Photo by Amy courtesy of Creative Commons.
Alyssa Elso/Staff Writer
Pre-med students may face a more difficult Medical College Admissions Test once the revamped version is administered in 2015.
According to a Kaplan 2013 Survey, in which 79 medical school admission officers from across the United States were polled, 43 percent expect the revamped MCAT to be more difficult than the current one. While the remaining 55 percent think the difficulty will remain the same.
“It is too soon to tell how students will do on the new test since no one has taken it yet,” said Barbra Roller, assistant dean for Student Affairs.
The current MCAT, which is taken by prospective medical students each year, tests students’ knowledge in physical science, verbal reasoning and biological sciences.
According to Kaplan Test Prep, the new MCAT will feature three additional sections, testing students skills in biochemistry, psychology and sociology. Along with the new sections, the exam will feature new question types and skills that focus on research design, graphical analysis and data interpretation.
Senior pre-med student Alan Marquez is preparing to take his MCAT in January and is relieved to not have the added pressure of preparing and studying for the 2015 MCAT.
“I think the changes made to the MCAT were made with good intentions, but I think it is only going to make the test harder and much more stressful to study for than it already is,” said Marquez.
“More material equals more hours of studying, which pre-medical students can’t really afford since they are busy taking hard science classes.”
Aside from the new sections and the additional study time students will face, the test length will also increase.
According to Roller, when the test was first on paper, it took students eight hours to complete. Today, the test is computerized and is about five hours long, but the new test will revert back to its original length of time – eight hours.
“You could be the most disciplined student in the world, but no one has an attention span that can successfully work that long,” said Marquez.
For students that will be required to take the 2015 MCAT, the Office of Pre-Health Advising has begun to help students prepare by encouraging them to take courses in biochemistry, psychology, sociology and statistics early on in their academic career.
“It does not matter where students learn the new information, but if they take these courses, they are preparing for the test and working towards completing their University Core Curriculum,” said Roller.
When it comes to the admissions requirement for students applying to the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, students must currently have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a combined MCAT score of 25 for regular admission. Students who seek early decision must have a minimum GPA of 3.7 and a combined MCAT score of 35.
According to Roller, the average MCAT score for medical school applicants falls between 31 and 35, but there is no telling how scores will change once the new test is in effect.
“The new MCAT may require students to put more time into studying, but it is designed to make incoming medical students more well-rounded individuals,” said Roller.