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Important Changes to the MCAT in 2015



The AAMC has published instructions on how to prepare for the MCAT2015 Exam which can be viewed here. A timeline of changes has also been released which can be viewed here.

 

Why is the MCAT changing?


After a review of the current Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and its advisory committee, recommendations were made to update the MCAT to reflect changing trends in health care and scientific advancement. Their goal was to improve the MCAT by retaining what was working from the previous exam, taking away what wasn't, and adding more content relevant to the medical profession by surveying current medical school faculty, residents, medical students, and admissions officers.

The natural sciences sections that test biology, general and organic chemistry, biochemistry, and physics will be updated to reflect current medicine. In addition, reading passages about ethics and philosophy, cultural studies, and population health among others will be used for the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skill section. Finally, an extra section called the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior will be added, which focusses on the social and behavioral sciences.

 

What will be the new format of the MCAT?


The MCAT 2015 test will consist of four sections:

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

All four sections are in multiple-choice format. The passages and questions are predetermined, and thus do not change in difficulty depending on the performance of the test taker (unlike, for example, the Graduate Record Examination).


MCAT 2015 Section Number of items Number of minutes
Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
59
95
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
59
95
Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
59
95
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
53
90

Both the Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems and Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems sections will test concepts from introductory-level biology, organic and inorganic chemistry, and physics, as well as biochemistry concepts taught typically in a first-semester biochemistry course in many colleges and universities. Cellular and molecular biology topics are also included, along with basic research methods and statistics concepts.

The Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section tests concepts in psychology, sociology, and biology. Concepts taught in one-semester introductory psychology and sociology courses, as well as introductory biology courses from universities and colleges, are used.

For the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section, the goal is to test comprehension, analysis and reasoning skills by having test takers read passages and answer questions pertaining to the passage. The passages can be about ethics, philosophy, cultural studies, population health, and various social sciences and humanities disciplines.

Scores for the four multiple-choice sections range from 118 to 132. The numerical scores from each multiple-choice section are added together to give a composite score ranging from 472 to 528. There is no penalty for incorrect multiple choice answers, thus even random guessing is preferable to leaving an answer choice blank (unlike many other standardized tests).

It is recommended that every student taking the MCAT should prepare for the test beforehand. We at Ivy Global are prepared to equip you with the skills and strategies needed to maximize your results. Ivy Global offers both MCAT courses and MCAT tutoring.

 

What resources will the AAMC provide to help students prepare for the MCAT 2015?


The AAMC released a full-length practice test which can be found here. Subsquently a second full-length practice test will be released in 2015. They also released The Official Guide to the MCAT 2015 Exam which can be found here.

In terms of other practice materials, the AAMC has recommended this website for undergraduate faculty to use to help their own students develop their pre-health competencies. It contains a free, searchable online collection of instructional materials that include material relevant to the MCAT 2015 exam.

The AAMC has also released an informational video featuring a medical student and resident talking about their personal experience taking the MCAT exam and differences for the MCAT 2015 exam, and offering suggestions for preparation for the change.



The latest updates on the MCAT 2015 exam from AAMC can be found here.

 

How is Ivy Global helping students prepare for the MCAT 2015 exam?


In order to better equip our students for the upcoming changes to the MCAT, our courses for the summer of 2015 will fully integrate the new MCAT 2015 exam material into our curriculum. For the summer of 2014, our courses will touch briefly on the changes to the MCAT exam, but not focus on the new content. This is because most students taking a course will write the exam shortly thereafter, and it is most productive to focus on the structure of the exam which students are most likely to write. If a student requires supplemental aid at an earlier time to prepare for the MCAT 2015 exam, we offer one on one tutoring to cater to their needs.

The MCAT examination has not changed for more than twenty years, and we understand this is a major change. We will be fully prepared for the switchover and have the best up to date and relevant course material for our students when the time comes.

 

 

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