What is the MCAT?
MCAT is an acronym for Medical College Admissions Test. It was the bane of my existence at one point in my life, and I had to take it twice prior to getting into medical school. The MCAT–in my opinion–is the master of all tests. In it’s current state, it is a computer based test that includes 4 sections: Physical Sciences (PS), Verbal Reasoning (VR), Writing Sample (WS), and Biological Sciences (BS). This means that before you take these test–at the bare minimum–you should have taken courses in English, Physics, Organic Chemistry, and Biology. According to the MCAT‘s Wikipedia page:
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a computer-based standardized examination for prospective medical students in the United States and Canada. It is designed to assess problem solving, critical thinking, written analysis, and writing skills in addition to knowledge of scientific concepts and principles. Prior to August 19, 2006, the exam was a paper-and-pencil test; since January 27, 2007, however, all administrations of the exam have been computer-based.
Have you gotten the gist of the test yet? Good. Now, let’s talk about the MCAT changing…
What changes are being made to the MCAT, and when is the MCAT changing?
According to AMA Wire, “Starting in 2015, the MCAT will include two new sections: One will be knowledge of psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior; the other will cover critical analysis and reasoning skills. The writing portion will be eliminated, and the overall exam time will increase to more than six hours.”
Apparently, the MCAT is attempting to place broader expectations on students. What exactly does all of this mean to the layperson? Well, nothing I guess. But for those of you who are trying to get into medical school, this means A LOT! It will completely change the way you prepare for the test in undergrad.
Are the 2015 MCAT changes good or bad?
For the most part, I think the MCAT changes are good! I’ve always felt like some parts of the MCAT–physics in particular–were extraneous given the depth of knowledge required to do well on that portion of the test. At other times, I felt like the MCAT was missing some pertinent elements that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
What changes did the MCAT need?
I personally think the MCAT was missing the social aspects of medicine. When I took the MCAT, there were no traces of it. None! At my school, we delve into the disparities of healthcare so much that I can’t believe the MCAT never required that one have an understanding of the psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior prior to now. It’s like, why did it take so long for a Medical College Admissions Test to actually test people on what’s pertinent to medicine? Haha, who knows. I’m happy that it’s a requirement now, though.
I’m also happy that they’re removing the writing sample section because it’s just stupid. I’ll say no more about that, lol. I’m excited to see how the changes to the MCAT work out, and I’m also excited to see if these changes will help create better doctors instead of science robots. I mean, who wants to visit a science robot every few months for a check up? Not me.
Having been in medical school for a little more than 6 months, I now feel that I understand what the MCAT was missing. I also feel that the changes being made to the MCAT in 2015 definitely reflect my newfound understanding. The only real downside to the MCAT changes is the increased test time. I mean, who wants to take a test that’s more than 6 hours long?
You can find out more information about the changes to the MCAT in 2015 via the AAMC