Medical Mentorship Program Helps Medical Students Prepare for Revised MCAT

Originally published on March 17, 2016. Updated March 27, 2019
The University of Vermont offers a four-week Medical School Mentorship and Enrichment Summer Program to help prepare students for the new Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
The revised MCAT is designed to place greater emphasis on critical thinking and cover additional content. In addition to being broader and more difficult, the new MCAT is twice as long as the old edition and has a heavier section on biochemistry.
“On the new MCAT, students need to know even more,” says UVM College of Medicine Biochemistry Professor Paula Tracy, who is leading the Medical School Mentorship and Enrichment Summer Program. “Our goal is not to reteach students everything they’ve already learned over four weeks. We want to identify concepts students struggle with and offer an active, hands-on learning experience.”
The revised MCAT also added a fourth section dedicated to behavioral tactics, psychology, and sociology. The Association of American Medical Colleges conducted five years of research to revamp the test in April 2015, which had not been updated since 1991.
In addition to preparing for the MCAT, the Medical School Mentorship and Enrichment Summer Program will also help students build clinical experience with formal shadowing and medical-simulation-center activities and give them the opportunity to practice essential interviewing skills.

An MCAT Prep Course and the Benefits of Mentoring

The program is not just about testing. Tracy points out that mentoring is a key component to help students prepare for medical school. Students are assigned to a current UVM medical student who will serve as a personal mentor and provide students with firsthand knowledge about applying to and succeeding in medical school today.
“What I like about mentoring is finding the best in people,” says Tracy, a champion of mentoring and a member of the UVM faculty for more than 30 years. “It helps students realize their own potential.”

During the Program, Students Will:

  • Perform virtual medical procedures in UVM’s state-of-the-art medical simulation center and have an opportunity to watch a live surgery
  • Practice for medical school interviews through mock multiple mini interviews (MMIs) with feedback to improve interview skills
  • Receive a detailed, personalized assessment

Is a MCAT Prep Course Right for You?

The program is for premed students who are getting ready to take the MCAT and apply to medical school. Tracy expects participants will have completed their first three years of undergraduate premedical coursework before starting the program. Recent graduates are welcome to participate as long as they have completed the standard premed course requirements.
Tracy has worked with undergraduate, graduate, and medical students at all training levels, as both their teacher and mentor. She previously served as the director of Preclinical Assessment in the College of Medicine Vermont Integrated Curriculum (VIC) and prior to that served as the director of a VIC first-year course for 13 years.
“As a result of those experiences and my membership on the College of Medicine Admissions Committee, I have an in-depth understanding of what it takes to get into medical school and how to be successful as a medical student,” she says. “I’m confident we’ve pulled together the right team of teachers and mentors in order to create the right learning experiences to help students confidently progress through their premed pathway into medical school.”

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