The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is the required test for admission to medical schools. What’s important for you to know is that it is going through its 5th comprehensive review since it was first given 83 years ago.
The committee reviewing the MCAT has suggested 14 changes in its preliminary report. The final changes will be decided next year. If approved the plan is to introduce the new exam in 2015.
Among the changes is the elimination of the writing sample section of the current test. The current test has three main sections which test biological sciences, physical sciences and verbal reasoning. The new test would have four sections which would test the following:
- Molecular, Cellular and Organismal Properties of Living Systems
- Physical, Chemical and Biochemical Properties of Living Systems
- Behavioral and Social Sciences Principles
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
The big change here is the addition of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Principles. The committee recognizes that having the scientific knowledge to treat someone’s physical ills is not always sufficient. We live in a global society where an understanding of different cultures and beliefs can make the difference in how to treat a patient.
For those of you who thought you could go through college taking only science courses on your way to medical school, you should rethink that approach. Medical schools are already starting to look for students who not only have a solid foundation in the sciences but also the ability to understand and communicate with patients.
It is clear that with the proposed changes to the MCAT, that the trend to have doctors with more than just a science background will be increasingly important.