MCAT adds social sciences section

N-MCAT Colby Patterson

The Medical College Admissions Test will change starting in March 2015. To prepare, more testing days will be offered to students before the changes take place.

The amendments to the MCAT are the first revisions in over a decade and include adding biochemistry questions to the biological section of the test and adding a new portion on social sciences.

John Nilsson, director of preprofessional advising in the University College, said the biggest change to the test will be the addition of the new section, but it will not be difficult for students.

“A lot of people are scared about it because it’s a change,” Nilsson said. “But I think it has the potential for many students to improve their scores.”

He advises that students take psychology and sociology 1010 courses before taking the updated MCAT.

Nilsson said the Association of American Medical Colleges feels science has changed enough since the last update to the test to make the added social sciences section a necessity.

“With advances in sciences comes advances in medical practice, and that then gets pushed down to the pre-med level where students get to take different classes,” Nilsson said.

Florence Fernandez, a senior in chemistry, said that the changes won’t have an impact on when she takes the MCAT because she has been planning on taking it for a while.

“Right now it is a little difficult to plan ahead,” Fernandez said. “[It’s] inconvenient for students applying next year.”

Fernandez said she thinks the changes are a good, but knows some students who are worried schools might require them to take the new version of the MCAT before being admitted. She said the addition of the social sciences section did not surprise her since the medical field is always changing.

Nilsson said the last chance to take the current MCAT is January 2015 and that most, if not all, of those slots are already filled.

“That’s why the AAMC is offering many more test dates that they normally would otherwise,” Nilsson said. “They are anticipating that enrollment for those is going to be tremendous.”

Nilsson said besides these additions, the bulk of the test will remain the same. There is currently a biological sciences, physical sciences and verbal reasoning section on the MCAT. The social sciences section will be the fourth portion of the test.

He said the U’s competitive medical program plans on admitting 122 students in the fall, having increased their class size from 82 students.

n.turner@chronicle.utah.edu

@ChronyNathan