The MCAT is Changing for Premed Students

The MCAT changed in 1991 then started some minor changes in 2003; in 2007, the MCAT will be somewhat shorter and will change to a Computer Based Test (CBT). Students preparing for the 2006 MCAT will not be affected. The following article reviews the MCAT and what is currently known about the impending changes. The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a prerequisite for admission to nearly all the medical schools in North America. Each year, over 50,000 applicants to American and Canadian medical schools submit MCAT test results. While the actual weight given to MCAT scores in the admissions process varies from school to school, often they are regarded in a similar manner to one's college/university CGPA (i.e. academic standing). In applying for medicine at some medical schools, for example, the MCAT score is as important as the four years of undergraduate study! On the other hand, some universities will set a minimum level of performance on the MCAT and then analyze school grades to decide who will be invited to the interviews. Either way, doing well is imperative for most applicants. The MCAT is administered on a Saturday biannually, at the beginning of the academic year (usu. August) and at the end of the academic year (usu. April). In 2006, the MCAT will be admistered on April 22 and August 20. The MCAT not only tests scientific knowledge in biology, physics, inorganic and organic chemistry, but also measures problem-solving, critical thinking and writing skills. The exam is divided into four sections: Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, the Writing Sample and Biological Sciences. The Physical Sciences section contains physics and general chemistry. The Biological Sciences section contains biology and organic chemistry. All questions, save the Writing Sample, are multiple choice with four choices per question. 2006 will be remembered as the last year of the paper MCAT and 2007 is the introduction of the Computer Based MCAT Test (MCAT CBT). The content is the same but the MCAT CBT is a shorter test. Here is a summary of the 2007 MCAT changes: (1) the MCAT will be shorter (approximately 5 hours vs. the current testing time of 8 hours); (2) students will receive their MCAT scores more quickly; (3) the MCAT will be offered more frequently throughout the year (up to 20 testing dates); and (4) the MCAT will be given in smaller, climate-controlled rooms. The official website for the MCAT ( has links to practice CBT MCATs and updates regarding the changing test. The Student Doctor Network has a discussion board where premeds can discuss the 2007 MCAT changes.