You can get answers to many of these questions by going to aamc.org and clicking down to the MCAT and specifically, the Computerized Base Test (CBT) links. Following are my take on these questions.
One-content different? The content is the same on the CBT and the most recent paper MCAT’s since the revision of 2003 (the “R” tests). So, if you knew the content for the last paper test given in August 2006, then you will know the content for the CBT’s.
Two-structure of test different? This is a very critical question, but the answer again is “no”. The way AAMC asks questions and the question types are all the same. If you understand and know how to apply MCAT test-specific skills, then this is excellent news.
Three-same factors being measured? Yes they are. Whatever those factors are, they have not changed. I state this in this manner, because AAMC does list some factors you are being tested on, there are many others which are NOT listed but are none-the-less being tested.
The essence to understanding questions one, two and three is something called Item Response Theory (IRT) and understanding that AAMC has expended millions of dollars developing a question bank from which they draw questions. By using IRT, they can be as certain as is possible, that every test, and every form of the test, since the latest major version change in 1991 is the same. They are the same in terms of overall content, overall skills and overall ability to discriminate students of different abilities. Simply because the number of items has changed will not change the overall validity and discrimination of the MCAT.
Four-use by medical schools. My belief is that medical schools will continue to use it just as they have in the past. The Moss Test, the original MCAT from 1928, was created to help select students who are likely to complete medical school…they still use it for this purpose and will do so into the future.
Five-what is different? You must become totally familiar with the mechanics of taking the new MCAT. There are also differences in the number of questions, registration, retakes etc. You will have to get use to taking the computerized form versus the paper form…eg, you can’t write notes in the margins anymore…so, now what? The best way to get prepared is to go the aamc.org site and go through their tutorials and free practice test.