After many years without making any substantial changes to the MCAT, the AAMC is now overhauling the benchmark admissions test in a major way, and the changes take hold beginning in 2015.
Future doctors listen up: If you're planning to enroll in medical school in the fall of 2016 or beyond, you will be taking the overhauled test.
The 2015 MCAT changes the focus of the test by adding two new sections that require mastery of an entirely different skill set: Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behaviour.
In other words: Sociology, social science, and humanities will be a big part of the MCAT.
The 2015 MCAT sections are:
1) Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
2) Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
3) Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
4) Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Why? Why change the MCAT now?
Medicine is moving in a new direction as multiculturalism and globalism grows, and the AAMC would like the MCAT to reflect those changes.
The AAMC believes that "It (2015 MCAT) communicates the need for future physicians to be prepared to deal with the human and social issues of medicine."
How are the new MCAT sections different from the old sections?
In the past, the MCAT was 75 percent hard science and 25 percent verbal reasoning. Now, the test is 50 percent hard science, 25 percent social science, and 25 percent critical analysis and reasoning.
The science sections are only receiving minor edits to reflect the most recent scientific findings.
What exactly is the new Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section going to be like?
Here's how the AAMC describes the new section:
"This section tests your understanding of the ways in which psychological, social, and biological factors influence perceptions and reactions to the world; behavior and behavior change; what people think about themselves and others; the cultural and social differences that influence well-being; and the relationships between social stratification, access to resources, and well-being."
The hard science sections test your ability to understand the scientific reasoning necessary to be a medical expert.
The new section will test your ability to understand humans as social beings set within a sociocultural context that governs their relationship with medicine.
Is the critical analysis and reading skills (CARS) section the same as the old verbal reasoning section?
CARS will be very similar to the old verbal reasoning section. 10 challenging passages will be followed by 5-7 multiple-choice questions that will test your understanding of the passage.
How should I prepare?
Premed prerequisites will still cover the science material you need to know for MCAT, but with the added Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section it would be smart to take:
• One intro to psychology course
• One intro to sociology, political science, or humanities course
MCAT test-prep companies are scrambling to create new test-prep materials for MCAT 2015, and by the time you're ready to prep for the test (3-6 months in advance) there will be plenty of resources -- free, cheap, affordable, and expensive -- available.
Now that you know more about MCAT 2015, do you feel ready for the challenge? Get ahead of the competition by beginning the preparation process earlier than anyone else: Prepare for the 2015 MCAT.
Source: AAMC 2015 MCAT Preview Guide