The Medical College Admission Test will be completely overhauled in 2015, and, according to a recent survey from Kaplan Test Prep, pre-med students can expect an increased level of difficulty.
The new MCAT will feature three added subjects: biochemistry, psychology and sociology, as well as new question types. The new subjects will nearly double the length of the exam.
“The landscape of the medical field is changing,” said Owen Farcy, director of Kaplan pre-health programs. “These changes are adapting the MCAT to the current medical field.”
Adam Jorgensen, a pre-med student majoring in exercise science, is currently preparing for the MCAT.
“There’s going to be a high level of competition (among medical school applicants) this next year,” Jorgensen said, “because everyone wants to get in before they stop giving the old MCAT.”
Jorgensen has had to alter his schedule so that he can take the exam before the new test is introduced.
“It’s definitely sped up my coursework, that’s for sure,” Jorgensen said. “I’ve had to put off all of my major classes to get my pre-med classes in sooner. There’s just no way to prepare for a test that no one really knows about.”
According to Cameron Oldham, a student advisor for pre-health at the Pre Professional Advisement Center and a senior studying exercise science, many students are following the trend and moving their MCAT forward.
“With the old exam, we knew what to expect; there were 10 exams to help you prepare,” Oldham said. “It might take a while before we really understand and know how to best prepare students for the new exam.”
Oldham also advised students who may now want to push forward their test date that one of the best ways to prepare is through their regular classes.
“In general, BYU classes do well in preparing students for the old exam,” Jorgensen said. “And so your test prep really is there to refresh your memory.”
As for students who are not able to prepare in time, the new MCAT is expected to start in the spring of 2015. According to Farcy, students can expect up to three additional semesters of preparation.
“If you can’t fit it in, then you’ll just have to study those subjects on your own,” Olham said. “If I were in that spot, I would see if it were possible to take the old test.”
The survey from Kaplan also noted other changing trends in the medical school application process. More pre-med students have been enrolling in post-baccalaureate programs, and a student’s social media presence is growing in importance.