Kaplan Test Prep Survey: The Percentage of Medical School Admissions Officers Who Think the Revamped MCAT Coming in 2015 Will be More Challenging for Pre-Med Students Nearly Doubles

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Press Contacts: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 212.453.7538
Twitter: @KapTestNews, @KaplanMCATPrep

New York, NY (October 21, 2013) – According to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2013 survey of medical school admissions officers*, 43% expect the revamped MCAT coming in 2015 to be more difficult than the current one. 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. 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.
  • Almost Double the Length: Takers of the revised MCAT will face 261 questions over a six hours and 15 minutes time span. The current MCAT has 144 questions that are taken in three hours and 20 minutes. This means the 2015 MCAT will require a lot more stamina and focus.
  • New Question Types and Skills: The current MCAT focuses on content knowledge and critical thinking, but the 2015 MCAT tests two additional skills: Research Design, which focuses on the fundamentals of creating research projects, bias, faulty results, and variable relationships; and Graphical Analysis and Data Interpretation, which focuses on deriving conclusions and drawing inferences from visual data like figures, graphs and data tables.

“There is little doubt that the planned changes will introduce new challenges for test takers. The test will be longer, and will require pre-med students to learn significantly more content within the same amount of time,” said Owen Farcy, director of pre-health programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “But it’s important to recognize that the changes to the test only reflect the realities of a changing medical field. Today’s pre-meds face a medical landscape that’s different than what their parents’ doctors faced. Medicine today is based on scientific advances that didn’t exist a generation ago, and doctors are increasingly serving a more diverse population, so it makes sense to adapt the test accordingly.”

Other key results from Kaplan’s 2013 survey of medical school admissions officers:

  • Increase in Applicants with Post-baccs: 71% of admissions officer say they have seen an increase in the number of applicants who have enrolled in post-baccalaureate programs, a path taken by many aspiring doctors after they graduate college, but before they apply to medical school, to beef up their academic credentials. That could prove to be a smart strategy, as 90% of admissions officers say that doing well in a post-bacc program improves their acceptance chances.
  • Think first, Tweet later: 32% of admissions say they have Googled an applicant to learn more about them; 22% say they have visited an applicant’s social networking site like Facebook for the same purpose; of those who did, 42% say they found something that negatively impacted their chances of getting in.

On the Thursday, November 14 episode of The Pulse, Kaplan Test Prep’s live, online talk show for pre-med students, a panel of experts will discuss the survey findings and what the implications are for aspiring doctors. The show begins at 8 PM ET. Registration is at www.kaptest.com/pulse.

To speak with a Kaplan Test Prep medical school admissions and MCAT expert about the survey results, please contact Russell Schaffer at 212.453.7538 or russell.schaffer@kaplan.com. For more information on the MCAT changes, students can visit www.mcat2015.com.

* For the 2013 survey, 79 medical school admissions officers from across the United States (71 from schools accredited by the Association of American Medical Colleges and eight medical schools accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine) were polled by telephone between July and September 2013.

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com) is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and nurses. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.

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