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  • Pre-Med Prerequisites for Taking the New MCAT

    On Call New MCAT

    The upcoming change to the MCAT also means a change to the typical pre-medical courses we are used to discussing. For many years, the "traditional" pre-medical courses have been a year of General Chemistry, a year of General Biology, a year of Physics, and a year of everyone's favorite - Organic Chemistry. But with the new MCAT, that will first be administered on April 17, 2015, additional content knowledge in upper division Biochemistry, introductory psychology, and introductory sociology will be required.

    The caveat to this change is that most medical schools are not changing their coursework requirements. In other words, you won't necessarily need to take these classes in order to apply to medical school. You will need to have the content knowledge, however, to take the MCAT. But of course, taking the courses will help immensely as they will provide you with an in depth study of the subject matter. But what's important to note is that not all of an upper division biochemistry class will be tested on the new MCAT, nor the intro pyschology and sociology. Rather, the AAMC has defined very specific content areas and has categorized them into 31 content categories that fall under 10 ...

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  • Charting A Course to Medical School: PART VI

    The series continues today as we answer even more questions about studying for the MCAT. 

    How much should I study?

    No one can really answer this question, simply because it depends upon the individual in question. If you have completed the core requirements prior to the exam, it should be fresh in your mind and you should not have to spend an exorbitant amount of time re-learning. It may be a good idea to take a diagnostic test to see in what areas you should focus your review efforts.

    How important are MCAT scores?

    Generally, the admissions committees look at many things when considering applicants. For example, they look at academic records, recommendations, and extracurricular activities, in addition to MCAT scores. Ultimately, the importance of test scores is particular to each individual school.

    Should I take the MCAT in the spring or summer?

    If you have completed all of the core requirements by spring, then definitely take the test in the spring. However, if you will not have them completed until summer, you may be better off waiting until then. The key is that you should take the MCAT as soon after you have completed the required premedical courses (general ...

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  • Charting A Course to Medical School: PART III

    Today we will get to the topic you've all been wondering about....or stressing about: The MCAT EXAM!

    The Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, is offered twice a year, once in April and once in August. The MCAT is required by 98% of all medical schools; the other two percent of schools require other standardized tests. Applications are available through your school's health professions advisor, an office of measurement and evaluation (if your school has one), or directly through the American College Testing service. Beware: the MCAT is a rather expensive test. Fortunately, there is a fee reduction program for financially disadvantaged students.

    What does the MCAT consist of?

    The MCAT consists of four sections: physical sciences, biological sciences, verbal reasoning, and a writing sample. The testing period takes a total of approximately eight hours and is split up in the following way:

    • Verbal Reasoning, 85 minutes
    • Physical Sciences, 100 minutes
    • 50% Physics
    • 50% Chemistry
    • Writing Sample, 60 minutes
    • Biological Sciences, 100 minutes
    • 75% Biology
    • 25% Organic Chemistry

    **NOTE: The MCAT Exam will be making some changes starting in 2015. If you are planning on taking the exam then, please read more here.

    How much should I study?

    No ...

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  • Emerging Trends in Medical School Admissions

    By Owen Farcy
    Director of Pre-Health Programs for Kaplan Test Prep

    Each year, we at Kaplan survey medical schools across the country to learn more about emerging trends in admissions. In our 2013 survey of medical school admissions officers*, the results shed light on three important topics for pre-medical students to be familiar with. 

    On MCAT 2015: 43% of those surveyed expect the revamped MCAT coming in 2015 to be more difficult than the current one; notably, this is a near doubling of the 22% who held this view in Kaplan’s 2012 survey. Only 2% in the 2013 survey believe the revised medical school admissions exam will be easier, while the remaining 55% of medical school admissions officers think the difficulty level will remain about the same. But, despite rising concerns about difficulty, a large majority supports the coming changes (90%) and think they will better prepare students for medical school (75%); these findings are consistent with Kaplan’s 2012 survey.

    Among the approved changes coming to the MCAT in 2015:

    More Topics Tested: The 2015 MCAT will include three additional semesters’ worth of material in college-level biochemistry, psychology and sociology, increasing the number of prerequisite classes from eight to eleven....

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