The New MCAT: Information and Updates
Dear Pre-Medical Students:
We have been getting a lot of questions regarding the changes that are going to be made to the MCAT exam. Below you will find the most up-to-date information available.
1. 2013 Changes: The big changes ARE NOT happening until 2015. Many students e-mail concerned about the exam changing next year (2013); this is not the case. Next year, they are removing the writing portion but they are not making any other changes.
The following information is directly from the AAMC website:
What will be different about the MCAT exam in 2013 and 2014?
If you plan to take the MCAT exam in 2013 or 2014, please note that the Writing Sample section will no longer be part of the exam. In its place, a voluntary, unscored trial section will be added to the MCAT exam starting in January 2013. These unscored questions within the trial section will test content added to the MCAT in 2015, including psychology, sociology, and biochemistry. The trial section will consist of 32 questions and will be administered in a 45-minute time period after all three operational sections (Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, and Biological Sciences) have been administered. Including the trial section, the 2013 and 2014 total testing time will not change.
Examinees who volunteer to participate in the trial section, and put forth a good faith effort, will be compensated. The trial section will be administered under standard conditions for all examinees who volunteer to participate and scores will not be reported for this section. Please note that admissions officers will continue to receive Writing Sample scores from exams taken in 2012 and prior.
2. 2015 Big Changes: In 2015 there will be some big changes made to the exam. These changes include adding a section on the social/behavioral sciences and adding questions in biochemistry. For more information please see the AAMC website: https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/mcat2015/.
On this page you will also find the Preview Guide for the 2015 MCAT. This is an important document; check the website and the guide frequently for changes. There is a lot of information available.
3. Informational Video: AAMC has created a video explaining the changes which you may find helpful (and the link can also be found on the AAMC website): http://youtu.be/S8635VAnOeE
4. Preparation and Additional Courses: As explained on the website, in the guide and in the video, courses in psychology, sociology and biochemistry are going to help prepare you for the new MCAT. Taking courses in cell biology will also be good preparation. Here at Hunter, many of you may end up completing these courses as part of your General Education Requirement (GER). They are important courses, so take them seriously. Once we have more information, we may be able to suggest other specific courses to help prepare you for the new MCAT but for now, taking courses such as: introductory psychology and introductory sociology are a good start.
The website also has information regarding when new practice tests and preparation materials will be available to students.
5. Test Score Validity: Generally speaking, test scores are valid for 3 years. However, the AAMC and medical schools have not yet decided if they will require the applicants in 2015 to take the newest version of the MCAT. Please review the information below that comes directly from the AAMC website:
Examinees will need to be informed that, as of a certain date, medical schools will only accept the new exam with their application. How is that being addressed?
The AAMC and medical school admissions officers are currently considering this question. They are weighing the pros and cons of asking all applicants for the 2016 entering class to take the new exam. They're also talking about the window within which they would accept scores from the current exam if they decide to accept scores both from the current and new tests for 2016 admission. AAMC and the admissions officers expect to decide on this question in June and will communicate it to stakeholders via e-mail to our 4,000-member listserv (including pre-health advisors and other baccalaureate faculty), postings on the MCAT2015 Web site, and through social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
What this means: Those of you, who have been planning to take the MCAT in 2014 to avoid taking the newer version, sit tight. Right now, if you are planning to apply in 2015 for admission to medical school in 2016 you MAY have to take the newest version. However, since this isn't definite yet, wait to decide until a final decision has been made by the AAMC. Don't worry; you have plenty of time to plan for this (...it is only 2012!)!
If you are planning on applying in 2013 or 2014, then you do not have to worry about the new exam. However, if you decide to postpone your application (or re-apply) in 2015, after you have already taken the test, you may be forced to take the new exam. This is something to think about and discuss with an advisor when the time comes for you to apply, don't stress out about it now.
If you are planning to apply to medical school in 2015 or you are not sure when you will be applying, the best way to prepare is to continue taking the traditionally required pre-medical courses while leaving room for additional courses in biology, sociology and psychology. This does not mean you have to be a biology or a psychology major; as always you can major in any academic subject, as long as you take the required courses to get into medical school and prepare you for the MCAT.
We hope that reviewing this information will answer the questions you might have about the new MCAT. Please keep in mind that the Pre-Health Advising Office at Hunter only has the information that is available on the AAMC website. We (unfortunately) don't have any secret insider information beyond what you can find on the website yourself. Whenever new information becomes available to us, we will certainly let all of you know.
Have a great day!
PS: You might want to save the AAMC MCAT 2015 website to your favorites; this way you can access it easily for updates.