MSMP Pulse January 2015: MCAT 2015

Aloha Mentees,
It is time for another MSMP Pulse! This email contains a lot of information but it will be helpful and beneficial to you to read it in its entirety and a few times to digest it all. The new version of the MCAT, officially known as MCAT 2015, is finally upon us. It is time to become educated about the exam (if you have not already done so)! Below are some links you should visit for more information.
When does MCAT 2015 start?
The last offerings for the current MCAT are in January 8, 10, and 13, 2015. If you have not taken the MCAT already or are not scheduled for one of these dates, you will have to take the newer version of the exam, MCAT 2015.  
 
The first test dates for MCAT 2015 are in April 2015, and students may register for exams starting February 2015 (you should start prepping before then if you plan on taking the new MCAT). Please download the new MCAT schedule.  
What topics will be covered on the new MCAT? What has changed from the old MCAT?
While full discussion of this topic is beyond the scope of this MSMP Pulse, here are the basics: 
  • Higher emphasis on problem solving skills in all sections.  There will also be an effort to make passages and problems more relatable to the health sciences.  
  • The NEW SECTION Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior will test your ability to understand sociocultural, biological, and psychological influences on behavior and social interactions, and how people process things like emotion and stress.
  • NEW EMPHASIS on biochemistry. The Biological Sciences section is now known as the Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems Section, which will include concepts encountered in first-semester biochemistry.
  • Big changes in reading passage topics. The Verbal Reasoning section is now known as the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section.New passages will draw from topics in social sciences and humanities, and will not cover any natural science and technology topics. But don’t worry: like the original Verbal Reasoning section, no specific knowledge will be required to do well on this section.
Other major changes to note. Compared to the old MCAT … 
  • MCAT 2015 TAKES LONGER to complete, clocking in at 7 h 33 min total seat time, 6 h 15 minutes total content time.
    • Learn more about the breakdown of each test section here
  • MCAT 2015 COSTS MORE. Registration costs have been raised by $25, yielding total cost of $300 for each administration.
    • If you are unable to cover the costs of taking the MCAT, check out AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program: here
If you need more helpful resources that discuss MCAT changes, check out:
OMG, how do I prepare?!

Coursework will still be a common way to prepare for the MCAT 2015.

Core courses recommended have not changed. To prepare for the MCAT, you should be familiar with concepts covered in:

  • Intro biology (2 semester sequence)
  • General chemistry (2 semester sequence)
  • Organic chemistry (2 semester sequence)
  • Intro physics (2 semester sequence)

For the MCAT 2015, additional coursework to consider:

  • Intro biochemistry (1 semester)
  • Intro psychology (1 semester)
  • Intro sociology (1 semester).
Also, consider taking courses OR simply reading materials related to medical ethics, philosophy, cultural studies, and population health. If you are from UH, a list of the suggested coursework can be found in the UHM PAC MCAT 2015 Overview.
 
Good FREE resources for MCAT 2015 preparation, including PRACTICE TESTS: 
MCAT 2015 Scoring

A full explanation for scoring can be found here. Because no one has taken the exam yet, we don’t know what a “good” score is yet, but here are the basics:

  • Each section will be worth anywhere from 118 to 132, with a median score of 125
  • The total score will range from 472-528.
  • Like the old MCAT, percentile ranks will be reported for the total and section scores. You will be compared with others that took the exam on the same day as you.
  • “Confidence intervals” will also be reported. This will show the accuracy of your scores and give the range of your scores on another MCAT attempt at about the same time (basically, shows the accuracy of your score and the range you were likely to have scored in). For instance, a high total score but a wide confidence interval may not indicate an accurate examination.

Take the time to view a sample score printout here.

Other questions?
We hope this overview was helpful! If you have any other questions or concerns, please speak to an advisor at the UHM Pre-Health Advising Center or e-mail us at msmp@hawaii.edu. You may also contact your mentor who can provide you more one-on-one guidance and offer advice on how they prepared for the MCAT. Good luck.
Thank you,
MSMP Board

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