Proposed changes to the MCAT exam

Certification: Admission Tests MCAT - Medical College Admission Test


Fundamentals of the MCAT exam

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) refers to a computer-based globally standardized examination that has been especially designed for the prospective medical students of the United States as well as Canada. The question format of the MCAT exam includes several sections, such as: assess problem solving, written analysis, scientific concepts & principles, critical thinking, etc. The MCAT exam is offered at the Prometric centers for at least 25 times in every year. The candidates who aspire to get admission in a medical school take the MCAT exam before applying in the medical schools.

Proposed changes in the administration of the MCAT exam

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) had proposed to bring significant changes in the current structure of the MCAT test on the 5th Comprehensive Review of the MCAT. These proposals were finalized in the spring session of the year of 2012 and took approval from the Board of Directors of the AAMC.

The proposed structure of the MCAT exam is expected to be first managed from the spring session of the year of 2015. The current MCAT exam is undergoing reform in order to assist the process of developing tomorrow’s health professionals, especially doctors who will direct the fast advancing and frequently transforming modern health care system. Under the proposed structure of the MCAT exam, the first candidates will be those who are planning to take admission in the medical schools of the United States and Canada in the fall session of the year of 2016.

In the proposed structure of the MCAT exam, every test date will be brought under a single administration system. The total exam duration will be about six hours excluding the additional period for taking breaks during the MCAT exam. The proposed scoring scale of the new MCAT exam is 1-15, which have not changed from the current version of the MCAT exam. The proposed structure of the MCAT exam will not include any writing section. The previous writing section has been already removed from the January of the year of 2013.

On the whole, in the proposed structure of the MCAT exam, the question format will measure 35% of straight knowledge as well as 65% of exploitation of knowledge in order to define a clearer picture of the readiness of the potential applicants to undertake the rigors and pressure of the medical schools.

Proposed changes in the structure of the MCAT exam

In the proposed structure of the MCAT exam, the Natural science related sections reflect the recent changes of the current medical education. Adding to this, in the new structure of the MCAT exam, the social science as well as behavioral science related sections, including, biological, psychological and social foundations of human behavior, recognizes the significance of socio-cultural as well as behavioral determinants of the health issues and diverse health outcomes. The proposed structure of the MCAT exam will also include Critical Analysis as well as Reasoning Skills measuring section that will reflect the fact that the current education system of the medical schools wishes to provide admissions to the well-rounded applicants, who can come from diverse educational backgrounds. The proposed structure of the MCAT test includes four sections:

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundation of Living Systems

    ‘Biological and Biochemical Foundation of Living Systems’ section of the MCAT exam will validate the extent of knowledge of the examinees about vital issues regarding biology, such as,  how cells, tissues and organ systems act independently inside an organism; how the biological and biochemical processes occur inside an organism; etc. This section will include about 65 questions. The stipulated time for this section is 95 minutes. To take preparation for this section, the candidates are suggested to study associated courses, such as, Biology, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, etc.

  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems

    ‘Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems’ section of the MCAT exam will validate the extent of knowledge of the examinees regarding the fundamental level principles of chemistry and physics those are associated with the mechanisms which operate within each human body. This section will include about 65 questions. The stipulated time for this section is 95 minutes. To take preparation for this section, the candidates are suggested to study associated courses, such as, Physics, inorganic Chemistry, etc.

  3. Psychological, Social and Biological Foundation of Behavior

    ‘Psychological, Social and Biological Foundation of Behavior’ section of the MCAT exam will validate the extent of knowledge of the examinees regarding the practical application of psychological, sociological, biological concepts. This section will also measure the aptitude of the students on re-search methods as well as statistical procedures. These subjects are expected to provide a strong foundation to learn about the behavioral issues as well as socio-cultural determinants regarding health issues and various health outcomes in the medical schools. This section will include about 65 questions. The stipulated time for this section is 95 minutes. To take preparation for this section, the candidates are suggested to study associated courses, such as, Psychology, Sociology, etc.

  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

    ‘Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skill’ section of the MCAT exam will validate the extent of knowledge of the examinees in critical reasoning. This section includes some passages on a wide range of discipline, such as, humanities, sociology and social problems, behavioral science, etc. the question format instructs the examinees to critically evaluate the provided information in the passages in order to answer the questions. This section will include about 60 questions. The stipulated time for this section is 90 minutes. To take preparation for this section, the candidates are not suggested to study any particular courses. However, the candidates can practice relevant practical questions to develop their skill in making Critical Analysis and Reasoning.


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