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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

MCAT changes make pre-med decisions unclear

More than 700 UF undergraduate students applied to medical schools across the country last year, and with a new version of the Medical College Admission Test debuting this Spring, questions have been raised about which test version current undergrads should take.

The new MCAT will debut this April and includes additional test topics, a nearly doubled testing period and updated test questions in order to coordinate with current college prerequisites and modern medicine.

For students applying to UF’s College of Medicine, director of admissions Leila Amiri said the school has no test preference because the current test is being eliminated altogether.

“We look more closely to what they do outside of their MCAT scores,” Amiri said. “We evaluate on the student’s overall application.”

Previously the three-hour-plus exam focused on biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics. Now students are also expected to know biochemistry, psychology and sociology for the six-hour-plus exam.

“The science that underlies the medicine as well as the way medicine is practiced in this country has changed dramatically in the last 20-plus years,” said Owen Farcy, Kaplan test-prep director.

The new types of questions and test-taking skills will focus on research, experimental design, graphical analysis and data interpretation, and Farcy said it will require “a lot more stamina and focus for students who are taking it.”

“Really what we recommend is that the student takes the version of the test that they think they will be the most comfortable with and the best prepared for,” Farcy said.

Amiri said UF will not change its prerequisites to supplement the new subject material because the current liberal-arts requirements cover those areas already.

Jake Rubin, a 21-year-old UF microbiology senior, took the original MCAT in May.

“I think it will be beneficial to add those subjects,” Rubin said. “Especially biochem because it laid the foundation for the upper level classes I’m taking now.”

The final version of the old exam will be administered in January.

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[A version of this story ran on page 3 on 9/16/2014 under the headline "Changes to the MCAT make pre-med decisions unclear"]

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