If you are looking for guidance and examples for the McMaster Engineering timed written responses and video interview, then you’ve come to the right place.
This Application Prep guide is fully updated with this year’s 2023/2024 application (i.e. for applicants planning on starting the program in Fall 2023).
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 demonstrate a clear sense of self and strong life experience, as well as exemplary communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills.
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 McMaster Engineering video interview examples 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 responses 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’ve also created a comprehensive Interview Skills Guide that covers every step of the interview process so you can ace any question that comes your way.
REMEMBER: We will primarily focus on the McMaster Engineering program in this guide. However, the Supp App for all programs in McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering, including Bachelor of Technology (Btech), Integrated Biomedical Engineering & Health Sciences (iBioMed), Engineering 1 (Eng), and Computer Science (CompSci) is the SAME. If you are applying to more than one program in the Faculty of Engineering, you only need to complete ONE Supplementary Application.
If you’re serious about getting into McMaster Engineering and reaching your fullest post-secondary potential, connect with a coach. It’s never too early to receive coaching.
Table of Contents
- 2023/2024 McMaster Engineering Supplementary Application: Possible questions; Question examples; Question themes and tips; and More.
- How to Submit the McMaster Engineering Supplementary Application: Submitting your application; Using the external video interview platform platform; and More.
2023/2024 McMaster Engineering Supplementary Application
McMaster Engineering Supplementary Application – Breakdown
The McMaster Engineering Supplementary Application is mandatory for all students applying to the Faculty of Engineering, including Btech, iBioMed, Engineering 1, and CompSci.
The Supplementary Application gives the admissions committee a chance to meet you and learn more about you, while getting a better sense of your unique experiences, interests, and skills like communication and problem solving.
Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect for this Supp App:
- There are 4 questions total
- Before you complete your formal responses, you will get unlimited practice questions
- You must complete 3 video responses, with 1 minute to prepare and 2 minutes to answer
- You must complete 1 written response. You will have 10 minutes to answer
- These four questions will take you a maximum of 20 minutes to complete (not counting the time for the practice questions)
The entire McMaster Engineering Supplementary Application is completed through a third-party platform.
The McMaster Engineering Supplementary Application deadline for Level 1 applicants is January 27, 2023 at 12pm ET.
COACH’S TIP: Once you apply on OUAC, you will receive an acknowledgement email from McMaster and instructions on how to activate your MacID. After you activate your MacID, it can take up to 10 business days after you have applied on OUAC and received your acknowledgment email before you will receive access to your supplementary application via email
Your grades and your supplementary application are important. As long as you meet the minimum grade requirement and you perform well on the McMaster Engineering Supp App, you will be considered for admission.
This means that you can get the highest grades in the world, but if you don’t take the time to prepare yourself for your written and video questions, then you might not get into your dream program.
We get it — interviews are super stressful. But just remember: McMaster did this on purpose! The admissions committee wants to see that you can work well under pressure and that you can solve problems and think critically in tough situations. The interview also lets them see how articulate, passionate, and dedicated you are.
How can you do this? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. 🙂
Keep reading below for tips, strategies, possible questions, and more for both the written and the video questions. If you have questions about this year’s application and need help preparing, connect with a coach for 1-on-1 support.
McMaster Engineering Interview Questions – Possible Questions
Here is some of the interview questions our students have seen for the 2023/24 McMaster Engineering Supplementary Application interview.
The questions you’ll be asked usually fall into two main types:
1. PERSONAL QUESTIONS
Personal questions are all about YOU.
They will ask you things like what you would do in a certain situation, what you value, the experiences you have had working on your own and with others, etc. Learn more about ways to approach personal questions in our Interview Skills Guide.
Personal Questions give you the change to talk about where you come from, while showing how you react to situations and how you apply key skills like leadership, problem solving, organization, and time management in all areas of your life.
When answering personal questions, we recommend using storytelling to help make your answers more unique, memorable, and authentic.
How can you do this?
Check out our Narrative Communication Approach™ Guide to learn how to make an emotional connection with the reviewers so that you can stand out from other applicants and showcase your skills, values, interests, and experiences.
2. PROBLEM-BASED QUESTIONS
Problem-based questions ask you to take a position or discuss your opinion about a specific issues, question, or topic. Learn more about ways to approach problem-based questions in our Interview Skills Guide.
These questions might seem scary, but just remember that they are meant to be this way!
The admissions committee wants to see your critical thinking and problem solving skills, as well as your ability to keep your cool under pressure and make a logical and structured argument.
What you want to do for these questions is take a position, justify that position with a couple supporting arguments, and then briefly explain what your answer says about you (so that it benefits your application).
Trust us…it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
Our Deductive Communication Approach™ will help make this process easier for you because it uses a top-down method, where you state your Answer, back it up with some Main Arguments and Supporting Arguments, and then talk about why it all matters (and how it has allowed you to learn and grow as a student).
By having this communication approach in your interview toolkit, you can go into the interview super confident that you’ll be able to give a logical answer and keep your cool — no matter what question they throw at you.
COACH’S TIP: Problem-based questions can seem intimidating, but DON’T PANIC. The most important thing is how you come across vs. what exactly your answer is. The admissions committee isn’t expecting a perfect answer — what they really want to see is a strong thought process and that you can form a logical answer that’s backed up by solid reasons and evidence.
For example, we’ve seen the question: “Do you believe there should be a cap on rent charged in large cities?” In this case, the admissions committee isn’t expecting that you’ll know a ton about economics models. Instead, they want to see that you can stay calm, form a rational and logical answer and back it up with solid reasoning.
Learn how to give strong answers to Problem Questions in our Interview Skills Guide.
If you need some help preparing your answers and doing some mock interviews for personal and problem-based questions, connect with a coach now.
Here are some questions that we have seen come up for 2023 McMaster Engineering interview. These questions are possible for BOTH the written and video responses.
- What does being resourceful mean to you, and why is it important?
- Tell us about a time management strategy you used. Why does it work?
- How do you create a balance for yourself when working in a stressful environment?
- Give us an example of a time you acted with integrity.
No matter whether then question is personal or problem-based, the admissions committee wants to see that you have self-awareness. This means that they want to make sure you know what your skills are (and what you need to improve on), what you value, and how you plan to make a difference in the world.
It may seem obvious and you’re probably thinking, “Duh.. of course I know what I’m good at and what I care about.”
This might surprise you, but very few students actually focus on self-awareness. You might think you have it all figured out, but it’s probably more surface-level than you think.
That’s why we have a whole phase in our coaching methodology (the Discovery phase) where we use a Student Identity Blueprint™ to help you figure out who you are and what makes you tick. Then, when questions like these are asked during the interview, you’ll know EXACTLY how to respond.
If you haven’t already, connect with a coach to get started on your Blueprint.
McMaster Engineering Admission Interview – Questions Examples
Here are some examples to help you as you’re preparing for your interview.
REMEMBER: These responses are EXAMPLES ONLY and are NOT meant for you to copy.
VIDEO QUESTIONS EXAMPLES
EXAMPLE 1: ‘What does being resourceful mean to you and why is it important?”
WRITTEN QUESTIONS EXAMPLES
Keep in mind that the written questions must be completed within 10 mins.
EXAMPLE 1: ‘Tell us about a time when you failed to accomplish something. What did you learn?’ (Written)
EXAMPLE 2: ‘People like people who are comfortable outside of their comfort zones. Describe your opinion on this.’
EXAMPLE 3: ‘Why do you want to become an engineer?’
McMaster Engineering Interview Questions – Themes
Since you don’t know the questions until you’re doing the interview for real, it helps to think generally about a few themes and ideas that you can use across various types of questions.
Then, as you’re completing your written and video responses, you can use these as talking points to easily come up with an answer.
Here are a themes to get you started:
EXPERIENCE & SKILLS
It is very likely that there will be a question that will ask you to provide more information about yourself. This can include an experience you’ve had, how you developed your interest in Engineering, your skills, your educational/career goals, and/or challenges you’ve faced and overcome.
The most important thing is to make sure you’re authentic and truthful. You also want to take the time to think about how your experiences have shaped who you are, as well as what you value and the vision you have for the future. Come up with 3-4 skills you have, like time management, leadership, and problem solving, that you want to work into your answers. In other words, you want to show that you have self-awareness.
If you aren’t sure how to prepare for this theme, complete our Student Identity Blueprint™ or connect with a coach to get started.
McMaster wants students who are actively involved in the community, not just because it shows commitment, selflessness, and passion, but also because it highlights time management, leadership, and responsibility.
Make sure you have 1 or 2 examples of how you have been involved in your community and emphasize the impact you had by being involved. Finally, provide some insight about how this changed you as a person and contributed to developing your interest in engineering (if applicable).
There is often a question about how you have dealt with conflict, like during a group project or as a member of a team. When answering these types of questions, don’t just focus on the problem, but more so the resolution or lessons learned.
The point of conflict questions is so that the admissions committee can see how your experiences, accomplishments, skills, and values contribute to the way you view and interact with the world.
In addition to conflict in team settings, a lot of the time there are questions about how you have worked in a team effectively. Once again, make sure you have specific examples to clearly define how you succeed in the team, and not just the team’s success. McMaster wants to make sure that every student they admit to the program will be a valuable member of their own community, so positive and inclusive interaction with others is key for these types of questions.
There are questions that are really just structured around seeing how you handle pressure and manage your time. Be sure to really explain why the example you are giving is a good example of how you can manage your time and operate under stressful situations.
As mentioned above, it’s important for questions like this to be truthful. Don’t say “I am NEVER late for anything!” or “I’ve never given something less than 100% when I ran out of time.” This just isn’t true (for anyone!). Instead, be honest and talk about what lessons you learned because of these situations. For example, you could say that you learned that taking on too many projects meant that they weren’t being completed properly, so now you focus on quality not quantity when choosing projects to take on.
This is an opportunity for you to discuss something you have achieved. For this, try to think of something that is differentiated and you can really explain how you achieved it, and why that achievement will help you at McMaster.
If you want to learn how you can align these themes to your unique interests and experiences, connect with a coach now.
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McMaster Engineering Supplementary Application – Interview Prep Tips
Many students ask us for tips for preparing for the McMaster Engineering video interview.
Here are the ones we think will help you the most for the video and written questions:
TIP #1: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
It can seem really scary to see yourself talking on screen and worrying about how you are coming across to the admissions committee.
Open up your camera and practice answering some of the Possible Questions listed above. Recording yourself will help you get the hang of things and get comfortable with seeing yourself on camera.
If you want to take your prep to the next level, work 1-on-1 with a coach and do some mock interviews so you know exactly what to do when you’re recording your answers for real.
TIP #2: ALWAYS ANSWER THE ENTIRE QUESTION
It seems silly, but it is common to get off track and later realize you didn’t answer the question.
Break down each part of the question into smaller components, and address each one as you move through your answer. If you’re working on a written question, take some time at the end while you’re proofreading to make sure you’ve answered everything.
TIP #3: TAKE YOUR TIME
Sometimes when you know you have a limited amount of time you might speed through everything like a mad race against the clock.
For the video questions, remember to take a breath and pause between your sentences to allow the reviewer time to process what you said. Focus on speaking clearly and slowly.
TIP #4: TELL IMPORTANT INFO ABOUT YOU
Remember that every answer you give should tell the interviewer something about you that boosts your application, even if the question isn’t about you.
Highlight your skills and experiences, show that you have thought about goals, and use the questions to help the admissions committee learn more about you. You’re going to be a great addition to their program — tell them how!
TIP #5: BE CONCISE
Your answers should be clear and to the point, leaving out unnecessary information.
In the video questions, you don’t want to ramble — get to the point and be clear, providing clear examples and specific points that fully answer the question.
The written questions are the same. 150 words isn’t that much so you have to make every word count. Get rid of information that is repetitive or doesn’t add value. It is better to have a short, concise answer than a convoluted answer that is redundant and possibly unfocused.
TIP #6: BE PROFESSIONAL (BUT ALSO HAVE FUN!)
When preparing for your video questions make sure that you come across as a young professional with something special to offer the program. How can you do this?
- Dress professionally
- Make sure the background behind your camera is empty
- Go somewhere that is quiet and free from distractions
- Sit up straight
- Maintain eye contact with the camera the entire time
While it’s important to be professional, it’s also important to have fun with these questions. The admissions committee wants to admit unique people who have a shining personality and the experiences to match. Show them who you are and be yourself.
TIP #7: DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF
The admissions committee reviews thousands of applications. You’ll never stand out if your answers are the same as everyone else’s, so come up with answers that are unique.
For example, if there’s a question that asks “Describe a time when you had to adapt” don’t simply talk about how COVID made everything more difficult. Instead, you can talk about an experience where you took on a challenge and tried something that hadn’t been done before. Then, shift the question into talking about your successes and what you learned from the experience.
For other interview prep tips that can help you stand out from other applicants, DON’T MISS our Interview Skills Guide.
If you would like more tips to help you prepare, as well as the chance to up your game and do some mock video/written questions, connect with a coach today. Our coaches have helped hundreds of students conquer their written/video interview questions questions and achieve admissions success!
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Submitting the McMaster Engineering Supplementary Application
Navigating the video interview platform and submitting your written/video questions is a bit complicated, so here’s a step-by-step breakdown to show you exactly how to submit your Supp App.
Step 1: After you submit your OUAC application, you will receive an email 7-10 days later with the information you need to create your MacID. Once you have signed in, you will be redirected to the written/video interview platform.
Step 2: After you check in, make sure you watch the Welcome Video first so you can become more familiar with the platform and you know exactly what to expect.
REMEMBER: The written/video interview platform is invitation only, online interviewing platform that uses text and video questions. You will NOT interact with live people. Instead, you will get text or video questions and then provide the corresponding answers.
Step 3: When you’ve finished the video, click the “Registration” button and enter all of your information.
Step 4: Next, complete the device setup to ensure that your camera and microphone are working properly.
Step 5: Now it’s time to do your practice questions. These are REALLY important to do so you know exactly how the written/video questions will look. The last thing you want is to be stressed out, so getting a feel for the platform will help ease the stress a bit.
The practice questions come in groups of 4 (1 written and 3 video). However, you have unlimited practice questions. Simply exit out to the main menu when you’re done and start the practice questions again.
Once you’re done practicing, you are ready to begin the questions for real!
REMEMBER: For the Welcome Video, Registration, Device Setup, and Practice sections, you can exit and come back whenever. When you click “Assessment” you WILL NOT be able to exit and come back, so only click it when you’re ready to record your answers for real.
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