crewmate would be so essential to you (e.g. an extracurricular).
  • Part 4: Outcome (~400 characters)
    • Now relate this to the space mission and how it would play out with your crewmate. Get creative here.
  • Part 5: Reflection (~200 characters)
    • Reflect on the bigger picture, how would this kind of crewmate support you on your career journey, in your day-to-day, or in your time at university?
McMaster BHSc Essay Question 1C – Example

We’re putting our finishing touches on this example. Please check back soon! 🙂

McMaster BHSc Essay Breakdown Question 2

We’re currently working on the breakdowns, templates, and examples for essay 2 options. We’ll have these ready by the end of November.

In order to prepare, we suggest you read our Deductive Communication Approach Skills Guide.

All of the options within Question 2 are what we call problem-based questions that don’t really give you an opportunity to add personal details.

The Deductive Communication Approach is a ‘top-down’ method that lets you articulate structured problem solving in your essay, while also communicating your skills, experiences, and interests in a unique and memorable way.

2020/2021 McMaster Health Sciences (BHSc) Application  

The 2020/2021 Supplementary Application asked students to write three essays total. For Question 1 and Question 2, applicants had to choose Option A or Option B for each. For Question 3, there was no option choice.

McMaster BHSc Essay Question 1

For this question, you’re asked to answer one of the two options. They are:

McMaster BHSc Essay 1A – Breakdown

“In the Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle proposed that “virtue is the golden mean between two vices, the one of excess and the other of deficiency.” For the list of virtues below, which one is the hardest for you to achieve a balance in, and do you tend to an excess or a deficiency in that characteristic? What strategy(s) could you use to better achieve balance for yourself?”

McMaster health sciences supp app help
McMaster BHSc Essay 1A – Template

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

Following our Deductive Communication Approach™, the general structure of your answer to this question should have these four parts:

  • Part 1: Hypothesis/Answer (~100 characters)
    • Clearly identify the virtue you find the hardest to achieve balance, along with the characteristic you have excess/deficiency in.
  • Part 2: Main Reasons (~250 characters)
    • Provide 1-2 reasons you believe this virtue is hard for you to achieve and explain why.
  • Part 3: Supporting Arguments (~400 characters)
    • Use personal examples, life experiences, ECs, etc. to strengthen your case.
  • Parts 4-5: So What?
    • Write a strategy that will help you achieve better balance with this virtue. State the rationale for believing this strategy will be effective in striking a balance to make you less deficient/excessive. Then, wrap up the response by discussing how you will execute the strategy, as well as the values it will bring to others.

COACH’S TIP: Don’t worry about writing complete sentences at first. Just write 2-3 bullet points under each section, just to get your ideas down. You can edit and perfect your answers later. If you’d like some more tips about making the essay writing process easier, read this blog.

Want some more guidance on how to approach questions like this one? Check out this video:

McMaster BHSc Essay 1A – Examples

Here are some McMaster Health Sciences essay examples.

REMEMBER: Please note that all of the examples in this guide are EXAMPLES ONLY and are NOT meant for you to copy. 

Question 1a – McMaster BHSc Essay Example (1/2): Virtue = Adaptability; Excess = Compliance

McMaster bhsc essay examples

Question 1a – McMaster BHSc Essay Example (2/2): Virtue = Moderation; Excess = Self-Deprivation

McMaster Health Sciences essay examples
McMaster BHSc Essay 1B – Breakdown

“In her 1993 novel Ravensong, author, poet, educator, and member of the Stó:Lō nation Lee Maracle wrote “Where do you begin telling someone their world is not the only one?” What is your interpretation of this line?”

You might be jumping to Amazon and ordering a copy of the book, or researching the Stó:Lō nation, which is absolutely fine. But don’t do that approach alone.

In summary, Ravensong is about the ‘gulf’ between two cultures. It’s a tale about an urban Native community devastated by an influenza epidemic (reminds you of something). The main character is a young Indigenous woman struggling between the clash between white society’s values and her own family’s ways.

What does that mean? For example, the word “flu” might mean one thing to white society and a completely different thing to the Indigenous culture. This is called heteroglossia, and it’s an important theme in the book. If people aren’t interpreting differences in meanings of words, then there isn’t a lot of individual thought happening.

McMaster BHSc Essay 1B – Template 

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

The general structure of your answer to this question should have these four parts:

  • Part 1: Hypothesis/Answer (~250 characters)
    • Summarize your interpretation in 2-3 sentences. Try to make it unique and use language that really draws in your reader.
  • Part 2: Main Reasons (~400 characters)
    • State a strong reason(s) why you believe your interpretation to be true.
  • Part 3: Supporting Arguments (~550 characters)
    • Use personal examples, observations, experiences, etc. to support your argument and make your answer more convincing.
  • Part 4: So What? (~300 characters)
    • Restate how your argument supports your interpretation, then explain why this interpretation is important and brings value to yourself or the rest of society.

COACH’S TIP: In this section, make sure you showcase your problem solving and critical thinking skills by coming up with an answer and interpretation that’s unique. Not sure how? Check out this blog and connect with a coach for support.

Check out this video for more tips on writing essays for questions like Question 1, Option B:

McMaster BHSc Essay 1B – Examples

Here are some examples for this McMaster BHSc essay question:

Question 1b – McMaster BHSc Essay Example (1/2): Theory of computer ‘simulation’

McMaster bhsc essay examples

Question 1b – McMaster BHSc Essay Example (2/2): Unique experiences and sensations

McMaster health sciences essay examples

McMaster BHSc Essay Question 2

For this question, you’re asked to answer one of the two options. They are:

McMaster BHSc Essay 2A – Breakdown

“Write a short letter about an issue you care about, addressed to the appropriate political figure for the area of your concern.”

McMaster BHSc Essay 2A – Template 

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

The general structure of your answer to this question should have these four parts:

  • Part 1: Hypothesis/Answer (~250 characters)
    • Start as if you are really writing a letter by saying “Dear [Recipient Name]”. Tell him/her why you are writing this letter, and explain the issue you want to address and what your objective is for writing this letter. 
  • Part 2: Main Reasons (~500 characters)
    • Address the most important reasons why the issue is, in fact, an issue. Who or what has this issue impacted? What will happen if no one addresses it? Try to make this as personal as possible and give examples to connect with the reader and tell them more about you.
  • Part 3: Supporting Arguments (~500 characters)
    • Elaborate on 1-2 key reasons and provide some evidence. What does this person expect to gain if they address this issue? Do your research on this person and tie these reasons directly to him/her.
  • Part 4: So What? (~300 characters)
    • Conclude the letter and briefly summarize why this issue is important again.
McMaster BHSc Essay 2A – Examples 

Here are McMaster Health Sciences essay examples for this question. 

REMEMBER: Please note that all of the examples in this guide are EXAMPLES ONLY and are NOT meant for you to copy. 

Example 1: Letter to Stephen Lecce, Ontario Minister of Education

McMaster BHSc essay examples

Example 2: Letter to Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care in Ontario

McMaster Health Sciences Essay examples

Need some extra help with answering questions like this? Connect with a coach and watch this helpful video:

McMaster BHSc Essay 2B – Breakdown

“In her 1954 essay The Crisis in Education, Hannah Arendt says, “Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it.” How does your view of education compare to Arendt’s?”

McMaster BHSc Essay 2B – Template 

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a Copy).

The general structure of your answer to this question should have these four parts:

  • Part 1: Hypothesis/Answer (~200 characters)
    • Start by answering the question, and summarizing how your view of education compares to Arendt’s view, and choose a certain component/characteristic of her view to agree/disagree with. Limit yourself to two sentences.
  • Part 2: Main Reasons (~550 characters)
    • Explain your answer by providing the key reason(s) behind your view. Try to be as unique as possible, while using examples from your life to give personal insight and help the reader learn more about you. 
  • Part 3: Supporting Arguments (~550 characters)
    • Expand upon your answer with the most compelling 1-3 arguments that support your reason above. Show that you’ve really taken time to think about the topic and have come up with something unique.
  • Part 4: So What? (~300 characters)
    • Write a simple conclusion that expands upon why this viewpoint matters and how it can help us interpret Ardendt’s view.
McMaster McMaster BHSc Essay 2B – Examples

Here are some McMaster BHSc essay examples for this question.

Question 2b – McMaster BHSc Essay Example (1/2): Education and theory vs. practice

McMaster Health Sci essay example

Question 2b – McMaster BHSc Essay Example (2/2): Education is a lifelong process

McMaster Health Sciences essay example

Want some more help with questions like this one? Watch this video:

McMaster BHSc Essay Question 3

“What do you think ‘A’ and ‘B’ could be, and what would your interpretation of the data be in that case?”

Read the full case study for Question 3 here

This is a problem-solving based question, where you’re given a large amount of data and a situation is presented to you through a narrative based on a research study. You must then formulate an explanation for the data that is presented. 

Start by making some notes about the observations and relevant data that is given to you. 

Before getting started, check out this video on how to approach problem-based questions and come up with strong Hypothesis/Answer, Main Reason(s), Supporting Arguments, and So What? sections: 

McMaster BHSc Essay Question 3 – Template 

Get started on your template here (Click File > Make a copy).

The general structure of your answer to this question should have these four parts (click here for a full breakdown of each):

  • Part 1: Hypothesis/Answer (~250 characters)
    • State what your interpretation of ‘A’ and ‘B’ is, referencing the time elapsed and change in variables from the before and after state.
  • Part 2: Main Reasons (~550 characters)
    • Present 1-3 strong reasons why you believe your interpretation to be true, and reference the data trends between the before and after state for bars A and B.
  • Part 3: Supporting Arguments (~600 characters)
    • Use observations from your logic tree, table of facts & unknowns, and hypothesis validation tables to support and connect your reasoning with your answer. Make sure to use personal experiences and insight to explain why you interpret that data in this way.
  • Part 4: So What? (~300 characters)
    • Restate how your arguments support your interpretation and discuss why this interpretation matters, and what conclusions you can draw from it. 

COACH’S TIP: Since this question is more complex than the others, start by writing some brief bullet points under each part. This is an important part of the essay writing process, and will ensure that your points make sense and are connected to one another. For help with the process of writing and creating these bullet points, check out our Deductive Communication Approach™ Guide.

McMaster BHSc Essay Question 3 – Example 

Here’s a McMaster BHSc essay example for this question.

REMEMBER: This is an EXAMPLE ONLY and is NOT meant for you to copy.

McMaster health sciences essay examples

For over a decade, we have worked with hundreds of students. Our coaches have a strong success rate preparing students for their McMaster BHSc Supplementary Application.

As a part of our 1-on-1 Youth Coaching services, we will walk you through the admission process, give you advice as you prepare your application, help you build self-awareness, and improve skills like communication, critical thinking, and problem solving. 

So, what are you waiting for? Start your future, today!


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