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MCATs go online, with a few glitches

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Medical school hopefuls can breathe easier now that feedback from the new computerized Medical College Admissions Test has rolled in.

The first session of the new MCAT--which was recently converted from a written to a digital exam--took place in late January. Apart from a number of minor glitches, the first writing drew an overall positive response from test-takers.

According to a report released by Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, initial problems included technical problems with passport scanners and fingerprint sensors at localized facilities. Some writers also received mismatched passages and texts. Regardless of the mistakes, the Association of American Medical Colleges, who administrates the MCAT, are confident in fair scoring.

In light of these technical difficulties, Kaplan MCAT program manager Matt Fidler advised students to be cautiously optimistic about future exams.

"While most of our students reported positive experiences during this first administration of the computer-based MCAT, future test-takers should be prepared for potential glitches," said Fidler.

Closer to home, University of Calgary Students' Union faculty of medicine representative Glen Krueger reported no major errors following the first exam session. Krueger, however, would still like students to have a choice about whether to write the computerized exam.

"Of course there are going to be people who feel most comfortable with the written exam," said Krueger. "It would be best if the test were offered on both computers and paper, so that people are given a choice."

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