Medical School Admissions Exam Converting to Computer-Based Format
By Ronald roach
BALTIMOREThomson Prometric, the technology-enabled testing and assessment services division of the Thomson Corp., last month announced a seven-year agreement with the Association of American Medical Colleges to convert the paper-and-pencil Medical College Admission Test to a computer-based format. The test will be delivered globally through the Thomson Prometric testing center network, which includes more than 440 locations in more than 70 countries, according to company officials. Currently, the AAMC administers more than 60,000 MCAT examinations annually, with growth rates projecting 70,000 by 2007. Established in 1876, AAMC represents 125 accredited U.S. medical schools and the 17 accredited Canadian medical schools, 400 major teaching hospitals, 94 academic and professional societies representing 109,000 medical school faculty members, and the nation’s 67,000 medical students and 104,000 medical residents.
“We have chosen Thomson Prometric as our partner in the delivery of the computer-based MCAT because of the success we’ve had in establishing a collaborative working relationship and the size and flexibility of its testing network,” says Ellen Julian, associate vice president of the AAMC and director of the MCAT.
AAMC and Thomson Prometric will collaborate on the development and implementation of the systems and procedures necessary to provide full computer-based testing services from test publishing and examinee scheduling to the completed transfer of test results data. For the past two years, Thomson Prometric has demonstrated its integrated testing system capabilities through the delivery of computer-based MCAT operational pilots around the world.
Aspiring physicians are expected to benefit from the efficiencies of the computerized approach in several ways. The computer-based format will be administered through Thomson Prometric testing centers, making the MCAT available 20 days annually instead of only two weekends, as is the case with paper-and-pencil delivery. Examinees will also find out how they performed far more quickly with the automated process, allowing students and admissions offices to expedite the enrollment process into U.S.-based medical schools.
The computer-based MCAT will be introduced in phases before it is fully implemented in early 2007, officials say.
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