Researchers spent years studying thousands of students to assess the new MCAT® exam. Here are some of their key — and surprising — discoveries.
Each year, some 90,000 aspiring doctors take the MCAT® exam, and scores of admissions teams comb through the results as part of their search for talented future physicians. That means the test must do its job well.
So, in 2015 the AAMC redesigned the exam, adding new topics and skills that applicants need to tackle medical school and 21st century medicine: biochemistry, psychology, sociology, and scientific reasoning.
Since then, a team of researchers has been exploring whether the updated test accurately predicts success in medical school, how well underrepresented groups fare on it, and much more. Now, for the first time, they’ve published their results in four Academic Medicine papers.
“After extensive study, the MCAT Validity Committee has several major insights based on examinees who have finished their first year of medical school,” says Cynthia Searcy, PhD, AAMC senior director of MCAT research and development. “It’s essential for admissions teams to know that MCAT scores predict success in medical school. But the research shows more than that the exam is doing its job. Importantly, the papers also show how schools can use the MCAT exam to support their broader goal of creating the talented, diverse physician workforce that our nation needs.”