McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application Examples

McMaster Health Sciences: Supplementary Application 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 you stand out 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 two communication styles. 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 McMaster Health Sciences 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. 

We would also like to highlight that we are NOT an application writing service. We will not write your application for you. We’re here to support your holistic development so you can write the best application possible.

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.

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application 2022

This year’s application for McMaster Health Sciences can be found here.

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

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 each 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 Health Sciences Supplementary Application

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 1 – Overview

Before getting started on the Question 1 options below, we suggest you read our Narrative Communication Approach Skills Guide.

Question 1A, 1B, and 1C are what we call personal questions, designed to allow the admissions committee to learn more about you, what you’ve accomplished (and want to accomplish), what you’re good at, and more.

The Narrative Communication Approach is a framework that helps you logically tell stories that emotionally connect with the reader, while also communicating your skills, experiences, and interests in a unique and memorable way.

The key for these questions is creativity and personal insight. You want to show that you have taken the time to evolve and learn because of the experiences you’ve had and that you have really thought about the world around you (and your place in it).

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application Examples – Question 1A

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’?

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 1A – Breakdown

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.

What’s chaos theory? 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 go to McMaster BHSc rather than U of T to study Health Sciences, your life will take a different course than it would if you chose U of T.

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, meaning that there is always a level of probability attached to every event. Think of it like the predictions on the Weather Channel. Meteorologists might predict that it will rain tomorrow, but often times they are wrong and the day ends up being sunny and nice. This is because nothing can be determined with 100% certainty. Here’s a video that summarizes some of Prigogine’s views.

Question 1A is an opportunity for you to think creatively and come up with an answer that most other people wouldn’t. Avoid 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 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?

Coming up with unique answers that draw on deep learning and insight will not only give the reviewers some background about who you are and what you value, but it will show them that you are a good critical thinker, problem solver, and communicator.

If you need help with this question and finding ways to incorporate personal insight and unique learning, connect with a coach now.

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 1A – Template

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

Question 1 is very personal, which is why we suggest using the Narrative Communication Approach in your response, so you can create a memorable and unique story.

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?
  • 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 Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 1A – Example

Here’s an essay example 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. 

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application examples

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application Examples – Question 1B

“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.

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 1B – Breakdown

You don’t have to have been alive in the 1960s to choose this essay question, but one thing that might be helpful to know is the same group sang a song called “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.”

What does this mean? 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).

When getting started on this question, think about a time when this song would really have resonated with you. Was there a specific goal you went after but it didn’t turn out like you thought? Did you experience failure (or success) and it wasn’t what you expected? Did you go through something that changed who you are as a person?

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 Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 1B – Template

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

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 so you can really emphasize what you learned and the impact this experience had on you.

  • 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 Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 1B – Example

This is a more unique spin on a common story: a student pursuing School Council Presidency.

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

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application Examples – Question 1C

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:

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application

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?

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 1C – Breakdown

We love these types of questions because it gives our students who completed our Self-Awareness Student Assessment and Student Identity Blueprint a great chance to flex their self-awareness and really stand out from other applicants (and it’s also way easier for them to answer because they’ve basically done all the work beforehand!). If you haven’t completed your Blueprint, connect with a coach to get started on your own 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 to decide 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 to 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‘.

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application

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.

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application

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 Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 1C – Template

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

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.

  • 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 Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 1C – Example

This essay example may or may not have been inspired by real events 🙂

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

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application

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McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 2 – Overview

Before getting started on the Question 2 options, we suggest you read our Deductive Communication Approach Skills Guide.

Question 2A, 2B, and 2C are what we call problem-based questions designed to see how you think, so this guide will be key for helping you create logical and convincing arguments in your answer.

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.

The key for these questions is creativity and personal insight. Every single strong applicant is going to analyze this question rigorously, so what unique lens or perspective can you incorporate to make yours stand out?

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application Examples – Question 2A

You have been awarded a summer internship to join the research group of Dr. Uushig Ivili at the National University of Mejuputara, who studies how pollution influences the development of allergic diseases Dr. Ivili has recently begun doing work with a community in Edoforo City, a few kilometers south of the university, and has obtained data from the regional health authority about the number of people with physician-diagnosed asthma in each of 6 zones. She also has some initial air quality monitoring information for particulate air pollution in those zones – more pollutant data will be coming in a few weeks. She suggests that the analysis of this data could be your research project (see Figure 1).

Dr. Ivili reminds you that these are just the initial raw data – there are a number of things that need to be taken into account before you can really start to make sense of these numbers. She challenges you to take some time to think about this, and meet with her again in a couple of days with some ideas about what you think needs to be accounted for in analyzing and interpreting this data. Identify 3 factors that you think need to be considered in your analysis of the data that you’d bring back to your next meeting to discuss with Dr. Ivili, and explain why these are important.

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application
McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 2A – Breakdown

This is the typical analytical question that McMaster has asked in past years (see Question 3 from the 2020/2021 application below).

We know that the options in Question 2 can seem super complicated, but DON’T PANIC. Just read one sentence at a time and take time to think about what the question is asking. We’ll also give you some helpful pointers below. 🙂

The question is saying that a part of an internship internship opportunity could involve analyzing a group of air quality data. Here, you must identify three observations to improve this initial set of data.

Before answering the question, ask yourself a few things.

First, what do you think this research project is trying to solve? The obvious answer is researching a correlation between asthma diagnoses and air quality, but what else could be a purpose of this research?

We always recommend asking some initial questions so you can better understand and frame the problem.

For example, what does μg/m3 mean and are these numbers high or low versus other areas?

  • After a quick Google search, the World Health Organization’s guideline value for PM10 is a 15 μg/m3 annual mean.
    • What does this mean? It means that most of the numbers in this region are all below the levels of the WHO guideline, except for D.
    • So what’s going on with D? Get creative because 99% of students will say its adjacency to the highway causes higher PM10.
  • Zone A and B are very low, probably because they are close to the ocean (but look at the data to be sure of this).
  • Zone F is also low, as it looks like it’s closer to a school with some parks.

Let’s look a little deeper at the highway theory with PM10 data. There appears to be a very high correlation (R value) between the PM10 and the distance towards the highway.

In other words, closer you get to the highway, the worse the air quality.

mcmaster health sciences supplementary application

The other data point, number of physician-diagnosed asthma cases.

  • What’s wrong with this data when you compare it to the PM10 data? We don’t want you to give you the answer here, so here’s a question for you: is the number of asthma cases and the PM10 in 2020 a like-for-like comparison?
    • In other words, are these two variables in the same units so you can compare them properly?
  • What are the problems or risks with using this data and comparing it against the PM10 data?
    • There are multiple issues, but here’s a hint: if you were diagnosed with asthma from poor air quality, would that happen right away?

The last data point, even know it may not seem like one, is the zones.

  • What’s wrong when you compare each zone against each other? Is this a like-for-like comparison? No, it’s not.
  • Zones can be measured by the geographic size of the zone and the population of the zone. From looking at the map, both are inconsistent with one another.
  • Read our essay example, where this is part of the theme of the essay.

We recommend talking this out with someone: a friend, teacher, parent, or Youth Coach.

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 2A – Template

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

We recommend using the Deductive Communication Approach for this essay.

The structure we recommend is finding a common theme/thread with at least two of the three factors, and then focus your essay on this.

You could also dedicate a paragraph to each factor then provide a reason/supporting argument for each factor. We’d recommend this approach if you had >2,000 characters, but with 1,500 characters, you are far too limited with this approach.

Here’s a structure that will help you create a standout essay:

  • Part 1: Hypothesis/Answer (~150 characters)
    • List the three ‘factors’ you think need to be considered in the analysis based on the initial set of data in order to improve this organization’s ability to study how pollution influences the development of allergic diseases, such as asthma.
  • Part 2: Main Reason(s) (~450 characters)
    • Explain the main reason(s) why these are the three factors that you feel need to be considered. You can simply list a main reason for each factor, or if 2-3 of the factors connect with a common theme, you can also address it this way. Think very deeply about these factors to ensure they are unique to you in some way.
  • Part 3: Supporting Arguments(~550 characters)
    • Explain the main reason(s) why these are the three factors that you feel need to be considered. You can simply list a main reason for each factor, or if 2-3 of the factors connect with a common theme, you can also address it this way. Think very deeply about these factors to ensure they are unique to you in
  • Part 5: So What? (~350 characters)
    • Relate it back to the overarching purpose/goal of this study (in your opinion) and why looking at these factors will not only support this, but also help guide the future of this research in the right direction.
McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 2A – Example

We took a bit of a different approach on this essay, focusing on the zoning variable rather than the PM10 or asthma cases data, because there are going to be a lot of the same responses in this essay.

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

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application Examples – Question 2B

Design an experiment that attempts to determine whether a class of students has learned enough of something. Provide the rationale for your design, and explain your reasons for setting up the experiment as you did.

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 2B – Breakdown

This question offers a lot more room for creativity, but because of this more applicants will likely choose it.

Don’t let that stop you from picking this question though! If you do choose it though, think very deeply about it to ensure your response is highly differentiated and unique.

Reviewers want to see that you have a logical process experiment design, but also creativity and personal insight within that process.

Let’s start by defining the problem: What is the best experiment to run to evaluate if a class has achieved its desired learning outcome?

Some people may interpret this as, “Design an experiment that can be used to evaluate learning achievement for any class.” However, that gives much less room for creativity and personal insight.

To make it a bit more interesting, imagine you could choose to attend any class in the world (even fictitious) and then write a review after, or that you were the instructor of this class and had to evaluate its effectiveness with your students.

Making it more personal offers the reader a bit of background into who you are.

Follow these steps to brainstorm a strong response:

Step 1: Define your class

The details of what this class is about are left intentionally vague.

This is an opportunity for you to design your own response. Here are some prompts to help you:

  • What is the class about? Choose something you’re genuinely passionate about. (e.g. biology, goal-setting, robots, salsa dancing, chess)
  • What were the students supposed to learn? This could be something very quantitative and easy-to-measure or something less tangible (e.g. confidence)

Step 2: Define your question

Next step is to develop a question for your experiment. For example, “Can Millennials, born 1981-1996, learn ‘the floss’ dance move in a 5-minute audio-only course?”

The following prompts will help you define your own question:

  • When was the class versus when are you evaluating? (e.g. a year after the class finished, a day after, a decade after)
  • How long was the class? (e.g. one hour, one day, one year, one decade)
  • What methods were used in the class to teach the topic/skill? (e.g. case studies, group projects, experiential activities)
  • How many students are in your class? This will greatly impact your experiment. (e.g. 5, 500, 5000)
  • Who is the class for? (e.g. anyone, kids, elderly, women, dog owners, people with amaxophobia)
  • What is the delivery channel of your class? (e.g. virtual live, in-person, virtual asynchronous, blended)

Step 3: Design the experiment

When designing your experiment, you don’t need to structure it exactly how a scientist would. That would be very boring for the reader.

However, it’s helpful to incorporate some important components of experiment design, so you can demonstrate your comprehension of the best-practice experiment design methodology.

If you’re unfamiliar with this methodology, check out this video from the Khan Academy. The experiment you’re running is very different than a traditional science experiment, so don’t get too caught up in the methodology.

Again, you just want to demonstrate your ability to think like a scientist.

For example, you could mention your awareness of different variables that could influence the result of the experiment (e.g. prior knowledge of dancing, the use of music during the evaluation, etc.). You could also mention you may have two groups within your experiment to control these variables.

If you need some help deciding how to approach this question, connect with a coach.

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 2B – Template

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

We recommend using the Deductive Communication Approach for this essay.

This is just one possible essay structure. There are other structures that could be used depending on your approach and writing style, so don’t feel constrained that your answer must fall within this template.

  • Part 1: Hypothesis/Answer (~150 characters)
    • State the overarching question of your experiment, then state your hypothesis.
  • Part 2: Main Reason(s) (~450 characters)
    • Describe the relevant details of the class and the learning outcome you are measuring. Don’t explain the experiment yet. That comes in the next section.
  • Part 3: Supporting Arguments (~600 characters)
    • Explain the experiment, the rationale for your design, and reasons for setting up the experiment as you did. If you can add a personal touch here, that would be great.
  • Part 4: So What? (~300 characters)
    • Give some personal insight into the importance of this experiment by relating it back to you, your personality, your life experience, or something that is meaningful to you.
McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 2B – Example

The important thing to remember for this essay is that you will not be able to explain a perfect experiment in 1,500 characters.

There will be flaws in your experiment and that’s okay. It’s better if your essay is unique and original, while also demonstrating some ability to think like a scientist.

Here are a couple other topic ideas that come to mind:

  • Evaluating someone’s integrity by playing board games
  • Evaluate someone’s cooking through a 100-person blindfolded meal
  • Evaluate resilience by setting up activities that will fail for participants
  • Evaluate creativity with the brick game

This essay example is inspired by this hilarious TED Talk.

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

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application Examples – Question 2C

After the confirmation that a mass grave was located at the Kamloops Residential School, leaders of the Indigenous Health Learning Lodge in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster issued an open letter to the community, including the following paragraph: 

“There are many more truths about our lives, our ways, our customs and beliefs and our knowledge systems. We can’t demand belief about these truths but we can ask for respect and pedagogical space without the ever-present demand for western based ‘evidence’. As the university aspires to a more inclusive learning environment, this respect for pluralism will have to be reckoned with.”

In your view, how can we take a more pluralistic view of knowledge and evidence in the health sciences?

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 2C – Breakdown

This question is a bit complex, so we’ve broken it down into 3 steps so you can go through it logically and understand all the different components better.

Step 1: Deduction

First of all, we recommend educating yourself on the issue through your own independent research. We also recommend reading about the Indigenous Health Learning Lodge and the full letter published. 

After reading, reflect on this question: Is the scientific method black and white? Or does the field of health sciences leave room for interpretation, differing perspectives, and lateral thinking?

What do we mean by this? Here’s an example.

In medical school, students are taught that what you eat doesn’t impact skin disorders, such as psoriasis or acne.

Dermatologists will simply prescribe topical creams or harsh medications to treat the issue.

But other forms of medicine, such as naturopathic medicine (combining modern and traditional forms), find a link between things like gluten, sugar, and dairy and skin disorders.

Chinese Medicine have different theories as well.

Taking all of these into account is a pluralistic view.

Consider the question from a broader perspective. How has either Western-focused education or pluralistic approaches affected your entire educational experience?

Reviewers will want to see that you’ve given both views on knowledge and evidence (Western-based evidence & pluralism) some thought.

Decolonizing academia (and science specifically) begins with:

  1. An understanding of the harm inflicted through the historic erasure of Indigenous knowledge and culture
  2. Intentional representation of Aboriginal worldviews in ALL fields of study and research

Another key thing that you must understand before answering this question is exactly what pluralism is.

In this context, the term “pluralism” refers to the ideology that recognizes and affirms the coexistence of diverse worldviews. In academia and the field of health science, pluralism means acknowledging that there isn’t a single, definitive Truth or answer to life’s big questions. Depending on your culture, background, or unique worldview, there are various perspectives that lead to the Truth. Read this article on “Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science” to learn more.

At this point in history, it is naive to think of a scientific theory having only one possible answer or outcome. For more research on pluralism in science, check out this useful resource.

In Philosophy, the questioning of truth with a capital ‘T’ generally asserts that there exists an objective reality but that an Absolute Truth exists only in the elimination of speculation, opinion, and belief. To remove belief, opinion, faith, and subjective perception is to remove what makes us human; what makes life as diverse beings interesting, unique, and special.

While this question centres on the issues of Canada’s Residential Schools and the traumas associated with this unearthed history, it is also asking how we can expand our way of seeing to include and appreciate alternative experiences and differing interpretations or perceptions of the world around us. 

NOTE: Your answer doesn’t have to be Indigenous-related.

Step 2: Communication

Next, craft 1-2 Supporting Arguments to backup your Hypothesis/Answer and Main Reasons. Consider adding personal experiences or anecdotes to help bring your answer to life. 

This question offers an opportunity to think about the structure of educational institutions from different perspectives. For decades, students learned solely from textbooks detailing Western perspectives. Courses in science, history, art, etc. were all based on Western knowledge and ideas. Is this still okay? 

By the way, the term “pedagogical space” is just a fancy term for “learning environment”.  

Here are a few examples prompts to get you thinking:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic allowed our educational systems to become more pluralized through blended learning, however, as the pandemic ends, will the system go back to what it once was rather than incorporating benefits from this pluralistic approach (e.g. introverts may have preferred online).
  • Working on the school newspaper allowed you to view the same subjects of politics from a different perspective, so you decided to volunteer for multiple different political parties to gain a more pluralistic view.
  • The Covid-19 Pandemic highlighted the inconsistencies/imbalances in the Health industries for remote Indigenous communities.
  • Attending an Indigenous ceremony opened your mind to different ways of approaching artistic practices, creating, and sharing.
  • A study of oral history helped you realize that not all evidence and history is written in textbooks.

Step 3: Critical Thinking and Analysis

Complete your essay by pulling together your deduction of the complexity of the situation/problem and any idealistic or concrete solutions.

Use your answer to think critically and ask, “so what?” about the methods through which universities teach and gather knowledge. Are there different ways of perceiving history and truth? For example, is it possible to practice Western medicine while also learning and appreciating Indigenous knowledge of natural remedies and holistic or spiritual-based healing?

Keep in mind that this is a sensitive subject that affects many people personally. If you are not connected to the Kamloops sites or others directly, do not compare your personal experiences to those of Indigenous People.

Instead, think critically about our educational systems as well as our real-world systems of science, health, and medicine. Share specific ways that we can incorporate more diverse perspectives of both our physical and metaphysical environments into the study of science and health.

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 2C – 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 (~150 characters)
    • Summarize your answer in a single sentence, in response to the question “how do you believe we can take a more pluralistic view of knowledge and evidence in the health sciences?”
  • Part 2: Main Reason(s) (~500 characters)
    • Describe the 1-2 main reasons why you believe this approach will help create a more inclusive learning environment with diverse perspectives, knowledge, methods, etc.
  • Part 3: Supporting Arguments (~550 characters)
    • Give a personal example to bring this to life and give the reader some personal insight on who you are. For example, did you encounter the effect of a lack of pluralism in your extracurricular experiences or high school environment? How would your proposed solution address this issue?
  • Part 4: So What? (~300 characters)
    • Relate it back to the potential impact of this proposed solution at the university level, particularly at McMaster given the department’s specializations/facilities that you are passionate about (e.g. McMaster Nuclear Reactor, the Biointerfaces Institute, and the LIVE lab).
McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 2C – Example

You’re going to want to reflect a bit and incorporate how you’ve demonstrated pluralism in your own life.

NOTE: The essay theme doesn’t have to be connected to Indigenous culture. If you happen to have some exposure and life experience learning about the Indigenous worldview, then that’s fantastic.

If you don’t, just think about other experiences that broadened your worldview; or situations you wish someone had a more pluralistic view.

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

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application

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2020/2021 McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary 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 Health Sciences Supplementary Application: Question 1 – Overview

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

McMaster BHSc Supplementary Application – Essay Question 1A
McMaster BHSc Supplementary Application: Question 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 Supplementary Application
McMaster BHSc Supplementary Application: Question 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 Supplementary Application: Question 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 Health Sciences Supplementary Application

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

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application examples
McMaster BHSc Supplementary Application: Question 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 Supplementary Application: Question 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 Supplementary Application: Question 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 Health Sciences Supplementary Application examples

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

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application examples

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McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application – Question 2

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

McMaster BHSc Supplementary Application: Question 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 Supplementary Application: Question 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 Supplementary Application: Question 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 Health Sciences Supplementary Application examples

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

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application examples

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

McMaster BHSc Supplementary Application: Question 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 Supplementary Application: Question 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 BHSc Supplementary Application: Question 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 Sciences Supplementary Application

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

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application examples

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

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application – 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 Supplementary Application: 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 Supplementary Application: Question 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 Supplementary Application examples

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