The New MCAT, What You Need to Know

January 2015 marked the final administration of the old MCAT, the medical school admissions exam. Beginning in April 2015, a longer, more difficult MCAT is set to challenge pre-medical students as they strive toward their goal of becoming doctors. Registration is now open nationwide.

What every future MCAT taker needs to know about the new test:

  • More Content Tested: There will be three additional semesters’ worth of material covered in college-level biochemistry, introductory psychology and introductory sociology, increasing the number of prerequisite classes from eight to eleven. Sections will also place more emphasis on integrating concepts across multiple disciplines.
  • Double the Length: On the new MCAT, pre-meds face 230 questions over 6 hours and 15 minutes versus 144 questions in 3 hours and 20 minutes on the old MCAT. Translation: the new MCAT will require a lot more stamina and focus, but it will also require strong critical thinking skills and MCAT expertise, since students will have more testing time per question.
  • April 2015 Test Takers Get a $150 Amazon Gift Card. Registration opens up on February 11, with an increased registration fee of $300, but to ensure they have enough test takers to help them map out a scoring scale for the rest of the year, the Association of American Medical Colleges (the makers of the MCAT) is offering students who register for one of the two April test dates a $150 Amazon gift card.
  • Different Scoring Scale: Unlike the old MCAT, which had a total possible score of 45, each of the four sections on MCAT 2015 will be scored 118-132, for a total possible score of 528. The median is expected to be 125 per section for a total median score of 500.
  • New Question Types and Skills: MCAT 2015 requires content knowledge and critical thinking just like previous versions of the MCAT, but the new MCAT also tests two additional skills. Research Design focuses on the fundamentals of creating research projects, bias, faulty results, and variable relationships. Graphical Analysis & Data Interpretation focuses on deriving conclusions and drawing inferences from visual data, including figures, graphs and data tables.
  • A More Medical Approach: On the new MCAT, passages will be restructured to test all of the natural sciences within the context of biological systems. This integrated approach is better aligned to how students will study in medical school and prepare for their medical board exams.
  • Verbal Reasoning is Changing Slightly: The new section will now be called Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, or CARS. Unlike the old Verbal Reasoning section, the new CARS section will no longer include passages on the natural sciences; instead, it will utilize only passages from the humanities and social sciences.

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“Scoring well on the MCAT is critical for pre-meds to get into the medical school of their choice, so knowing exactly what they’ll face on this vastly revamped admissions exam and how to prepare for it is a must for all aspiring doctors,” said Eric Chiu, executive director of pre-medical programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “While the new MCAT is more challenging than the old one, our experience of preparing students for the medical school admissions process for over 40 years tells us that with the right preparation, they will rise to the occasion, and succeed.”

For more information about the new MCAT, contact Russell Schaffer at or 212.453.7538.  Students can visit Kaplan’s comprehensive website on the upcoming MCAT changes at

The MCAT® is a registered trademark of the Association of American Medical Colleges. The AAMC is not affiliated with Kaplan.

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep (  is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and nurses.  Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services. Additionally, Kaplan operates new economy skills training (NEST) bootcamps designed to provide immersive training in skills that are in high demand in today’s job market and prepare participants for hire.

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