A revised Medical College Admission Test will include new sections on "psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior," and "critical analysis and reasoning skills" and will no longer include a writing section.
Revised MCAT targets critical analysis, 'understanding of people'
The Association of American Medical Colleges approved the changes Thursday. The MCAT was first administered in 1928; this will be the fifth version of the test. The current edition has been used since 1991, and the revised version is expected to be ready for 2015 and be used until 2030.
The changes are designed to prepare medical students for "an evolving body of medical knowledge" as well as for an aging and increasingly diverse population, according to an AAMC news release. The test also will include two sections on natural sciences, including biology, chemistry, biochemistry and physics.
"Being a good doctor is about more than scientific knowledge. It also requires an understanding of people," Dr. Darrell Kirch, AAMC president and CEO, said in the release. "By balancing the MCAT exam's focus on the natural sciences with a new section on the psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior, the new exam will better prepare students to build strong knowledge of the socio-cultural and behavioral determinants of health." Kirch was No. 95 on Modern Healthcare's list of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare last year.
The new test will take about 6.5 hours to complete and applicants taking the test are expected to enter the physician workforce in July 2020.
According to the release, the revisions are part of a broader effort to improve the admissions process and assess personal characteristics of applicants. A record 43,919 individuals applied to U.S. medical schools in 2011.
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