By Joyce Fagel, Academic Counselor, UW Undergraduate Academic Affairs Advising and Shoreline Community College
Pre-med students and advisers, you may have heard the news already, the MCAT is changing.
What is changing? Starting in 2015 the exam will have a longer total length and consist of four sections:
Why is it changing? The exam needs to stay relevant to current medical knowledge and practices. The addition of section 3 reflects the growing understanding of behavioral factors in the health of individuals, in effective health care delivery by individual care providers, as well as the health care system as a whole. The content of the other sections is also updated.
Which exam will I take? If you want to start medical school in 2014 or 2015, you will take the current MCAT exam in 2013 or 2014. If you want to start in 2016 or 2017 you will probably take the new MCAT exam. Most medical schools will accept scores for two or three years after the date; this is specific to each school.
How do I prepare? A free Preview Guide for the MCAT 2015 Exam is already available on the MCAT web site. A study guide will be published in spring 2014. Course preparation will need to include: general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, general physics, psychology and sociology or other social science courses. An understanding of statistics is also recommended.
How are scores used? MCAT scores together with course grades and patterns provide a measure of academic strength and preparation. These will remain a very important aspect of your application, but admission committees consider many other factors, such as: exposure to health care and medical research environments, personal experiences and interests, potential contributions to the campus and community, and personal attributes, such as maturity and drive to help others.
Information in this article was mostly taken from: Aspiring Docs: How Do I...Prepare for the MCAT 2015 Exam? and the MCAT website.