The thousands of students planning on taking the MCAT in the beginning of 2007 will find many changes to the administration and format of the test that will need a substantial amount of time in which to prepare.
Changes to the 2007 MCAT include moving from pencil and paper to an all computerized test. A second major change will be the shortening of the exam from 8 1/2 hours to about 5 1/2 hours. Previously, the MCAT was only administered twice a year during April and August; beginning in January 2007 it will be administered 22 times throughout the year. Waiting for the exam’s results will now only take 30 days, compared to the previous waiting time of 60 days.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the organization that administers the MCAT, will offer the first new exam on Jan. 27 and then 21 other times throughout the year.
Although many of the changes appear positive, Amjed Mustafa, MCAT program manager for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, encourages aspiring doctors not to take the changes lightly and offers many recommendations to prepare. Kaplan provides test preparation and other educational services.
The computerized test also brings a potential problem for students. The testing centers have limited seating, sometimes only 24 to 26 spots available, so students must register early. Mustafa suggested that students register several months in advance, so they are not locked out of their preferred testing date.
On Nov. 15, registration for the MCAT administered in January will begin. Registration for the April and May testsbegins on Dec. 13. For more information, students can go to http://www.aamc.com
The many opportunities for taking the test will allow students to take the MCAT early and give them a chance to take the test again. Mustafa mentioned that although there are changes to the amount of times the MCAT is being administered, medical colleges will not be changing their deadlines for application.
Having the test change from paper and pencil to computers will lead to an increase in anxiety, according to a recent Kaplan survey. Kaplan’s research of several thousand students showed that over 80 percent of them have never taken a computerized test. To help them get used to this change, Kaplan provides a computerized practice test at http://www.kaptest.com.
Students planning to take the test in April and May should make sure that their finals do not conflict with their MCAT preparation, according to Mustafa.
Students also need to learn about the new test. For UT students there will be a MCAT Strategy Seminar at the Kaplan Center on Nov. 3 from 3 p.m.- 4 p.m. The Kaplan Center is located 5405 E. Fowler Blvd. Kaplan will also be offering a practice test on Oct. 27 from 1 p.m.- 4 p.m., on the UT campus.
According to Kaplan, students need to prepare early, use important resources and register early. Interested students may register for free Kaplan MCAT events by calling 1-800-Kaptest or at http://www.kaptest.com.
An MCAT Practice Test will be held at UT on Oct. 27 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m