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MCAT Validity Study

In April 2015, the AAMC launched the fifth version of the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®)

It had been nearly 24 years since the last time the MCAT exam was significantly reviewed. As a best practice, it is important to conduct periodic reviews of standardized tests, especially in those fields such as medicine with rapidly expanding bodies of knowledge and research.

After five years of research and development, the new MCAT exam was introduced in 2015. It was redesigned to test the knowledge and reasoning skills of aspiring physicians that are needed when they walk through the door on the first day of medical school. 

MCAT Validity Committee

To understand the predictive validity of the new MCAT exam, the AAMC formed two committees comprising representatives from 21 medical schools and two undergraduate pre-health advisors to oversee and guide this work. These institutions and committee members are shown below.

The MCAT Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior (PSBB) committee oversees early research on the newly added test section that began before the launch of the new exam. The MCAT Validity Committee (MVC) oversees the 10-year longitudinal research on the validity of the whole MCAT exam. Both committees meet regularly to review research progress, discuss findings to date, and make decisions on research plans and results dissemination.

Research Agenda:

Research is being conducted in three broad areas:

Diversity, Fairness, and Academic Preparation

Admission Decision Making

Predicting Academic Performance


The MCAT Validity Research will span approximately 10 years (from 2014 to 2023). The timeline for the study will support the evaluation of the new MCAT exam from its introduction to examinees in 2015, to the first use of MCAT scores in selecting students for the 2016 entering class, to the performance of these entering students, as well as students entering in 2017, from entry through graduation. Each year at LSL we will present findings when they first become available.

  • 2017 - Medical School Admissions: Survey (Impact of new exam on admissions decision making) / Medical Student: Outcomes (Association of MCAT scores with performance in 1st year of medical school)
  • 2018 - Medical Student: Outcomes (Association of MCAT scores with performance in 2nd year of medical school)
  • 2019 Medical Student: Outcome (Association of MCAT scores with USMLE Step 1)
  • 2020 - Medical Student: Outcomes (Association of MCAT scores with clerkship performance)
  • 2021 - Medical Student: Outcomes (Association of MCAT scores with USMLE Step 2 CK, Step 2 CS, Graduation)

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