Tuesday, April 26, 2011

MCAT Changes in 2015

The skeptic might chime that by the time the stats show that the MCAT, on its own, is not shown to correlate strongly with clinical performance nor the ability to successfully obtain licensure, it is not time to ditch the test, rather it is time to modify the exam and study the result for the next 20 years or so. The last major change was in 1991 (followed by minor adjustments in 2003 and 2007). It is as it is so we shall move on.

Among the current suggested changes to the new post-2014 MCAT: redividing the test into four new sections—molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, behavioral and social sciences, and critical analysis and reasoning; (2) adding approximately 90 minutes to the current exam thus the total test time could be estimated at seven hours. The most recent report - released by the MR5 Committee of the AAMC - also suggests the removal of the only written part of the exam: the Writing Sample. This is no surprise to current applicants since very few medical schools ever took the score for the Writing Sample as an important aspect to admissions.

By apparently removing physics and de-emphasizing organic chemistry, everyone will have greater choices in undergraduate course selection which is a positive development. Without having said it blatantly, the other consequence is that the amount of material that must be memorized for the new MCAT will be cut in half at least. Why? Because the current MCAT requires little biology knowledge to answer the molecular and cellular biology questions (most of the information is in the passage) but physics requires the memorization of equations, etc. This may be a shift to more reasoning, less memorization.

For students getting ready for the current or "old" (!!) MCAT, here are a couple of pages that would be helpful to memorize: MCAT physics equations sheet, MCAT organic chemistry mechanisms, and MCAT biochemistry review.

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