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Medical school exams to include broader range of subjects

 Medical schools are seeking longer Medical College Admission Tests to better prepare future medical doctors.

The Association of American Medical Colleges decided to add content to the current exams. These changes will take place starting in 2015. The new content includes more behavioral science questions from classes such as psychology, sociology and philosophy. The changes to the content will increase the test time from five-and-a-half hours to seven hours.

Mollie Semmer, a senior in the College of Health and Human Sciences, took the MCATs during the summer and said she thinks the changes are good because they encourage students to take a wide range of courses, and a lot of medical schools require the additional courses anyway.

"It's a tough test to prepare for because it's a content-based test, so you have to know certain concepts from class that are on the test," Semmer said.

Semmer said to be better prepared for the test, students should stick to a schedule while doing the practice tests and pace themselves because the exam is rushed.

Amy Terstriep, a health professions adviser in the College of Science, said this has been the second change in the last 10 years. The current change is a bigger overhaul than the last one.

"The changes in the test that they are thinking of now will better reflect what medical schools are looking for and what they need students to be able to do," Terstriep said. "It's going to be different, not necessarily harder."

Robert Walkup, an adviser in the School of Health Sciences, wrote in an email the changes to the MCATs are not worrisome for Purdue students and that the changes might benefit students not involved in science-based curriculum.

"I don't see it as being harder but with a broader-based focus," Walkup wrote. "Most students enrolled in pre-med programs at Purdue complete these courses currently."

Terstriep said longer does not necessarily mean harder, but it can be tiring. Her advice to future test takers is to thoroughly learn the material presented in class and not just study for the next exam because students are going to need the concepts for the MCATs.

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