According to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2013 survey of medical school admissions officers*, 43% expect the revamped MCAT coming in 2015 to be more difficult than the current one. This is a near doubling of the 22% who held this view in Kaplan’s 2012 survey. Only 2% in the 2013 survey believe the revised medical school admissions exam will be easier. The remaining 55% of medical school admissions officers think the difficulty level will remain about the same. But, despite rising concerns about difficulty, a large majority supports the coming changes (90%) and think they will better prepare students for medical school (75%); these findings are consistent with Kaplan’s 2012 survey. Among the approved changes coming to the MCAT in 2015:
- More Topics Tested: The 2015 MCAT will include three additional semesters’ worth of material in college-level biochemistry, psychology and sociology, increasing the number of prerequisite classes from eight to eleven.
- Almost Double the Length: Takers of the revised MCAT will face 261 questions over a six hours and 15 minutes time span. The current MCAT has 144 questions that are taken in three hours and 20 minutes. This means the 2015 MCAT will require a lot more stamina and focus.
- New Question Types and Skills: The current MCAT focuses on content knowledge and critical thinking, but the 2015 MCAT tests two additional skills: Research Design, which focuses on the fundamentals of creating research projects, bias, faulty results, and variable relationships; and Graphical Analysis and Data Interpretation, which focuses on deriving conclusions and drawing inferences from visual data like figures, graphs and data tables.
Other key results from Kaplan’s 2013 survey of medical school admissions officers:
- Increase in Applicants with Post-baccs: 71% of admissions officer say they have seen an increase in the number of applicants who have enrolled in post-baccalaureate programs, a path taken by many aspiring doctors after they graduate college, but before they apply to medical school, to beef up their academic credentials. That could prove to be a smart strategy, as 90% of admissions officers say that doing well in a post-bacc program improves their acceptance chances.
- Think first, Tweet later: 32% of admissions say they have Googled an applicant to learn more about them; 22% say they have visited an applicant’s social networking site like Facebook for the same purpose; of those who did, 42% say they found something that negatively impacted their chances of getting in.