The MCAT has Changed
Beginning 2015, aspiring premed students should be more prepared than ever as new changes on the MCAT exam have recently been approved by the Association of American Medical Colleges or AAMC.
The first since the year 1991, the changes made to the MCAT 2015 exam are intended to help and train medical students for the ever-evolving and changing health care system to better address the needs of the continuously growing and changing population.
These changes in the MCAT 2015 exam will require hopeful medical practitioners a deeper and more comprehensive knowledge on sociology, biology, and psychology, preparing them for the developments and challenges of the modern health care system.
Through these changes, our future doctors are provided with a stronger foundation on the social and human components of health.
What is the MCAT and why is it important?
MCAT stands for the Medical College Admission Test. It is the standardized test completed in the United States and Canada for prospective medical students. It is a computer-based standardized test that’s made to gauge the aspiring doctor’s ability to solve problems, think critically, and his or her understanding on medical principles and scientific concepts.
College undergraduates in their 3rd or 4th year of college actually take the MCAT before they apply for medical school. Basically, MCAT assesses the capabilities and greatness of our future doctors, ensuring we get only the best the medical field can offer.
What are the changes to the MCAT 2015 and what are they for?
The new MCAT is a more challenging examination to better test premed students and have them be prepared to be better practitioners in the future. The new MCAT retained the best of the past exams and removed the insignificant parts. Furthermore, the upcoming MCAT 2015 includes these important additions:
Recent changes in medical education will now be featured on the natural sciences sections of MCAT 2015 which include Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems and Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems. This is to prepare the applicants on the challenges they would definitely face as they enter the field of medicine.
A new part of the test is called Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior. This section of the exam will definitely check the ways in which these areas affect an assortment of socio-economic, cultural, human behavior, and other factors.
There will be a new section for Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. This highlights the fact that almost all medical schools want well- rounded and versatile students from a wide variety of diverse environments.
The writing portion of the exam has been removed! This gives the students more time to study for the subjects and sections that matter more.
The total testing time for MCAT will increase from five and a half hours to seven hours.
A full breakdown of the sections can be found on the AAMC site here.
Here is the MCAT laid out easier for you:
Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- 65 items, 95 minutes
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- 65 items, 95 minutes
Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior
- 65 items, 95 minutes
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
- 60 items, 90 minutes
You can find the MCAT test dates.
Registering for the MCAT
The AAMC opened registration for April-June 2015 tests on February 10th, 2015 and spots went FAST. As soon as you know what date you want to take the test, REGISTER. If you need to put it on a credit card, do it. Do not wait! You can visit their registration page to find out more info.
How can the students prepare for this new MCAT?
Check out our book, The Premed Playbook: Guide to the MCAT!
As always, the best way to prepare for the MCAT, even the new one, is to answer practice questions. By simulating an actual exam, students can assess themselves and review the questions and subjects which are causing them problems.
Fortunately for those hoping to take the MCAT 2015, AAMC continues to reach out, offering low and no-cost preparation materials including full-length practice tests and the Preview Guide for the MCAT 2015 Exam which is now available online and in print.
This updated Preview Guide for the MCAT 2015 Exam gives an in-depth explanation of concepts tested, lists of topics and sample exam questions. There’s also a video available on the AAMC website showing what students need to do to prepare for the MCAT 2015.
Besides the AAMC preparation materials, I highly recommend Next Step Test Prep practice exams as the next set to buy. Students always tell me that they are the best tests that most accurately portray the real MCAT and predict their scores the best.
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