Students must now report all MCATs

    The American Association of Medical Colleges has changed the way students report their Medical College Admission Test scores to the medical schools they are applying to. Beginning with the April 2003 test, all scores will automatically be reported to medical schools, and students will no longer have the option of withholding them.

    The AAMC Web site describes the change in score reporting as a move to “”full disclosure, where an examinee’s testing history, rather than a specific set of scores, will be reported.”” Scores from MCAT tests taken before the April 2003 testing date can still be withheld.

    “”The change at hand is significant, but only for certain populations,”” said Albert Chen, executive director of graduate programs at Kaplan, a company offering exam preparation services. “”We’ve always said that you shouldn’t withhold a score — you should do it once and do it right.””

    Chen said that many students in the past have used their first MCAT exam as a sort of practice test, knowing that they could always withhold that score and use their next exam score for their application; now students will not have that luxury.

    “”Absolutely students should practice,”” Chen said. “”But they should practice on a practice test, not the real thing.””

    Chen’s concerns for students who plan on taking the MCAT more than once are echoed by Earl Warren College junior John Morrison.

    “”Now there’s definitely more pressure on the test day,”” Morrison said. “”I always felt that I would have my August test date as a backup. Now if one thing goes wrong on that one day, you’re screwed.””

    Dr. Robert Resnik, associate dean of admissions at the UCSD Medical School, does not believe that the changes in score reporting will make much of a difference in the way UCSD views applicants.

    “”It’s not going to affect us much at all,”” Resnik said. “”We usually look at [applicants’] most recent scores.””

    Other UCSD pre-medical students feel differently about the changes. Revelle College junior Neil Kalra said he’s really not concerned about having to report his scores.

    “”I’ve already taken [the MCAT] once, and when I did take the test, I didn’t really care about my score,”” she said. “”I just posted it no matter what.””

    Thurgood Marshall College junior Tina Wong agrees with Kalra.

    “”I don’t think it makes too much of a difference,”” Wong said. “”Because some schools want to see all of your scores, and even if you don’t release your score, the date that you took it will show up on the transcript. Even if you did badly, if you take it again, med schools like to see the improvement.””

    AAMC Assistant Vice President of the MCAT Ellen Julian could not be reached for comment by press time.

    For more information regarding the changes to the MCAT’s score reporting, visit the AAMC’s Web site at http://www.aamc.org.

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