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.

Speakeasy Program

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.

Speakeasy Mentorship

We partner our Speakeasy Program participants with a peer language facilitator who can help you improve your conversation skills and level of expression. 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. Register on OSCARplus > Events > Special Events.

  • Meet for one hour each week
  • Bring material you want to discuss
  • Make friends and learn about new cultures
  • Attend social events

Speakeasy Conversation Circles

Would you prefer to practice your English in a group setting? Our Student Success Leaders (SSLs) will run conversation clubs for English language learners. These groups can range in size from 6-20 students.  Participants can show up without registering. Email us at spkeasy@mcmaster.ca for details.

Speakeasy Socials

Both volunteers and participants are welcome to meet up and have fun at events throughout the year. Registration is not necessary.

  • Pumpkin Carving (Oct 29, 12-3 pm, Mills Library L304)
  • Games Night (Nov 23, 4:30-6:30, Mills Library L304)
  • Date with Speakeasy/Dinner and Movie (Feb 15, 4:30-6:30, Mills Library L304)
  • Year-End Celebration (Mar 30, 4:30-6:30, Mills Library L304)

Speakeasy 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. Register on OSCARplus > Events.

Speakeasy Writing Series

Practice your grammar and writing skills in a writing workshop series. There are two parts:

  • Speakeasy Writing Series: Part 1 (Sentence Variety): clauses (independent & dependent), prepositional phrases, and noun phrases.
  • Speakeasy Writing Series: Part 2 (Paragraphs and Papers): paragraph structure, essay structure, thesis statements, and the writing process.

Register on OSCARplus.

Do you have more questions about Speakeasy?

Please direct all inquiries to spkeasy@mcmaster.ca or to Mary McCaffery (Academic Skills Advisor) at mccafm1@mcmaster.ca.

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

Become a Peer Language Facilitator!

The Peer Language Facilitator Program joins English fluent students (volunteers) and English language learners (participants) in one-on-one partnerships. Each pair meets to discuss English language challenges and to share personal interests. 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.

Register to become a volunteer on OSCARplus > Events > Special Events.

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