Medical School hopefuls at the University of Wisconsin may face additional curriculum challenges following the recent announcement that changes to the Medical College Admissions Test will be fully implemented in 2015.
The announcement came this past week by the Association of American Medical Colleges, according to a Kaplan Test Prep press statement. For medical colleges, this could mean timely changes in curriculum are necessary to fully prepare students to take the exam.
According to the statement, 52 percent of medical school admissions officers questioned in a survey conducted by Kaplan believe schools will be able to revise their curriculum before the new exam is administered.
UW Assistant Dean for Admissions Kurt Hanson said upperclassmen currently preparing for the exam would receive the current version of the MCAT. Underclassmen, on the other hand, could receive the modified version of the admissions test.
The university is more than capable of making the required changes to curriculum for these students, Hanson said.
“The changes in knowledge are not that significant to the current appropriation that current med students have to go through,” he said.
Research for these modifications has been an ongoing process since 2008 as an AAMC advisory committee sought changes to encompass scientific advancements for future doctors, the statement said.
Hanson said the committee consulted with various individuals spread across the field including officials at the state level. He added the committee’s work provides students with an adequate amount of material to be tested on.
“[The AAMC] are very thoughtful; I believe this is the fifth version of the test,” Hanson said. “They have done a great job of getting [feedback] in from undergraduate and medical schools. There are no changes I would recommend.”
Material will also be dropped from the exam, according to UW Admissions Advisor Becky Duffy. Removing content that is no longer applicable for students is beneficial in the long run, she said.
One such area is the writing score, Duffy said, as prospective medical students must undergo interview processes which make this score null.
“They are dropping the writing score, and that’s probably a good thing because they have the verbal score already,” Duffy said.
According to the statement, students taking the MCAT after January 2013 will also have to complete an un-scored and experimental section of the test containing information slated for inclusion on the 2015 MCAT.
This version of the test will have four numerically scored sections: biological and biochemical foundations of living systems, chemical and physical foundations of biological systems, psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior and critical analysis and reasoning skills.
Modifications will also increase the allotted time for completion from five and half hours to seven, according to the statement.
The statement added recommendations for final modifications to the exam were finalized in November and will be voted on by the AAMC Board of Directors in February 2012.
Kaplan’s survey was conducted by phone this past July and August. It includes information from 69 of the 135 AAMC accredited medical schools, the release said.