Medical school admissions officers weighed in on their feelings about the new MCAT in a new survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep.

The survey, which involved 68 accredited medical schools, revealed that feelings about the new MCAT are ambiguous. Specifically, only 42% of medical schools surveyed believed that the new MCAT will better prepare pre-meds for medical school compared to the old MCAT. According to the press release announcing the results, this reflects a decrease from 2014, in which over two-thirds of medical schools indicated that they believed the new test was an improvement. However, the shift was due to a greater number of officers responding as “undecided” rather than providing “negative” responses.

“The decrease in the percentage of medical schools that believe the new MCAT better prepares students for medical school than the old exam did can possibly be explained by premature exuberance facing the reality of a complex test change,” said Eric Chiu, executive director of pre-medical programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “As medical schools move through their first application season with new MCAT scores, their increased uncertainty doesn’t necessarily mean they are putting any less emphasis on the MCAT as an admissions factor. In fact, our survey also found that a low MCAT score remains ‘the biggest application dealbreaker.’ As medical schools gather more data on the new MCAT, it’s likely that a greater percentage of them will return to their initial optimism about the improved role the new MCAT will play in the ever-evolving state of medical education.”

Other findings from the survey reveal some significant information, including the following:

  1. Nearly 1 in 10 medical schools stated that due to uncertainty of the new MCAt, they will look at applicants’ SAT and ACT scores to help them make an admissions decision
  2. Forty-five percent of medical school admissions officers said that the biggest deal breaker for an applicant is a low MCAt score, followed by a low undergraduate GPA
  3. Several medical schools predict that less than half of this year’s applicants will submit new MCAT scores
  4. Eight out of 10 medical schools predict that they will receive more applications in the 2015-2016 admissions cycle compared to the previous year.