MCAT adds new test dates, new test sections

New additional test dates are being scheduled for the Medical College Admission Test before it is revamped in 2015. It will be the first time the MCAT will be available to pre-med students in October and November 2014, and January 2015. The Association of American Medical Colleges decided more test dates will allow more students to take the exam before the changes occur sometime in early 2015.

According to Aaron Lemon-Strauss, the executive director of pre-med programs at Kaplan Test Prep, students want to take the tests that they know the content of. They want to take tests that their friends and professors know how to prepare for.

“Before, there was a real danger that there weren’t going to be enough seats for people who want to take the test,” Lemon-Strauss said. “Every year around Buffalo, August test dates fill up.”

Usually, once all seats are filled up, students have to wait until the next year to take the MCAT. With these new additional test dates, more seats will be available to those who want to take the test in a more familiar format.

Registering early ensures students get a seat at one of the test centers. Lemon-Strauss said the tests would be held at the same locations, just more frequently.

“Pre-med students plan their whole semesters and programs around MCAT tests,” Lemon-Strauss said. “If your plan was to study for the MCAT this summer and take the test in August and you didn’t get a seat, it would significantly disrupt your planning and where you’re at in your applications to medical school.”

According to a press release by Kaplan Test Prep, there has been a rush of students taking admission tests before the formats change.

The Graduate Records Examination and the Graduate Management Admissions Test have both shown that students needing to take the exam were anxious in wanting to take a more familiar test instead of an unknown one.

The press release had information from pre-med students who took an online survey that was conducted January 2014.

According to the survey, most pre-med students said they would not have been prepared to take the current exam if it included the new topics that will come in 2015. The students entering college as underclassmen will be better equipped with the knowledge needed to take the revised test.

“Pre-med programs around the country are changing their curricula to ensure that all students who will take the new MCAT (current freshmen and sophomores) are prepared for the new exam’s content,” the press release said.

The new additions to the test will include not only biology questions, but sections from psychology, sociology and biochemistry as well. Lemon-Strauss said the basic idea behind the new exam is to make the MCAT better reflect new medicine and things important to being a doctor in our society today, especially interacting with people.

“The test change comes at a time when the entire face of healthcare is changing,” the MCAT website said. “…The MCAT must adapt to train physicians who will operate in the healthcare system of the future.”

Lemon-Strauss said that for any students who want to see what the test would be like, there will be a free practice test at SUNY Buffalo State on Feb. 20, and one at the University of Buffalo on Feb. 22.

“Students can take a free test and see where they are at,” Lemon-Strauss said. “We want to make sure students have access to what they need to be successful.”

No set date has been announced for when the first test with the new information will be administered. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, it will be given to pre-med students some time in the spring of 2015.

Any students looking to take the new 2015 MCAT who want help can check out the website online. It offers practice questions, sample tests as well as other resources for pre-med students to look at.

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