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TCNJ Medical Careers Advisory Committee’s Update on the MCAT 2015

What are the changes that are occurring?

  • A new MCAT has been instituted that will replace the previous version (instituted in 1991).  MCAT2015 will be administered for the first time in April 2015.
  • Medical school admissions offices are instituting a more “holistic review” of applicants.  This means that while MCAT scores and GPA will remain central measures of a student’s readiness for medical school, added emphasis will be placed on whether a candidate’s application and performance during an interview indicate that the candidate possesses the humanistic qualities critical for a physician.

Is the TCNJ medical careers advisory committee fully informed regarding how students should prepare for MCAT2015 and the new admissions approach at medical schools?

Yes.  Both the Chair of the committee (Dr. O’Connell) and the Program Assistant in Biology (Ms. Kull) have attended meetings of the National Association of Advisors to Pre-Health Professions (NAAHP), and are fully up-to-date on the changes.

What are the primary changes to the MCAT?

Please see www.aamc.org for a thorough description, but in a nutshell, the writing sample will be eliminated, and the remaining sections have been updated.  In addition, more questions in the area of biochemistry will be included in the science sections, and a new section has been created that covers social and behavioral sciences.

Will there be changes to the curriculum recommended for TCNJ students who plan to pursue a health career?

There will be NO need to change the recommendations for the science curriculum.  This is because the MCAT exam has simply caught up with what is taught in the sciences at TCNJ.  Furthermore, many of the biochemistry concepts covered on the MCAT are already covered in Eukaryotic Cell Biology (BIO 211), and organic chemistry.

We also do NOT recommend students take particular courses in the social and behavioral sciences.  At this time, we are confident that the liberal learning requirements at TCNJ produce the well-rounded and well-informed students that the medical schools seek.

Should students who will be juniors in 2014/2015 plan to take the current MCAT after their sophomore year so as to avoid taking the new MCAT?

THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED.  The MCAT exam is designed to test not only content, but maturity of thinking, and therefore the earliest a student should take the exam is the summer after the junior year.

 

~ July, 2012

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