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KCShaw

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Evidently I'm a bit behind the times, but the MCAT is dramatically changing, the new exam going into effect soon. Basically, they're adding another couple of hours worth of questions in ethics and social sciences, while dropping the written component.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/e...chools?ref=medicalschools&_r=1&pagewanted=all

"How admissions officers will use the new information remains to be seen. Though medical schools say they want a test that selects for more well-rounded students, their reputations derive far more from the number of Nobel Prize winners they spawn, not from producing good bedside doctors."

"The writing section on the current MCAT is being dropped because admissions officers said it was unhelpful, and largely ignored it. "

My goodness. Really? Improve bedside manner by dropping the communication portion of the exam in favor of some ill defined multi-choice behavioral psychology/sociology questions? Seems quite...odd...to me. (Thankfully physicians have no need to communicate via the written word.) They also explained how until the late 1970's there was a lot of liberal arts type material on the exam, which was dropped as institutions began favoring creating researchers, 'biomedical engineers', and academics. Not so sure one can change the institutional mindset by altering an exam they're already admitting to ignoring parts of. Might give them more to ignore I suppose.

But, the reason I post here rather than elsewhere is to hear whether anyone has any thoughts as to how it might affect pathology down the line? (That, and the MCAT forums appear far more focused on how to pass it, not what it means to the big picture.) Too early to know, but never too early to guess, eh?
 

Sulfinator

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I agree that the written part of the exam was not really given much weight in assessing the apptitude of medical school applicants; and, as such, it's just as well that they will be eliminating it from the test. Not sure what to think of the proposed additions . . . could be good (for pathology and medicine in general) or could be totally meaningless. I guess I favor the latter.
 

yaah

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Unfortunately these changes are likely to have little relevance in finding docs with excellent communication skills. THe major change probably is just reducing the influence of biologic and physical science scores on getting admitted to med school, which might mean more flexibility for admissions committees, I don't know.

I wonder if it was just hard to grade the writing portion effectively so they needed something that was easier to grade and standardize.
 
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TMZ2007

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the MCAT forums appear far more focused on how to pass it, not what it means to the big picture.

Does/Should it mean anything to the "big picture" (whatever the hell that means), really? The only value the MCAT has is as a measure of standardized testing ability, which itself is only a useful skill to measure because American med students are frequently tested in a standardized fashion.

This is totally ignoring its potential usefulness as a measure of general intelligence, which is more likely what adcoms are using it for anyway.
 

Dral

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Well, dropping the written part, which we all know is/was pointless, is probably not such a big deal.

The 'best' attempt at testing interpersonal communication is CS...and...well... I don't need to say anything else.

Is there really a line where some compassionate stupid butt will get into med school before some insensitive smart superstar? Of course not.

Maybe it's a way to split hairs, but big picture does it really matter? No.
 

KCShaw

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Does/Should it mean anything to the "big picture" (whatever the hell that means), really? The only value the MCAT has is as a measure of standardized testing ability, which itself is only a useful skill to measure because American med students are frequently tested in a standardized fashion.

This is totally ignoring its potential usefulness as a measure of general intelligence, which is more likely what adcoms are using it for anyway.

While I'm on board with most of that point, I also don't really think the content should be, say, about the history of music, either. Some things are relevant, insofar as knowing it will be on a "required" exam encourages students to take classes addressing those topics and perhaps funneling not only their academic background but also their general way of thinking. Just seems to me that they've removed one relevant topic (written communication - not particularly taught in medical school) and replaced it with one which only might, in concept, marginally change the mode of thinking (by "forcing" those interested in medicine to take classes they otherwise wouldn't, simply to do well enough on the exam).

Dunno, seems like it would have been easier to just eliminate the MCAT and replace it with some other "well rounded" exam, if any culling exam will really do. And it might. (At least until the drive towards shortening medical school kicks in a little further, and they stop "wasting" so much time on basic sciences, which will also require Step I to change...)
 
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