By Farah Rahman
Every year, thousands of college students spend months studying for one of the most important exams of their careers: the Medical Colleges Admission Test (MCAT). Last year, The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) announced the arrival of a new MCAT exam in 2015. The Athenian sat down with AAMC spokesperson Richard Bacillus to discuss the newly added sections: law and aerospace engineering.
The purpose of these additions is two-fold, said Bacillus. “Studies in law and aerospace engineering will help students realize how medicine interacts with other disciplines,” he said. “Studying health care law will help students with legal struggles that they will inevitably have as young, inexperienced doctors. But the MCAT will also test environmental and corporate law. There really are no bounds to what we can test. And I don’t need to tell you the benefits of aerospace engineering in everyday medicine; they’re obvious. I can’t believe that it took us so long to decide to put it on the exam.”
The second benefit of the new MCAT section is that students will have strong backgrounds in other fields. With the number of talented applicants ever-rising and medical schools becoming increasingly selective, the reality is that it is getting more and more difficult to get into medical school every year.
“In the likely case that students don’t get accepted into medical school, the MCAT will prepare them for other careers. Careers like law and aerospace engineering are almost as respectable as those in medicine,” said Bacillus. “We really care deeply about every student’s future.”
The AAMC decided to change the MCAT after analyzing feedback from several past students. “Many top medical students would come back to us and say that the old MCAT was just too easy. ‘We thought it was supposed to be hard,’ they would say. ‘Anyone can do that. I learned this stuff in kindergarten.’ We didn’t realize that the test was too easy, and we definitely don’t want students to feel upset or insulted,” said Bacillus. “We are confident that these new subjects on the MCAT will be indicative of future potential in medicine.”
Despite well wishes from the AAMC, current pre-medical students are worried about the new exam. “I was going to do a public health internship at NIH, but now I’ll be too busy studying for my aerospace engineering class. I mean, biochemistry is hard, but it’s not rocket science.” Another student also lamented her struggles: “I’ve been studying so many Supreme Court cases for the law section that I forgot some minor concepts in biology. The brain pumps blood to the rest of the body, right?”
Because of the new changes, the CWRU Departments of Aerospace Engineering and Law are thrilled to have more pre-med students enrolled in their classes. “On the first day, one student asked if ‘aerospace’ was a new genus of bacteria,” one chuckling engineering professor commented. “But I’m sure they’ll become master aerospace engineers in no time. No sorry, I mean doctors. But we’re developing a new aerospace engineering course with no difficult calculus or physics, which should be more pre-med friendly.”
Law professors concurred. “Our pre-med class will involve watching movies like ‘Legally Blonde’ while wearing stethoscopes, you know, as a GPA boost,” one law professor mentioned. “It’s nice to know these kids will be in charge of somebody’s life someday.”
Best of luck to all students taking the MCAT 2015. May the odds be ever in your favor; but if not in medicine, there’s always aerospace engineering. Or law, but only if you’re desperate.