A Study of the Validity of the New MCAT Exam

Claudio Violato, Jacqueline L. Gauer, Efrem M. Violato, Dimple Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To conduct a study of the validity of the new Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

METHOD: Deidentified data for first- and second-year medical students (185 women, 54.3%; 156 men, 45.7%) who matriculated in 2016 and 2017 to the University of Minnesota Medical School-Twin Cities were included. Of those students, 220 (64.5%) had taken the new MCAT exam and 182 (53.4%) had taken the old MCAT exam (61 [17.9%] had taken both). The authors calculated descriptive statistics and Pearson product moment correlations (r) between new and old MCAT section scores. They conducteda regression analysis of MCAT section scores with Step 1 scores and with preclerkship course performance. They also conducted an exploratory factor analysis (principal component analysis with varimax rotation) of MCAT scores, undergraduate grade point average, Step 1 scores, and course performance.

RESULTS: The new MCAT exam section mean score percentiles ranged from 72 to 78 (mean composite score percentile of 80). The old MCAT exam section mean score percentiles ranged from 84 to 88 (mean composite score percentile of 83). The pattern of correlations among and between new and old MCAT exam section scores (range of r: 0.03-0.67; P < .01) provided evidence of both divergent and convergent validities. Backward multiple regression of new MCAT exam section scores and Step 1 scores resulted in a multiple R of .440; the same analysis with Human Behavior course performance as the dependent variable provided a similar solution with the expected sections of the new MCAT exam (multiple R = .502). The factor analysis resulted in 4 cohesive, theoretically meaningful factors: biomedical knowledge, basic science concepts, cognitive reasoning, and general achievement.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provided empirical evidence of multiple types of validity for the new MCAT exam.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-400
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • Academic Performance/standards
  • Adult
  • College Admission Test/statistics & numerical data
  • Educational Measurement/standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minnesota
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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