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Revising the MCAT for 2015

Revising the MCAT for 2015
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The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), a test that hasn’t been revised in over 20 years, will be getting an overhaul come 2015. Two new sections will be added that will place focus on critical thinking and the sociocultural and behavioral determinants of health—increasing the length of the test from about 5.5 hours to 6.5 hours. The writing section, however, will be eliminated.

“Being a good doctor is about more than scientific knowledge,” says Darrell Kirch, MD, president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges in a news release. “It also requires an understanding of people.”

As of 2015, the MCAT will continue to test a student’s knowledge of the natural sciences, such as physics, chemistry, biology, and biochemistry, but there will be a new emphasis on the basic principles of psychology, behavior, and sociology.

The revised test will also evaluate a student’s understanding of basic research methods, statistics, and ability to comprehend, evaluate, and apply information. The committee examining the current MCAT chose to eliminate the writing section in the 2015 MCAT because they found the section offered medical school admissions departments little information about an applicant’s qualifications for medical school.

The evolving demography of the U.S. population calls for physicians to not only have a better understanding of human health, but also to be able to interpret and apply new research to their patients.  

Physician’s Weekly wants to know…as an experienced physician, do you feel the changes to the MCAT will better reflect the skills necessary to be good doctor? What other changes to the test would you make?

2 Comments

  1. It is important that MCAT test what type of people become doctors. But does testing guarantee that it will pick right people? It is the type of training that counts and how good are the trainers and the infrastructure. Then there is an issue of how dedicated one is and how much one wants to learn. MCAT is only minor part of criteria as anyone can master test taking strategies. But to master the art of medicine is a prerogative of select few.

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  2. I think that revision is good.
    It concerns me that input into the process should include
    suggestions and review from current students, recent grads, and practicing physicians who are NOT in the academic setting, for making sure the testing is not biased for those who test well on standardized tests. I realize that the questions to be used will be tested to make sure that the answer responses fall into a standardized curve for the number of students who get them correct, but they may not be tested for their relevance to success in actual practice. as opposed to ability to memorize data. Also, once the students are in med school, perhaps there should be some emphasis on followup individual testing and counseling to assist students in choosing a specialty that fits their own personal profile, since they must start applications and interviews so early in their fourth year of medical education that they may not have had time to experience a variety of professional specialty practices. Just my my humble opinion.

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