Kaplan Survey: Medical Schools Divided on Whether Pre-Meds Should Take the Current MCAT® or the New One; Kaplan Recommends Taking the Current Test, If and While You Still Can

Also: More Medical Schools Consider Adding Biochemistry Prerequisite

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

New York, NY (September 8, 2014) — For the past year, there’s been a vexing question on the minds of thousands of pre-med students: Should they take the current MCAT that they know, which expires in January, or the longer, more challenging MCAT, which medical schools think makes for a better student, launching in April 2015? Results from Kaplan Test Prep’s 2014 survey of medical school admissions officers* show there is no “wrong” choice: overall, responses show no strong preference or consensus among medical schools for one test or the other. Forty-four percent said it makes no difference which test score is submitted; 28% recommend pre-meds take the current MCAT; and 27% recommend they take the new test. Additionally, according to the makers of the MCAT, the Association of American Medical Colleges, a majority of medical schools say they will continue to accept scores from the current MCAT through the 2017 application cycle, with few expressing preference for one over the other. (https://www.aamc.org/students/download/398586/data/mcatexampolicy.pdf)

“Students should take whichever version of the MCAT for which they’ll be better prepared. That said, there is a pretty compelling reason for students to take the current test by January if they can: the new MCAT will be nearly twice as long and will cover three additional content areas. This means that students’ limited study time will be spread across a broader scope of content review and more hours will be required for each full-length practice test in preparation for the new MCAT 2015 exam,” said Eric Chiu, executive director of pre-med programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “However, for students who won’t complete the prerequisite coursework for the current MCAT by this fall or who aren’t planning to apply to medical school within the next two to three years, the new exam will be their best option.”

Other key finding pre-meds need to know about, particularly sophomores and juniors: as the 2015 MCAT introduces biochemistry, psychology and sociology to the test, medical schools may be adjusting their prerequisites accordingly — starting with biochemistry. Biochem is currently a prerequisite at 27% of medical schools, according to Kaplan’s survey, but responses indicate that percentage will increase to at least 32% for students enrolling in 2016 (which includes some current college seniors and most juniors), and likely much more — 24% said they were not sure what their policy will be. The new MCAT will include three additional semesters of material in biochemistry, along with more content in psychology and sociology.

“Pre-meds should plan for biochemistry to be part of their college curriculum,” said Chiu. “Not only will we likely see more medical schools making biochem a prerequisite in the future, but it will be tested on the new MCAT, along with psychology and behavioral sciences.”

For more information about the upcoming changes to the MCAT, contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538. Students can visit Kaplan’s comprehensive website on the upcoming MCAT changes at www.mcat2015.com.

* For the 2014 survey, 78 medical school admissions officers from across the United States (64 schools accredited by the Association of American Medical Colleges and 14 schools accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine) were polled by telephone in August 2014.

The 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.

# # #