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Courtesy of Michael Flores/Creative Commons

Credit: Michael Flores

Pre-med students may be spending more time in the library this semester.

The Medical College Admission Test has been significantly altered for students taking the exam from 2015 onwards. The new version of the exam is longer and will cover more subjects.

The new MCAT will be almost twice as long as the previous version. While the pre-2015 version of the test was 144 questions in three hours and 20 minutes, it will now consist of 230 questions and last six hours and 15 minutes.

More topics will be tested on the new edition of the MCAT. The old exam previously required only eight semesters of coursework. The new version tests on three additional semesters of classes, as well as college-level biochemistry, introductory psychology and introductory sociology.

“This can be a real game changer for pre-meds who are already extremely busy in completing their academic coursework,” said Eric Chiu, Kaplan Test Prep’s executive director of pre-med programs.

However, many pre-med Penn students are welcoming the changes to the exam.

“Well, even though the new MCAT requires new material for sociology and psychology, I think knowing that material could be very useful in the long run, especially since I’m planning on majoring in biological basis of behavior and want to concentrate in neurology in the future,” College freshman Maggie Heller said.

College freshman Adam Christenson agreed.

“Overall I would have to say that the additions to the MCAT are going to be beneficial in making better medical students by giving them perspectives on different areas like psychology rather than solely learning the traditional pre-med courses,” he said.

Registration for the April to June MCATs has been open since Feb. 11 and registration for the other exams later in the year will open in late April. Juniors who plan to attend medical school in Fall 2016 are likely to take one of the MCATs offered this year in April, May or June.

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