Michigan Medical Education Day Saturday, October 8, 2011 Managing the MCAT Medical College Admissions Test • Standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess problem solving, critical thinking, and writing skills for all U.S. and some Canadian medical schools (MD and DO). • Also serves as admission test for some U.S. veterinary and podiatry medical programs. • Tests specific knowledge in Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, and Writing. One Of Several Admission Criteria Along with: • GPA • Extracurricular activities and exposure to the profession (employment, volunteering, research, etc.) • Reference letters • Application essays • Interview performance • Special life experiences and circumstances What It Covers Physical Science Concepts General Chemistry and Physics Biological Science Concepts Biology and Organic Chemistry Verbal Reasoning Comprehension/Evaluation/Application/Incorporation of new information Writing Sample Topic statement with instructions for 3 writing tasks MCAT Section Format Physical & Biological Sciences – 7 passages w/ 4-7 questions per passage – 13 independent questions Verbal Reasoning – 7 passages w/ 5-7 questions per passage – Passages are about 600 words long Writing Sample – 2 essays (30 minutes each) – Subjects are not medical/scientific in nature MCAT Layout Tutorial (optional) Examinee agreement Physical Sciences (52 questions) Break (optional) Verbal Reasoning (40 questions) Break (optional) Writing Sample (2 essays) Break (optional) Biological Sciences (52 questions) Void Question Survey 10 min. 10 min. 70 min. 10 min. 60 min. 10 min. 60 min. 10 min. 70 min. 5 min. 10 min. Accommodations • Gather required paperwork for accommodation request well in advance (ideally ~6 months) of anticipated test date. • Accommodation requests often denied due to incomplete or obsolete supporting documentation give yourself plenty of time to appeal. Test Registration Costs: $240 (regular registration) Additional fees for late registration, changes… Online Registration Register 60+ days in advance of test date Read online “MCAT Essentials” first Fee Assistance Program (FAP)--$240 $85 Testing Locations in Michigan • • • • • Ann Arbor Auburn Hills Detroit East Lansing Grand Rapids • • • • • Lansing Livonia Mt. Pleasant Sault Ste. Marie Troy When Should I Take The MCAT? In general… • When you have completed your pre-requisites • Can fit several months of intense MCAT preparation in your schedule • By spring/summer of the year during which you plan to apply to medical school ***Test dates are January, and March through September*** Why So Early? • Application services for allopathic and osteopathic medical schools (AMCAS and AACOMAS) open in May and start allowing submission in early June. • Because of rolling admissions, submit your primary application in June or early July at the very latest, ideally with MCAT scores in hands. • Exception: Take MCAT later and apply in the following year or beyond if you need to strengthen preparation and overall application profile. When Should The Exam Not Be Taken? In general … – When you have not taken a substantial number of prerequisites (i.e., Freshmen/Sophomores) – If you will not be applying to medical school for another 2 or more years – As a “trial run” since all scores count! Preparation Methods Self Preparation • Familiarize yourself with the test as soon as you start pre-medical classes • Read “The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam” • Borrow/purchase old MCAT practice tests from fellow students--one available free online • Develop a study schedule and start practicing at least four months in advance • Consider group study options Preparation Methods, continued Test Preparation Organizations • Always try self-study or group study first • Test prep orgs expensive but can be effective • Outcome usually proportionate to investment in time and practice beyond the course • Official prep courses may buy a false sense of security • Good scores are the result of a lot of studying and practicing—they are not bought. Release Of MCAT Scores Automatic : You cannot withhold scores! • AAMC and affiliated institutions • AMCAS (for inclusion in your application) Optional • Health Professional Advisor • Med-MAR (Medical Minority Applicant Registry) • MCAT Recruiting Service • AACOMAS (DO schools) and other application services as applicable MCAT Scoring • Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Verbal Reasoning: scaled score of 1-15 • Writing Sample: scaled score of J-T ------------------------------------------------------------------• No penalty for guessing • Scores available 30 days after test What Is A Good Score? • Variance among schools • For the last few years, average score of accepted applicants nationwide: ~30 P for allopathic medical schools ~26 O for osteopathic medical schools Percent Medical School Acceptances by MCAT and GPA (2010) 100% 90% Acceptance Rate 80% GPA 70% 3.80-4.00 60% 3.60-3.79 50% 3.40-3.59 40% 3.20-3.39 30% 20% 10% 0% 5-14 15-17 18-20 21-23 24-26 27-29 MCAT Score 30-32 33-35 36-38 39-45 To Retake Or Not To Retake Change from an initial score of 8 35 30 Percent 25 20 Verbal Biological Physical 15 10 5 0 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Number of points different from original score 4 MCAT Score Policies—By School University of Michigan • Best set of scores is given most weight • Averages are considered (individual scores <8 not viable) • August and September takers are at a disadvantage Michigan State University CHM (MD) • Focus on improvement if multiple scores available • Biological Science and Verbal Reasoning scrutinized most • Applications w/ late summer MCAT are held for review until scores are received • MCAT scores for tests taken in January are only considered for those on alternate list MCAT Score Policy, continued Wayne State University • Most recent scores are given most weight--highest scores may be considered • Retake is recommended if any section is <8 • Applications are not reviewed w/o MCAT scores • Only scores through September may be used for same application year Oakland University • Focus is on improvement (upward trend) • Applications are not reviewed w/o MCAT scores • Applicants should score at least a 26 to be competitive • Only scores through September may be used for same application year MCAT Score Policy, continued Michigan State University COM (DO) • MCAT scores constitutes 25% of decision making process • Best set of scores used if <3 years old • Focus on improvement for retakes • Late summer MCAT test puts students at a disadvantage due to rolling admissions Changes On The Horizon: MR5 • Major review underway. New MCAT expected to launch in 2015 • Depending on your application timeline, this change may or may not affect you: Talk to your pre-med advisor! • Proposed MCAT changes include testing on behavioral and social studies principles addition of some measures of integrity, service orientation, and other personal characteristics to facilitate a more holistic review. • See details about the MR5 project:https://www.aamc.org/initiatives/mr5/ New Official MCAT Self-Assessment Package for Spring 2012 • Helps student identify strengths/weaknesses to guide test prep • Self-Assessment in each section of exam: --Complete actual MCAT items --Assess confidence in topic/cognitive skill • Compares individual performance to other MCAT examinees MORE INFORMATION • Official MCAT website: https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/ • Talk with your advisor!