Wednesday, June 06, 2012

MCAT Changes (Again!)

Every testing system has to undergo periodic reassessments and revisions to be effective. The MCAT is no exception. After a three-year comprehensive review, the AAMC finally reveals significant changes in the MCAT format and focus.  

The Writing Sample Removed by 2013

The Writing Sample has been part of the exam for quite some time but according to a research conducted by the MCAT review committee, “scores on this section of the test are used for only a very small group of applicants.” Furthermore, results on this section are said to be less informative hence less predictive of an applicant’s readiness and or performance in medical school. This has prompted the change in the MCAT beginning January 2013: the test will no longer include the Writing Sample section
In lieu of the Writing Sample, a voluntary, unscored trial section will be added to the MCAT exam. These 32 trial questions – which include psychology, sociology, and biochemistry topics – aim to test content that will form part of the new MCAT.  They will be administered as the last section in the test, with a 45-minute time limit.
The AAMC hopes that the eventual revisions in the MCAT will better prepare medical students in becoming tomorrow's doctors "having a wider understanding of the social and cultural aspects of health" thus leading to improvements in patient care.

MCAT Changes: A Summary
The last significant changes in the MCAT were in 2003 (less organic chemistry and more molecular biology and genetics) and 2007 (from a paper test to a computer based test or CBT). Now by January 2013, the MCAT will no longer have a Writing Sample (a section that few medical schools currently take seriously). In its place, a voluntary, unscored trial section covering psychology, sociology and biochemistry will be added. By 2015, the MCAT will further change with the addition of sections in the natural sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and critical analysis and reasoning skills.

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