As many Pre-Med students have already learned, the old MCAT that we have come to both hate and love is going through some major changes. As of spring 2015, a new exam will be implemented and taken by students interested in pursuing medicine. While a new exam may seem a little daunting, it is important to understand the modifications that the exam is undergoing in order to determine which exam is right for you.
For anyone that is unfamiliar with the current structure of the MCAT, it is comprised of 3 parts: physical sciences, verbal reasoning, and biological sciences. Both the physical and biological sciences are approximately 52 questions and 70 minutes long. The verbal reasoning section is 40 questions and 60 minutes long. The verbal reasoning section is strictly passage-based, with topics including the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. The rest of the exam is also passage-based, but it has freestanding questions that test the examinee’s general knowledge.
There are some qualities of the current exam that are being carried over to the 2015 examination. For instance, both exams test concepts covered in yearlong science courses. These include biology, physics, general chemistry, and organic chemistry. Also, there is a verbal reasoning section in both exams that requires you to read and analyze passages on the humanities and social sciences. Much like the old exam, the new exam will be computer-based and administered across the U.S. Both exams demand a thorough understanding of the sciences and a firm grasp on scientific problem solving abilities.
While the similarities between the two exams are evident, it’s what sets the two apart that requires students to prepare for the 2015 MCAT differently than the current exam in circulation. The 2015 MCAT tests students on their knowledge of biochemistry, psychology, and sociology in addition to the subjects already being tested on. This necessitates the exam to go from 5 hours and 10 minutes to 7 hours and 30 minutes. In addition, the scoring scale has been modified from a 45-point range to a 528-point range, with a center at 500.
In terms of which exam is right for you, base your selection on what interests you most. If you are passionate about the strict sciences, the older version of the MCAT may be more suitable. However, if you like the humanities and psychology, the new MCAT might be the one for you. No matter which exam you take, the most important things to remember are to study hard and go in with confidence.