Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to Include SBS Sciences

November 21, 2011

by Paula Skedsvold

The Association of American Medical Colleges is making changes to the MCAT, the exam that aspiring medical students take before entry into medical school.  After a comprehensive review of the MCAT by the AAMC and its 21-member advisory committee, with input from several blue-ribbon panels and advisory groups and survey responses from over 2700 stakeholders, a new section on the behavioral and social sciences will be added to the 2015 exam.

The new section, Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior, will test knowledge of “important introductory psychology and sociology concepts, as well as introductory biology concepts that relate to mental processes and behavior.” The addition “recognizes the importance of socio-cultural and behavioral determinants of health and health outcomes.” Five foundational concepts will comprise this section:

  • Biological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors influence the ways that individuals perceive, think about, and react to the world.
  • Biological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors influence behavior and behavior change.
  • Biological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors influence how we think about ourselves and others.
  • Social and cultural differences influence well-being.
  • Social stratification affects access to resources and well-being.

Another new section, Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, is also planned for the updated MCAT.  The section will require test-takers to analyze, evaluate, and apply information in passages that will include ethics and philosophy, cross-cultural studies, and population health.  These two additions comprise two of the four test sections. The other two sections, which are also being updated, are Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems and Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems.

View AAMC’s draft of the Preview Guide to MCAT 2015 »