MCAT Review #5

MR5 Committee Makes Tentative Decisions about New MCAT Exam

The MR5 Committee met for a seventh time on October 14 - 15, 2010 to discuss tentative recommendations involving the new MCAT exam, scheduled for introduction no earlier than 2014. While committee members are eager to describe the current status of the project during upcoming AAMC Annual Meeting sessions, they are pleased to provide a brief preview of their preliminary recommendations below.

MR5 Committee members discussed the survey results showing which science topics are rated most important to entering medical students' success. Biochemistry topics received the highest average rating; cellular and molecular biology topics received higher average ratings than introductory chemistry and physics; and research methods and statistics also received high ratings. These data, together with the recommendations of the AAMC-HHMI Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians (SFFP) Committee, argue for measuring biochemistry, cellular/molecular biology, and research methods and statistics concepts--along with introductory biology, general and organic chemistry, and physics--on the future exam.

Committee members also reached a tentative recommendation to test behavioral and social sciences concepts that provide a good foundation for entering medical students and continue testing verbal reasoning and critical analysis surrounding text-based information.

In addition, members of the Innovation Lab Working Group are continuing work on possible measures of reasoning about integrity, service orientation, dependability, and other personal characteristics critical to medical student and physician success. Committee members discussed the methods by which such characteristics could be measured and the resulting data provided to admissions officers for use in selecting interviewees. They look forward to sharing their views on this topic and hearing yours at the upcoming MR5-related Annual Meeting sessions.