Proposed MCAT changes

The preliminary recommended changes to the Medical College Admission Test to be considered by the Assn. of American Medical Colleges’ board of directors in February 2012 are:

Have four sections covering molecular, cellular and organismic properties of living systems; physical, chemical and biochemical properties of living systems; behavioral and social sciences principles; and critical analysis and reasoning skills.
Test knowledge and use of concepts in biology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, research methods and statistics.
Test knowledge and use of concepts in behavioral and social sciences, research methods and statistics.
Test ability to analyze and reason through passages in ethics and philosophy, cross-cultural studies, population health, and a range of social sciences and humanities disciplines.
Eliminate writing sample.
Introduce new exam in 2015.
Report scores on a scale similar to the current 1-15 scale.
Update the content that the exam tests on a regular schedule.
Clearly describe the types of decisions test scores are and are not designed to support.
Help prepare prospective examinees and faculty for the new exam, with special attention to under-resourced institutions.
Help medical schools track and conduct research on the value and validity of the new exam.
Provide low-cost preparation materials and discounts or waivers on testing fees for examinees who qualify.
Pursue options for gathering data about personal characteristics.
Research the extent to which applicants’ personal characteristics might be measured.

Source: “5th Comprehensive Review of the Medical College Admission Test,” Assn. of American Medical Colleges, March 31 (

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