Kaplan Test Prep Survey: Pre-med Students Say Tomorrow’s Doctors Should Be Part-Psychologist, Part-Data Scientist, and Spanish-Speaking

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

New York, NY (May 7, 2014) — With the approaching launch of a new MCAT® designed to better prepare tomorrow’s doctors for a changing medical environment, a new Kaplan Test Prep survey of nearly 500 pre-med students* finds that aspiring doctors have definite opinions about what their future professional selves should know:

    • Serious about Psychology: 73% of pre-meds say psychology—the study of the human mind and behavior—is a relevant field of study  for future doctors.  This consensus meshes well with the content of the new MCAT, which will include a semester’s worth of college-level introductory psychology.
    • Digging into Data: Just over half (52%) say analytics and data analysis are relevant areas of study for future doctors. This thinking also aligns with the new MCAT, which will include a Research Design component that focuses on the fundamentals of creating research projects, research bias, faulty results, and variable relationships. Additionally, there will be a Graphical Analysis and  Data Interpretation component that focuses on deriving conclusions and drawing inferences from visual data, including figures, graphs, and data tables.
    • Se habla español: Almost half (48%) of pre-meds surveyed say knowing Spanish is an important skill set for doctors to have. While the new MCAT doesn’t measure test takers’ foreign-language skills, pre-meds may benefit from squeezing in a few semesters worth of Spanish classes.  According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by almost 37 million Americans—more than double what it was in 1990.
    • Of lesser value…: The areas of study which pre-meds think are less relevant to future doctors include sociology (46%), anthropology/cultural studies (38%), and philosophy (14%).

“Today’s pre-meds recognize that science and healthcare are far different fields than they were a generation ago and understand that it may be necessary to measure their knowledge and competency as future medical students and future doctors in different ways,”  said Owen Farcy, director of pre-health institutional partnerships, Kaplan Test Prep.  “At Kaplan we believe the new MCAT will better prepare students for medical school and careers in medicine, but because of the additional content and the marathon eight-hour length of the new exam, there’s no doubt that the path to medical school will be more challenging.  We continue to advise pre-meds who can take the current exam to do so and reserve their testing slot immediately, as space is limited.”

The new MCAT will include  three additional semesters’’ worth of material in college-level biochemistry, introductory psychology, and introductory sociology, increasing the number of prerequisite classes from eight to eleven. The challenge for many pre-meds will be to fit these additional courses into an already intense undergraduate course load. In fact, the Kaplan survey finds that students think they’d have to sacrifice taking humanity courses and other electives to fit them in. To help pre-med students prepare more efficiently for the new MCAT 2015 content areas without having to cram in three additional semesters of coursework before their test dates, Kaplan has designed a one-semester course called MCAT Foundations of Biochemistry and Behavioral Science for Medical School.  This course provides students an efficient path to the content required for the new MCAT.  Information can be found at www.kaptest.com/MCATFoundations.

*The e-survey included responses from 493 pre-med students who took a Kaplan MCAT course and sat for the March 2014 or April 2014 administrations of the MCAT.

*MCAT® is a registered trademark of the Association of American Medical Colleges. The AAMC is not affiliated with Kaplan.

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. Additionally, Kaplan operates new economy skills training (NEST) bootcamps designed to provide immersive training in skills that are in high demand in today’s job market and prepare participants for hire.

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