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Reading Comprehension and the Future of the MCAT

It’s no surprise that reading comprehension is one of my favorite subjects. As a past MCAT instructor and co-author of materials about reading comprehension for the MCAT, I love the whole aspect of figuring out the puzzle in a verbal reasoning passage.

Now that MCAT 2015 is officially going to include social sciences and psychology content, it’s apparent that there’s too much content to make everything a prereq for medical school admissions. So if you’re thinking you might take the MCAT in a couple years, read on.

Premed Prereqs are A-changin’

The change in MCAT content implies a significant addition to the list of prerequisites for medical school admissions. The trouble is that students are already overloaded on their existing academic path. Adding-in more sociology and more psychology doesn’t sound like a winning solution. So I doubt that med schools will make this part of the premedical requirements. It’s enough that the MCAT will test these topics, making it a de facto requirement.

Verbal Techniques Widely Applied

I expect you’ll see innumerable books, courses, and online goodness all geared toward guiding you to better understand the upcoming “content.”

Don’t let yourself get too carried away, though. The nature of standardized tests, which I wrote about previously on this site, restricts test writers to a few tried-and-true approaches. None of this will change when the new subjects come online; if the process of elimination works on bio questions, and works on verbal questions, then it will also work on psych questions.

Bottom Line is Cognitive

The main thing the MCAT wants to know is this: Can you read a body of information, form your own, independent interpretation of that information, and then report the author’s perspective, bias and possible logical errors?

I write more about this on my blog … take a look.

Don Osborne is a contributing author to Princeton Review’s Hyperlearning MCAT Course. Don created the original Verbal Accelerator program and is a contributor to the latest “Cracking the MCAT” book from Princeton Review. Follow Don on Facebook to read his advice and recommendations to improve your chances of medical school admissions.

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