Tuna Finch and Registration problems

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10+ Year Member
Feb 16, 2007
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Tuna Finch

1/3 of the students on the January 27th test encountered what AAMC is calling the “Tuna-Finch” problem. They think this name is funny.

This isn’t that new, they had an identical problem on a 1998 paper and pencil exam and the problem has nothing to due with the new CBT test... so they say.

AAMC said the Tuna-Finch passage was the next to last passage in verbal, and only 5 items were affected. AAMC’s team of psychologists says these scores will be good without those five items.

AAMC Looked at students’ scores for the subsequent passage and on average the Tuna Finch testers scored better on the last passage. The thought is that they assumed that the prior passage was field test or would be thrown out and didn’t have to spend time on those questions, however nothing is for sure.

Also they said that typically the field test items are 70-90% good, so they may count the additional field test items instead of those five. This is not what they are doing by any means, but they might consider it.

Scores are unlikely to be released on time due to this error.

Scheduling the test

AAMC has an online process that connects with, but is different from, Thomson Prometrics.
For the January dates there were a few problems, but the low registration numbers made it easy to deal with.

For the April and May tests they had 40,000 simultaneous hits in the first minute. This was attributed to students with multiple computers and multiple browser windows open trying to register at the same time.

The registrations were left hanging at various points, and some went to the point that they got confirmation from AAMC but they weren’t actually booked at Prometrics and vice versa.

Vast majority of students were rematched to their first choice of date and site. AAMC had email and phone blasts, and individual phone calls to those who thought they had a site to let them know that they were in fact not registered. AAMC had added a phone room recently and were glad they did. They did whatever they could for testers, including ‘extreme measures’ such as buying plane tickets to get students to another site.

Anyone on here have this happen?

They added additional services after this, but also claimed that test sites aren’t booking on the first day of registration. This is obviously not true for some areas, but by and large there is still availability after the first day of registration.

To remedy the problem, they are considering two options. The first will have gradual S&R openings by region. They are considering aligning this with NAAHP regions. This would alleviate some of the hits.

They are also considering a Queuing system, but that would be a much later implementation.

Just thought some people would like to know this information and it comes directly from the .MCAT’s director of Research and Technology.


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10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2006
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geez. AAMC is in dire need of some restructuring. They should hire some consultants to help them out.