Changes Could Be Coming for Pre-Meds and the MCAT
Pre-med courses for undergrads have been static for decades, but a report issued today recommends big changes. In a nutshell: Make medical learning more dynamic by requiring a set of competencies rather than a checklist of courses.
The report, “Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians,” was prepared by a panel of 22 researchers, physicians and science educators. The group was convened by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, meaning the findings have the potential to change medical education nationally.
From the MCAT’s point of view, it doesn’t matter whether they test on courses or competencies. But the MCAT will need to change. For example, if we require less organic chemistry, the MCAT has to not test on the organic chemistry that disappeared and has to test more on the biochemistry. The MCAT people were on our committee and are re-evaluating the MCAT exam.
It will take a little longer to shift the MCAT than for colleges and medical schools to shift their requirements. Until then, colleges will still have to teach to the MCAT. It’s definitely going to take a number of years.