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April 23, 2011 Panel Proposes Big Changes to the MCAT

Nov 1st, 2013 | Changes, Grad School, Inside Higher Ed, MCAT, Medical school, Testing

Now no one panic; this won’t be happening for years, 2015 at the earliest. But it’s an interesting prospect. Inside Higher Ed reports that a special panel has proposed the following changes to the MCAT:

  • Eliminating the writing section, which medical schools tend not to consider closely
  • Adding a behavioral and social sciences section to reflect “the evolving nature of medicine”
  • Increasing the length of the test (5.5 hours)  by 90 minutes
  • Changing the current verbal section to “Critical Analysis and Reading Skills”

The chair of the committee that drafted the plan explains the recommendation for a social sciences section:

It’s very clear that in this country a large proportion of illness is related to behavior and social and cultural problems. So we want to encourage the applicant to medical school to be thinking about those and reading about those early … you do need a solid foundation in the sciences, but you need more than that. You need to think critically and reason, and understand the differences in our society and the patients you see as a physician. We need people who are critical thinkers and people who have sensitivity and understanding of different cultures.