When the reporter from U.S. News and World Report called to ask me for an interview about MCAT prep, I immediately said yes.
The changes to the MCAT that took place in April of 2015 were massive and sweeping — so it’s important that premed students don’t study for it under the guidance of some tutor or small-time test prep organization that doesn’t yet know exactly what’s going on.
The important parts of the U.S. News article that quoted me are below. If you’d like to know exactly how the MCAT exam changed in April 2015, click here. If you’d like help getting yourself or your kids through college debt free so that they can easily pay for the high quality, professional MCAT prep I recommend, read all the way to the bottom of this post.
If you want my help applying to medical school, visit me over at getintomedschool.com.
U.S. NEWS & World Report Headline:
Prospective medical school students may want to think about studying for the MCAT with the guidance of an expert.
Applicants may need multiple instructors to prepare for the MCAT, one admissions expert says.
By Delece Smith-Barrow Sept. 17, 2015 | 9:00 a.m. EDT
College freshmen who want to become doctors may want to plan now for how they’ll get into medical school.
It pays to know early which extracurricular activities they should join, which undergrad classes they’ll need to take to do well on the Medical College Admission Test and when they should take that exam, medical school admissions experts say. Students often start preparing for applications as early as sophomore year.
The MCAT has become an especially challenging part of the admissions process, in part because it went through a drastic overhaul in April. It’s now about 6 1/2 hours long – about two hours longer than the last version – and covers more subjects, such as psychology and sociology, in addition to topics the test has long covered, such as biology and chemistry.
“The new MCAT is much broader,” says Jeannie Burlowski, who helps premeds get into med school through her business, getintomedschool.com. “There is far more detail that’s tested, and then it’s also tested more in depth.”
Having the right test preparation is critical for getting a competitive MCAT score, and premeds should think carefully about whom they choose to lead their MCAT study sessions – if they aren’t keen on studying by themselves – and how they’ll pay for it, experts say.
Burlowski, who’s spent decades coaching medical school applicants and once worked with Kaplan Test Prep, urges prospective students to turn to large test-preparation companies for help.
“In a year where the MCAT test has just changed, you have to be really, really careful about getting an individual coach or a tutor,” she says. “No individual has the time or the brain power to be able to research this in great enough depth that they would actually know what’s really going to be on the test and to what degree of depth everything’s going to be tested.”
A test-preparation company, she says, can pour money into researching how the latest test-takers have performed on the exam, what questions tripped them up and how to devise a strategy for studying.
Prospective medical school applicants can ask test-prep companies, “What’s your budget for research?” and “How many people are on your research staff?” to understand which organizations have made researching the new MCAT a top priority, Burlowski says.
Taking a class can also be a way for premed students to guarantee that they’ll methodically get through their study materials, says Ron Laue, assistant dean and health professions adviser for the engineering school at Washington University in St. Louis.
Tutors and test-preparation classes are an investment, experts say. It’s easy for premeds to spend a few thousand dollars on studying for the MCAT.
Financial preparation is another place where early planning is key.
“Take the total cost. Divide it by 24,” says Burlowski. If possible, students should try to save that much per month for two years, she says.
“The MCAT is still a very important variable,” Laue says. “You really want to make sure you’re well prepared for it.”
Would you like free, clear, step-by-step help getting your kids through college debt free?
I help parents with this important work every day at JeannieBurlowski.com. Subscribe to my weekly email newsletter using the form on this site, and then open it every single time it lands in your email inbox. For up-to-the-minute help for your child’s individual situation, click on your child’s age in the “WHAT TO DO WHEN” section on this website.
Have you taken the new MCAT yet? What was your experience? What do you think is the most efficient, effective way to prep for it? Comment below, or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook and let’s talk about it there. Do you know anyone applying to medical school in the next few years? SHARE this post on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin right now.
Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie Burlowski is a full-time consultant, author, and conference speaker. She helps students apply to medical school, and she also helps parents set their kids up to graduate college debt free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward is due out within months. You can find Jeannie’s free, clear, step-by-step help for parents in the “WHAT TO DO WHEN” section on this website. Follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.
“We only got around to doing a fraction of what Jeannie tells people to do in the free help on her website, and we saved well over $50,000 on college costs. Our daughter earned a four year degree from an excellent private university at age 20, and she’s now in California happily working her dream job at Disney. Get to one of Jeannie’s live classes if you can. Buy a plane ticket if you have to!” — Liz and Tim Weatherhead, parents, Bloomington, MN