Articles from the May issue of Academic Medicine are now available online ahead of print. Check out our MCAT 2015 collection!


For the first time since 1991, prospective medical students will sit down to a whole new MCAT in 2015. New published ahead-of-print articles in Academic Medicine examine characteristics and outcomes of the current exam and discuss the changes affecting the MCAT2015. In addition, other new articles address population and community health, teamwork, leadership training, and other important topics. Keep reading below for more details about this online-first content, which will be published in the May issue.

From the Editor 

Preparation for Medical School: Reflections on the MCAT Exam, Premedical Education, and the Medical School Application Process
David P. Sklar, MD


Redesigning the MCAT Exam: Balancing Multiple Perspectives
Schwartzstein and colleagues describe the tensions and trade-offs characterizing the exam design process, discuss the deliberations and data that shaped the MCAT2015 blueprint, and offer recommendations for admission committees.

Reflections on the Role of a Writing Test for Medical School Admissions
McCurry and Chiavaroli argue that well crafted writing tests can measure candidates’ higher-order thinking skills and should not be overlooked as valuable modes of assessment.


Should the MCAT Exam Be Used for Medical School Admissions in Canada?
Eskander and colleagues use a point-counterpoint format to discuss three main advantages and disadvantages of using the MCAT exam in the medical school admissions process from a Canadian perspective.

Tolerance for Ambiguity: An Ethics-Based Criterion for Medical Student Selection
Geller argues that consideration be given to assessing prospective students’ tolerance for ambiguity as part of the admission process; she also offers implementation strategies.

There is no “I” in Teamwork in the Patient Centered Medical Home: Defining Teamwork Competencies for Academic Practice 
Leasure and colleagues review five teamwork competencies that are important for high-functioning teams: team leadership, mutual performance monitoring, back-up behavior, adaptability, and team orientation.


Do Racial and Ethnic Group Differences in Performance on the MCAT Exam Reflect Test Bias?
Davis and colleagues argue that there was no evidence that the MCAT exam is biased against black and Latino applicants as determined by their subsequent performance on selected medical school performance indicators.

Core Personal Competencies Important to Entering Students’ Success in Medical School: What Are They and How Could They Be Assessed Early in the Admission Process?
Koenig and colleagues describe a multi-year project that identified nine personal competencies important to entering students’ success in medical school and potential tools to measure them for use in pre-interview screening.

A Systematic Strategic Planning Process Focused on Improved Community Engagement by an Academic Health Center: KU Medical Center’s Story
Cook and colleagues describe an upper-level planning process to reshape and organize the mission of a large, spread-out academic health center to include community service/engagement.

The Great Diseases Project: A Partnership between Tufts Medical School and the Boston Public Schools
Jacque and colleagues argue that curricular cooperation between medical school and K–12 educators can be mutually beneficial, increasing teachers’ content knowledge and critical thinking and scientists’ pedagogical skills.

Teaching Population Health: A Competency Map Approach to Education
Kaprielian and colleagues and a group of interprofessional faculty developed an organizational framework to guide Duke’s efforts to develop, implement, and assess training in population health for learners and faculty.

Academic Health Centers and Community Health Centers Partnering to Build a System of Care for Vulnerable Patients: Lessons from Carolina Health Net
Denham and colleagues illustrate in this case study that it is crucial to partner academic health centers and community health centers to care for the uninsured via medical homes.

Beyond a Curricular Design of Convenience: Replacing the Noon Conference with an Academic Half Day in Three Internal Medicine Residency Programs
Batalden and colleagues argue that fidelity to six core principles produces successful academic half day resident learning programs: protect time and space, nurture active learning, sequence content deliberately, develop faculty, encourage preparation and accountability, and apply continuous improvement to development and evaluation.

A Historical Examination of the Budin-Pinard Phantom: What Can Contemporary Obstetrics Education Learn from Simulators of the Past?
Owen and Pelosi, by reviewing the history of simulation in obstetrics education, investigate how a particular obstetrics training mannequin of the 19th century can inform modern obstetrics training.

Transforming a Family Medicine Center and Residency Program into a Federally Qualified Health Center 
Cousineau and colleagues describe a family medicine center before and after a merger between the Keck School of Medicine, the California Hospital Medical Center, and the Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center.

Research Reports

The Predictive Validity of the MCAT Exam in Relation to Academic Performance Through Medical School: A National Cohort Study of 2001–2004 Matriculants
Dunleavy and colleagues found that both undergraduate grade point averages and MCAT total scores are strong predictors of academic performance in medical school through graduation, not just the first two years.

An Overview of the Medical School Admission Process and Use of Applicant Data in Decision Making: What Has Changed Since the 1980s?
Monroe and colleagues’ findings underscore the complexity of the medical school admission process and suggest increased use of a holistic approach that considers the whole applicant when making admission decisions.

Competence and Confidence with Basic Procedural Skills: The Experience and Opinions of Fourth-Year Medical Students at One School
Dehmer and colleagues measured students’ self-reported competence, confidence, and desired competence in nine clinical skills. They found that students lacked experience in several skills, and they discuss ways to address this.

Within-Session Score Gains for Repeat Examinees on a Standardized Patient Examination
Chavez and colleagues analyzed the within-session and across-session score gains of examinees who repeated the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 2 Clinical Skills.

The Relationship Between Communication Scores from the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills Examination and Communication Ratings for First-Year Internal Medicine Residents
Winward and colleagues found that the communication and interpersonal skills scores of the Step 2 Clinical Skills component of the United States Medical Licensing Examination predict communication skills ratings for first-year internal medicine residents after accounting for other factors. 

Participation in Medicine by Graduates of Medical Schools in the United Kingdom up to 25 Years Post Graduation: National Cohort Surveys
Goldacre and Lambert found that at least ninety percent of graduates from United Kingdom-based medical schools work in medicine for many years after graduation.


The Impact of Leadership Training Programs on Physicians in Academic Medical Centers: A Systematic Review
Straus and colleagues, in their systematic review of the literature, found that leadership training programs have modest effects on outcomes important to academic medical centers.

Do Scores on Three Commonly Used Measures of Critical Thinking Correlate with Academic Success of Health Professions Trainees? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Ross and colleagues found that scores on the California Critical Thinking Skills Test, the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, and the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal were moderately correlated with academic success of medical professionals in training.

AM Last Page

AM Last Page: The MCAT Exam: Comparing the 1991 and 2015 Exams
Kroopnick describes how the MCAT2015 exam differs in fundamental ways, but not in ALL ways, from its predecessor, to reflect changes in medical education.

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