Students who plan on attending medical school need to be aware that there is a new version of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) on the way. According to a recent press release from Kaplan Test Prep, students have the option of taking the classic MCAT, or opt for a newer, more rigorous test to be offered starting April 2015.
Features of the new test
The Association of American Medical Colleges states that the MCAT2015 will cover additional subjects like biochemistry, psychology and sociology, which are typically addressed early in a medical student's college career. It also takes students nearly two additional hours to complete the new test, compared to the current MCAT which already takes several hours. Additionally, many questions are framed in a way that requires test takers to apply their knowledge using research methods not included in the current option.
While the new MCAT2015 will eventually become the only test for medical students to take, the AAMC reported that many schools will accept results from the current test through the application cycle for 2017. A Kaplan survey of medical schools found that the majority of schools don't have a preference as to which test is taken during that time period. Those that prefer one over the other are divided - 28 percent advise the current test, and 27 percent would rather applicants submit results for the MCAT2015.
Choosing the best one
When deciding which test to take, it's best to go with whichever one a student feels most ready for, noted Eric Chiu, executive director of pre-med programs, Kaplan Test Prep.
"That said, there is a pretty compelling reason for students to take the current test by January if they can: the new MCAT will be nearly twice as long and will cover three additional content areas," he said. "This means that students' limited study time will be spread across a broader scope of content review and more hours will be required for each full-length practice test in preparation for the new MCAT 2015 exam."
Aside from students' level of comfort with the current exam, they should also consider when they plan on attending medical school, recommended the AAMC. They must take into account application deadlines and the time it takes to receive test results. Scores are usually delivered 30-35 days after completing the exam. Make sure to check medical school application deadlines.
By Monique Smith
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