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The Medical College Admissions Test will undergo major changes in spring 2015, including lengthening the test from five-and-a-half hours to seven hours.

This revision marks the fifth major change in the MCAT’s 84-year history. The last revision took place in 1991.

The time extension reflects modifications of the testing material. The natural science sections of the MCAT – biology, general and organic chemistry, biochemistry and physics – will be updated to reflect recent changes in medical education. The 2015 MCAT will also include sections on social and behavioral science, and critical analysis and reasoning skills.

“The tests need to evolve around the changes taking place in medicine,” pre-health advisor Kathleen Maier said. “Medical school demands their students to be up on different things such as diversity, culture and just understanding how the world is changing. Of course tests have to change it happens in all fields.”

The Association of American Medical Colleges and its 21-member advisory committee conducted a three-year comprehensive review of the MCAT.

“The AAMC has taken a pretty hard look at the MCAT itself,” said Owen Farcy director of pre-health programs for Kaplan Test Prep. “At whether or not the skills and the knowledge the test assess are really the best skills that medical schools need to know about amongst their candidates.”

A preview guide containing examples of problems that resemble questions is now available.

“The overall attitude of the test is that not only has the science changed dramatically in the last twenty years, but also the way that doctors need to interact with their patients,” Farcy said.

The first change will take place this year with the removal of the writing section of the exam. However, few of the changes to the 2015 MCAT are official.

“In place of the writing section, an experimental section will be added where they will be testing some of these new question types,” Farcy said. “They will be using the data from these questions to help tweak what the new sections will be like on the official 2015 MCAT.”

The AAMC will release the first official 2015 MCAT preparation tools next year. Kaplan test prep is already working to generate study resources for the new test.

Pre-med students normally take the MCAT during their junior year of college, so the change will mostly affect next year’s freshman class.

Freshman Josh Goll is not planning on taking the revised version of the test, but he said the new changes were positive.

“The test seems like it will be more focused,” Goll said. “It is more practical knowledge that a doctor will really need to know. The science information is still there, but relating to patients is another huge aspect of medicine. I am happy to see that it is not being overlooked.”

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