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REF NO.: 4

SUBJECT: Memorial partnering with Association of American Medical Colleges to research new Medical College Admissions Test

DATE: Sept. 16

Memorial University is the only medical school in Canada participating in research on the new Medical College Admissions Test, in partnership with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
As part of the admission process to medical school, almost all U.S. schools and many Canadian schools require the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®). This is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess the examinee’s problem-solving, critical thinking and knowledge of science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine. The MCAT is one of the criteria that admissions committees consider in the selection process. 
The current version of the test has been in use since 1991. A comprehensive review of the MCAT was just completed by the AAMC and based on this review, the MCAT is changing in 2015 to preserve what works about the current MCAT exam, eliminate what isn’t working and enrich the exam by giving attention to the concepts tomorrow’s doctors will need. AAMC realizes that physicians in society now have to perform many roles and a broader educational background is essential. 
One major change in the MCAT 2015 exam is to include a section on the social and behavioural sciences: psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior (PSBB). The PSBB section assesses knowledge and use of introductory psychology, sociology, biology, research methods, and statistics concepts that provide a solid foundation for learning in medical school. The addition of this section to the exam recognizes the importance of socio-cultural and behavioural determinants of health and health outcomes. AAMC is now conducting a study to validate the PSBB section of the 2015 Medical College Admission Test to learn whether PSBB scores predict students’ academic performance in behavioural and social sciences courses and clerkships.
AAMC has partnered with 12 medical schools in the United States and Canada, who were targeted for partnership based on several criteria, including institutional mission and matriculant diversity, to complete the PSBB validity study. Memorial University is the only medical school in Canada to participate in this initiative. During the past month, first- and second-year medical students have been invited to participate in this study and more than 80 per cent have completed the PSBB test.
Science advances rapidly, the health-care system is transforming, the population is becoming more diverse every day and tomorrow’s doctors need to be prepared. Those factors play a major role in shaping what students learn in medical school and what they need to know when they begin. The new MCAT will change how students are selected into medical school in the future and will be a better test for tomorrow’s doctors.
“This research will help us select students with the greatest potential to succeed in our medical education program and become tomorrow’s best doctors,” said Dr. James Rourke, dean, Faculty of Medicine.
Information on the new MCAT can be found on the AAMC website at

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For further information, please contact Sharon Gray, communications co-ordinator, (medicine) at 709 777 8397 or


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