In An Unprecedented Move, AAMC Schedules October And November MCAT Test Date Options For Anxious Pre-Meds, As Sweeping Test Changes In 2015 Herald Likely Test-Taking Rush For Limited Seats In 2014

Good news for pre-med students concerned about a lack of MCAT seats before the test changes in 2015: the maker of the exam (the Association of American Medical Colleges) has added October and November test dates in 2014. These additional testing dates are the first time in recent MCAT history that the exam will be offered later than September, which may help alleviate the rush to take the MCAT before changes hit. Historically, test changes have caused a surge of pre-change exam takers anxious to take a familiar test rather than an unknown, new exam -- a trend seen with GRE and GMAT test takers preceding recent changes to those tests.

In fact, a January 2014 Kaplan Test Prep survey of MCAT takers shows that most pre-med students believe the 2015 test will be more challenging than the current version. Among the results:
  • A More Challenging Exam: 66% of pre-med students surveyed think the MCAT changes will make the new exam more difficult than the current one; just 8% say the changes will make the exam easier; 16% say the level of difficulty will stay about the same; 11% are unsure.
  • New MCAT, New Material To Be Taught: A majority (56%) of pre-meds surveyed say that if the current exam included the new topics coming in 2015 (such as psychology, sociology, and more in-depth biochemistry), they wouldn't have been prepared for it. Note: Pre-med programs around the country are changing their curricula to ensure that all students who will take the new MCAT (current freshmen and sophomores) are prepared for the new exam’s content.
  • A Deterrent to a Career in Medicine?: While a majority (55%) of pre-meds surveyed say the new MCAT will neither encourage nor discourage students from seeking a career in medicine, 39% think it will discourage future doctors; just 5% say the new exam will actually encourage students to pursue a career in medicine.

“This unprecedented addition of MCAT test dates in the fall is great news for pre-med students concerned about not being able to take the exam before it changes. In the past, many students have been forced to travel out of state to take the MCAT because of a lack of local seats,” said Aaron Lemon-Strauss, executive director of pre-med programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “We encourage students to reserve their MCAT testing spot as soon as they know when they want to take the test. This will give them one less thing to worry about as they navigate the medical school admissions process. Knowing exactly when Test Day is will provide students with even more focus as they prepare for the exam.”

Among the approved changes coming to the MCAT in 2015:

  • More Topics Tested: The 2015 MCAT will include three additional semesters 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 six hours and 15 minutes. The current MCAT has 144 questions that are taken in three hours and 20 minutes. In addition to more stamina and focus required, the new MCAT will be so long that there is even time built in for a lunch break!
  • 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.

For more information about the upcoming changes to the MCAT and the additional testing dates in 2014, contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538. Students can visit Kaplan’s comprehensive website on the upcoming MCAT changes at www.mcat2015.com.

*The online survey was conducted in January 2014 of 247 pre-med students who took an MCAT prep course with Kaplan Test Prep.

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep ( www.kaptest.com) is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and nurses. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of The Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC)

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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