Monday, October 29, 2012

More Information on the 2015 MCAT

The "new" MCAT exam has been somewhat shrouded in mystery, which is quite frustrating for current college pre-med freshmen since they will be the first cohort of students to take the new 7.5 hour exam. While attending the Kentucky Premedical Advisors meeting over the weekend, I received a little more information on the 2015 MCAT. While there are still many unanswered questions, I'm sharing with you all that I know and hope that this provides some guidance. Here is what I know:

  • January 2015 will be the last administration of the current MCAT exam. The new exam will launch spring 2015. If you plan to take the current MCAT, you should anticipate a high demand for the late 2014 and January 2015 exam dates and plan to register EARLY.
  • The new exam has 4 sections: 1) Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; 2) Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; 3) Psychological , Social, & Biological Foundations of Behavior; and 4) Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills.
  • We heard from all 3 Kentucky medical schools and it does not appear that the required prerequisite courses will change for medical school. HOWEVER, I do not believe you will be successful on the new MCAT just taking the basic pre-med courses.
  • Current require pre-requisite courses are: 2 semesters of English; 1 semester of Calculus OR 2 semesters of other college Math; 2 semesters of Biology with Lab; 2 semesters of Inorganic Chemistry with Lab; 2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with Lab; 2 Semesters of Physics with Lab. You can read this in detail from the ULSOM website.
  • With the new MCAT, you should have all of these completed along with the following HIGHLY RECOMMENDED COURSES (the exam will cover content in these courses) before you take the exam: 1 semester of Cellular Biology; 1 semester of Biochemistry; 1 semester of Psychology; 1 semester of Sociology.
  • Questions from the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section do not require specific coursework. However, the passages will come from humanities and social sciences including: ethics, philosophy, cross-cultural studies, and population health. Students should try to read more in these areas.
  • AAMC has  put out the "MCAT 2015 Preview Guide" which describes the 4 sections of the new MCAT. This will give you a better idea on the content covered and the level of knowledge they will be looking for on these concepts. There are also videos that explain the new MCAT.
  • Although we do not know the cost of the new MCAT, it is anticipated that the testing fee will increase (current cost of MCAT exam is $235). The Fee Assistance Program (FAP) will still be available for those who qualify.
  • Test preparation for the new exam. As of today, there is very little information regarding exam preparation for the 2015 MCAT. AAMC has indicated that by 2014 there will be one free online practice test (but it will not be scored). By 2015, there will be a second practice test and possibly additional sets of items and a question bank.
While I understand that this information is still quite limited, this is all we know so far. If you are a program alumni and have questions about this, please contact the Office of Minority and Rural Affairs.