With the approaching launch of a new MCAT ® designed to better prepare tomorrow’s doctors for a changing medical environment, a new Kaplan Test Prep survey of nearly 500 pre-med students* finds that aspiring doctors have definite opinions about what their future professional selves should know:
- Serious about Psychology: 73% of pre-meds say psychology—the study of the human mind and behavior—is a relevant field of study for future doctors. This consensus meshes well with the content of the new MCAT, which will include a semester’s worth of college-level introductory psychology.
- Digging into Data: Just over half (52%) say analytics and data analysis are relevant areas of study for future doctors. This thinking also aligns with the new MCAT, which will include a Research Design section that focuses on the fundamentals of creating research projects, research bias, faulty results, and variable relationships. Additionally, there will be a Graphical Analysis and Data Interpretation section that focuses on deriving conclusions and drawing inferences from visual data, including figures, graphs, and data tables.
- Se habla español: Almost half (48%) of pre-meds surveyed say knowing Spanish is an important skill set for doctors to have. While the new MCAT doesn’t measure test takers’ foreign-language skills, pre-meds may benefit from squeezing in a few semesters worth of Spanish classes. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by almost 37 million Americans—more than double what it was in 1990.
- Of lesser value...: The areas of study which pre-meds think are less relevant to future doctors include sociology (46%), anthropology/cultural studies (38%), and philosophy (14%).
“Today’s pre-meds recognize that science and healthcare are far different fields than they were a generation ago and understand that it may be necessary to measure their knowledge and competency as future medical students and future doctors in different ways,” said Owen Farcy, director of pre-health institutional partnerships, Kaplan Test Prep. “At Kaplan we believe the new MCAT will better prepare students for medical school and careers in medicine, but because of the additional content and the marathon eight-hour length of the new exam, there’s no doubt that the path to medical school will be more challenging. We continue to advise pre-meds who can take the current exam to do so and reserve their testing slot immediately, as space is limited.”