Academic advisors and students anticipate minor adjustments in the premedical program in response to changes to the Medical College Admissions Test, which will take effect in 2015.

The exam, which is a major part of the admissions process for medical schools, will be two hours longer and test a broader range of material after the revisions are implemented.

Assistant Dean and Director of Pre-Health Programs Ed Meyertholen said that because the specific MCAT changes were only recently announced, it is hard to predict their effects on the roughly 100 students who enter Georgetown’s pre-medical program every year.

“I think the test is really designed to find out exactly what the students learned during their time as undergraduates,” Meyertholen said. “How [the changes] are going to affect how we recommend, I don’t really know yet.”

The Association of American Medical Colleges, which administers the MCAT, concluded its initial deliberations early this month and recently released a preliminary guide to expected changes, listing three major modifications.

Two new sections, “Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior” and “Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills,” will be added to the exam. These will supplement the biological and physical science portions of the test, which the AAMC is updating to reflect medical knowledge and technique.

The additional content will extend the length of the exam from four and a quarter to six and a quarter hours, excluding arrival and break time.

According to the committee that drew up the new test, these changes will ensure that students remain up-to-date on innovations in the field.

“The recommended changes preserve what works about the current MCAT exam, eliminate what isn’t working and enrich the exam by giving attention to the concepts tomorrow’s doctors will need,” the group wrote in the preview.

Armon Ayandeh (COL ’12), former president and current Senior Advisory Board member of the Pre-Medical Society, predicted that the changes will reduce academic flexibility for students in the pre-med track.

“The Georgetown advisors are now going to need to emphasize the need for students to also take sociology and psychology courses to be prepared for the new section of the MCAT,” he wrote in an email. “I think that students will likely worry about these upcoming changes, as they put more stress on students by requiring additional course work and reducing the opportunity for students to take interesting electives.”

Meyertholen said that the MCAT modifications will spur minor changes in the program’s course requirements.

“Its going to require a little bit more [psychology] or [sociology],” he said of students’ course selections. “They’re just going to look a little bit more in those areas than they had before.”

Though Ayandeh agreed that updating the test is necessary, he also expressed concern about the extension of the test’s completion time.

“I think that [an almost] seven-hour test is simply too long, as it is already difficult enough to maintain a high level of concentration and critical thinking for [the current length of the exam],” he wrote.

But Meyertholen expressed confidence in Georgetown students’ abilities to adapt to the new MCAT.

“[The change] really doesn’t matter,” he said. “Pre-med [students] seem to be the type to do whatever is necessary to succeed.”

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