MCAT changes focus on holistic approach

By Kayla Pickrell

The pre-medicine department is undergoing changes for freshmen in the class of 2016 when they prepare to take the Medical College Admission Test.

The MCAT has been around since 1928, with four updates throughout, the last being in 1991.

The Association of American Medical Colleges administors the MCAT and has recently revised the test, making it more applicable to modern science.

“The MCAT will implement the significant events on the science side, as well as for the shift in the culture of medicine,” said Dr. Jeff Koetje, Kaplan Test Prep’s director of pre-health programs.

The new MCAT will prepare students to take into account the cultural background of a patient and will make a move to treat patients holistically.

“There is a negative stereotype for doctors because they don’t relate to the patient,” Michael Gasser, a biology junior, said. “People think they merely want to see what’s wrong, then say goodbye.”

There are four different updates to the new MCAT: more upper-level biology content, the addition of the behavioral and social sciences section, the removal of the writing sample and a timing change.

The upper-level biology content is mainly biochemistry and the new section adds introductory psychology and sociology.

“Even though those are both the main topics, students will be able to take other behavioral and social science classes other than psychology and sociology,” Koetje said.

The removal of the writing sample allows for the time needed to add the extra section.

“They already had the applicant’s personal statements and essays from the medical applications,” Koetje said. “The writing sample never directly influenced whether the applicant got in.”

The new changes have been approved and will go into effect spring 2015.

However, the essays will be removed in January 2013 to allow for field testing of the new sections.

“This is one of the greatest things they’ve ever done,” Gasser said. “This will allow for future doctors to be able to enhance the relationships with patients not only physically, but now emotionally.”