November 1, 2012
- The sections have been scrambled. While students taking the current MCAT start out with the “hard science” of light and optics, electrochemistry and kinematics, the new MCAT will start with a Biology- and Biochemistry-oriented section. For many of you, this may be a welcome change – you’re often starting on content you feel a little more familiarity with; however, notice that the new Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (similar to the current Verbal Reasoning section) now falls at the tail end of the exam.
- There’s new content – lots of it! AAMC has officially dropped the Writing Sample from the MCAT already, and will be replacing it with a new section. In Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, students will have to cover knowledge often taught in first-year psychology and sociology courses. A heavy focus on research design, bias, and statistical analysis will pervade all science sections of the test. And first-year biochemistry – which previously made minimal appearance on the MCAT – will make up 25% of the Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems.
- It’s getting longer, in both time and questions. The three science sections will contain 67 questions each (up from 52 currently) and 95 minutes will be allotted to finish the sections. The CARS section will be 60 questions (up from 40 currently) and 90 minutes. This represents almost two additional hours of testing time.
- It shows you why you’re learning this content! Passages will now be written to test science concepts in the context of living systems. In other words, fluid dynamics could be tested as an underlying theme in cardiovascular physiology; solution chemistry via its furthering our understanding of urolithiasis (formation of kidney and bladder stones); and enantiomerism by playing a role in medication design and effectiveness.