Academic Support

From writing support and tutoring services to workshops and educational planning, we act as your central hub for academic support. We offer opportunities for you to meet individually with trained students and staff, to participate in workshops and gain access to tools for self-guided learning. For more information, please contact us at skills@mcmaster.ca

Here are some of the services we have that can help you improve your academic skills and confidence

Academic and Life Skills Development

Writing Support Services

Education Planning

English Language Support

Individual Coaching and Advising

Tutoring Services

Online Resources

Workshops and Group Seminars

I completed my first year this spring, and I definitely struggled with my transition to University. By the second semester, I was meeting my with my academic skills coach almost every week. After I started to visit academic coaches, I saw a huge increase in marks, felt more confident and less stressed. I am so grateful for this service provided by the Student Success Centre.

Academic Skills Coaching Participant

Academic Skills Coach

Get services specifically catered to your needs by scheduling an academic skills coach. Popular appointment topics include lecture note-taking, time management, procrastination, organization, and research and study strategies. Visit us at the McMaster Mills Library, room 213D/E, in the second floor Learning Commons to learn more.

Our academic skills coaches can help you:

Gain tools to find balance, organization, and efficiency

Identify barriers and ways of overcoming them

Uncover learning goals and strategies for success

One-on-One

We offer Academic Skills and Writing Assistance Clinics at the Student Success Centre. Our Academic Skills Office is located in Mills Library, room 213E, on the second floor of the Learning Commons. For quick questions or referrals, drop in on Wednesdays between 1:00-4:00 p.m. or make an appointment in advance on OSCARplus.

Academic Advisors

Get the 101 on your program’s requirements, courses, and other course needs by speaking with an academic advisor from your Faculty. You can find more information on the Office of the Registrar’s website.

Campus Resources

Are you concerned about your first-year course demands? Don’t worry. McMaster has free and discounted academic services dedicated to your success.

The Department of Economics provides free support for students enrolled in first- and second-year economics courses. The clinic is located in KTH 306A and is run by graduate students. More information is available here.

Are you enrolled in a first-year chemistry course? Receive free tutoring from the Chemistry Help Centre on a drop-in basis. The Chemistry Help Centre is located in ABB 307. More information can be found here.

Receive free drop-in math tutoring from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Tutors are located in Hamilton Hall, room 104. More information, including the tutoring schedule, can be found on here.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy provides free tutoring for students in first-year physics courses. This drop-in service is located in the basement of Thode Library. More information is available here.

The McMaster Peer Tutoring Network provides connections between students and peer tutors who have successfully completed the course. By subsidizing part of the tutoring fee and creating a central tutor database, the program makes it easier for students to improve their grades and get help with difficult concepts.

Visit our Peer Tutoring Network page for more information.

In each appointment, I left feeling like I had been more productive in 45 minutes than in a regular four hour block of homework time. Each writing assistant had incredibly valuable tips and ideas. Every time, my essay came out with the potential to be twice as good as it was before.

Writing Assistance Participant

Writing Assistance

Whether it’s a fully drafted assignment, essay outline, or even scrap pieces of notes that don’t fully make sense just yet, we offer writing assistance that can help you achieve your writing goals. Meet with one of our trained upper-year or graduate writing assistants to speak about a writing assignment or your academic writing questions.

What You Need To Know

Writing assistants cannot proofread, edit, or write your work for you.
They can, however, identify areas of improvement and teach you to correct your own work.

Services

Here are some of the ways our Writing Assistants can meet your needs:

Brainstorming
Topic and thesis development
Constructing a strong argument
Essay organization and structure
Revising your first draft
Referencing and formatting
Clarity, word choice and sentence structure
Polishing your final draft

Appointment Guidelines

Appointments are 45 minutes in length. You can make up to two appointments per week and up to ten appointments each semester.

What to Bring

A printed copy of your work
Your syllabus and instructions for the assignment, including a grading rubric if available
Specific goals for what you want to accomplish in your appointment
Ideas and questions about your writing

General Tips

  • Read and try to edit your own work before your appointment. We can give the most helpful feedback when you bring your best work.
  • Think about comments and feedback you have received in the past.
  • Be prepared to ask questions, participate, and take an active role in your appointment.
  • Manage your time: It is most helpful to see a Writing Assistant at least one week before your assignment is due.
  • If your essay is due within one or two days, focus on specific areas to improve, not a general overview.
  • Know where you are in the writing process. First draft? Final draft? Still brainstorming?
  • If you have questions or concerns about the content, speak to your TA or instructor; content and accuracy are the student’s responsibility.

Academic Skills Workshops

Increase your confidence in your academic skills by taking part in one of our Academic Skills workshops. Through our workshops, we tackle note-taking, the writing process, study strategies, time management, and more so that you leave feeling more secure about the skills you need to succeed at university.

Improve your skills by registering to participate on OSCARplus.

Check back regularly for additional sessions and topics.

English Language Support

We know that joining a new community is sometimes hard when you are speaking in a second or third language. We want to help. We offer many services to help our English-as-an-Additional-Language (EAL) speakers to improve their verbal and written English, such as the Speakeasy Program (one-on-one support from a volunteer student), Conversation Circle (group support), workshops, and writing support for EAL speakers.

Speakeasy Program

We partner our Speakeasy Program participants with a peer language facilitator who can help you improve your conversation skills and level of expression. We also hope that these relationships will help you gain knowledge of various cultures and build friendships within the McMaster community. Common Speakeasy activities include reading the newspaper, magazines, academic articles, and short stories. Your peer language facilitator will help you with pronunciation, idioms, slang, grammar, and vocabulary. The program runs from mid-September to late-March.

How it Works

  • Meet for one hour each week
  • Bring material you want to discuss
  • Learn about new cultures
  • Attend social events (Fall & Winter)
  • Make friends

Become a Speakeasy Volunteer

Our Speakeasy volunteers are a vital asset in providing support to EAL students on campus and in making McMaster a global community. For this reason, we ensure our volunteers undergo an intensive training process so that we can:

  1. Build a community and capacity to help EAL students
  2. Build leadership and career competencies within each Peer Language Facilitator

We want to recognize your volunteer contributions. Upon attending all six Speakeasy training seminars, you will receive a Certificate of Completion that acknowledges the leadership competencies you developed.

 

Volunteer Training Program

Inclusion and Diversity: Are you a Social Justice Transformer?

Guest Presenter: Anushay Irfan Khan, Leadership Development Co-ordinator

How do diversity issues impact us in our daily interactions? How can we create change and progress at McMaster by valuing differences? Develop a toolkit of skills and strategies to create a safe and equitable learning environment in Speakeasy.

Beyond Speakeasy: Launching Careers and Grad School in a Global World

Guest Presenter: Anna Magnotta, Experiential Program Co-ordinator

Our Speakeasy volunteers have an edge in an increasingly global world. How does your Speakeasy experience help to launch your career or graduate studies? Learn how to sell your soft skills in a competitive global market.

Full Seminar Program

Launch

Meet the community of Speakeasy volunteers. Learn about strategies and resources to use with your EAL partner. This seminar is the first in a series intended to help you help students! Food provided.

Inclusion and Diversity: Are you a Social Justice Transformer?

Guest Presenter: Anushay Irfan Khan, Leadership Development Co-ordinator

How do diversity issues impact us in our daily interactions? How can we create change and progress at McMaster by valuing differences? Develop a toolkit of skills and strategies to create a safe and equitable learning environment in Speakeasy.

Around the World in 5 C’s: Cultural Competencies and Cross-Cultural Communication

Guest Presenter: Anushay Irfan Khan, Leadership Development Co-ordinator

Communication breakdowns happen in the best of times. What happens when we also are trying to bridge the culture gap in our communication? Join us for a discussion on inclusive cross-cultural dialogue and language.

McMaster Student Leadership Conference

Let your passions guide how you demonstrate your leadership. Leave with skills and ideas to start making change.
Held annually in January, the conference offers opportunities to network with over 300 current and aspiring student leaders from across campus, engage with professional and student presenters, and kick-start the new semester by illuminating fresh ideas and re-igniting passions. Workshops build knowledge, enhance skills, and highlight issues on campus or in our society to ignite change.

Mentorship and Listening Well

Guest Presenter: Anushay Irfan Khan, Leadership Development Co-ordinator

Develop active listening and paraphrasing techniques to effectively support and mentor students within an EAL context.

Beyond Speakeasy: Launching Careers and Grad School in a Global World

Guest Presenter: Anna Magnotta, Experiential Program Co-ordinator

Our Speakeasy volunteers have an edge in an increasingly global world. How does your Speakeasy experience help to launch your career or graduate studies? Learn how to sell your soft skills in a competitive global market.  Food provided (while supplies last).

Register for each session on OSCARplus.

Download the Speakeasy Volunteer Manual (PDF) for some generation information.

My first weeks in Canada were tough since everything was new and I was far away from my family and friends. The program was really helpful! The program started in the beginning of the term during my adaptation period and allowed me to make my first Canadian friend outside my faculty. She helped me learn more about how things work at McMaster and taught me more about Canadian culture. She was very supportive.

Speakeasy Participant

Conversation Circle

Through our Conversation Circles, we give you the opportunity to discuss videos, current events, articles, or stories in groups of six. Practice your English conversation skills with students and volunteers in our community and use your skills to improve your academic success.

 

If you would like to participate in a Conversation Circle please email the Speakeasy Coordinators at spkeasy@mcmaster.ca.

Workshops

The large classroom setting can sometimes feel overwhelming when you are adapting to the English language and learning about Canadian culture. If you ever feel this way, you’re not alone. Increase your confidence in the classroom and ask questions about how to succeed at university in Canada by registering to attend one or all of our workshops:

  • Learning in an Unfamiliar Culture
  • Speaking Confidently in the Classroom
  • Listening Confidently in the Classroom
  • Strategies for Learning Academic Vocabulary
  • Cite Right: A Guide to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Group Dynamics
  • Writing for Success in Canada
  • Differences in Formal and Informal Writing

Registration for all workshops is on OSCARplus.

Writing Series

Practice your grammar and writing skills in a 5-week writing workshop series.  Topics covered include: articles, prepositions, academic vocabulary, sentence variety, verb tenses, and quantity expressions. We adjust these topics to suit your needs.

Refreshments will be provided each week.  Students who attend all five weeks will be entered into a $100 draw and will receive a Letter of Completion.


Space is limited! Please 
register on OSCARplus.

GPA Conversion

This chart is based on information provided through OMSAS and is intended to be used as a guide only. Contact the institutions you are interested in for an exact determination.

GPA Conversion Chart

Type

Numeric

Percentage

Alpha

12-Point

Scale

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

4.00

9

8

90-100

93-100

94-100

94-100

A+

A

A+

12

3.90

 

 

85-89

84-92

85-93

85-93

A

 

 

11

3.80

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A

 

3.70

8

7

80-84

75-83

80-84

80-84

A-

A-

 

10

3.30

7

6

77-79

72-74

75-79

75-79

B+

B+

B+

9

3.00

 

 

73-76

69-71

70-74

70-74

B

B

B

8

2.70

6

5

70-72

66-68

65-69

65-69

B-

B-

 

7

2.30

5

4

67-69

64-65

60-64

60-64

C+

C+

C+

6

2.00

 

 

63-66

62-63

55-59

55-59

C

C

C

5

1.70

4

3

60-62

60-61

50-54

 

C-

C-

 

4

1.30

 

2

57-59

56-59

 

 

D+

D+

D+

3

1.00

 

 

53-55

53-55

 

50-54

D

D

D

2

0.70

 

 

50-52

50-52

 

 

D-

D-

 

1

0.00

3

1

Less than 50

Less than 50

Less than 50

Less than 50

E/F

E/F

E/F

0

Legend

Acadia – 7 Lakehead – 3 Mt. St. Vincent – 7 Royal Roads – 7 Trinity Western – 7
Alberta – 7 Laurentian – 3 New Brunswick – 7 Ryerson – 7 UBC – 7
Athabasca – 7 Laval – 7 Nipissing – 3 Saskatchewan – 3 UOIT – 7
Bishop’s – 3 Lethbridge – 7 Northern BC – 7 Sherbrooke – 7 Victoria – 7
Brandon – 7 Manitoba – 9 Ottawa – 7 Simon Fraser – 7 Waterloo – 3,7
Brock – 3 McGill – 8 PEI – 3 St. Francis Xavier – 3 Western – 3
Calgary – 7 McMaster – 10 Quebec – 7 St. Mary’s – 7 Laurier – 7
Carleton – 7 Memorial – 6 Queen’s – 3 St. Thomas – 7 Windsor – 7
Concordia – 7 Moncton – 7 Queen’s Engineering – 4 Ste-Anne – 7 Winnipeg – 7
Dalhousie – 3,7 Montreal – 7 Regina – 3 Toronto – 3,7 York – 9
Guelph – 3 Mt. Allison – 7 RMC/CMR – 4,7 Trent – 3