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September 21, 2005 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-21

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NEWS

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 7

MCAT
Continued from page 1
said. "Now we just send electrons over
the wires."
One benefit for students includes a
halving of the amount of time it takes for
scores to be reported after the test date:
from 60 days down to one month. Anoth-
er big change will be a 10-fold increase in
the number of opportunities to take the
test, which is currently only offered twice
a year. Aspiring medical students will be
able to take the revamped exam on any of
20 different dates throughout the year.
Thomson Prometric, a computer-test-
ing company, has been awarded a seven-
year, $30 million contract by the AAMC
to convert the exam to computer format.
Past MCATs have offered students the
option to take the test on a computer, and
field trials have been held. However, 2007
marks the first time the test will be admin-
istered exclusively by computer.
One welcome change will be the short-
ening of the now-epic test to five hours.
"Students expressed concerns about
staring at the computer screen for eight
hours, so this seems more humane,"
Julian said, adding that in the event of a
change in test difficulty due to the new
format, scores will be re-calibrated by the
AAMC.
"We will re-scale so that the center
(of the statistical curve) will be about the
same as in other years," Julian said.
Test-preparation companies such as
Kaplan and The Princeton Review have

responded cautiously to the changes.
"We recommend students take the
pencil-and-paper exam while they are
given a choice," said Liz Wands, director
of graduate marketing for The Princeton
Review.
Amjad Mustafa, MCAT program man-
ager for Kaplan, affirmed the test prep
company's preference for the paper exam
for the time being.
"You're always going to be safer taking
the MCAT that test preps have experience
with," said Tiffany Leslie, assistant direc-
tor of marketing and outreach for The
Princeton Review in Ann Arbor.
"The AAMC will still be getting out
the kinks (of the computer-based test),
while the students will be the guinea
pigs," Wands said.
"It's a different testing environment.
The person on the computer to the left of
you might be taking the (Graduate Record
Exam), while the person to the right of you
might be doing the (Test of English as a
Foreign Language). Students need to block
out the environment better," Leslie said.
Another concern raised by test-prepa-
ration companies was a perceived inflex-
ibility of the computer format.
"It's a passage-based exam," Mustafa
said. "Your ability to highlight and take
notes will be affected. ... It's causing a bit
of anxiety for the students."
Other potential problems include dif-
ficulty reading and annotating on a com-
puter screen, as well as disruptions due to
computer malfunctions.
According to a recent Kaplan survey, 82

percent of students taking the preparation
course said they thought they would per-
form worse on a computer-based exam.
Mustafa emphasized that students
need to develop a new skill set to tackle
the new MCAT. Dan Saddawi-Konefka,
an MCAT instructor for The Princeton
Review, agreed. His personal test-taking
system could become obsolete with the
new format.
"One of the strategies we teach is to
map out the passages and write notes in
the margin of the tests. Usually when you
circle a word, it means something; when
you underline, it means something else.
You have less flexibility on the computer
than on paper," Saddawi-Konefka said.
The courses that test preparation com-
panies currently offer are only expected to
change minimally.
"We don't anticipate the way we teach
the MCAT to change," Wands said, adding,
"We are absolutely ready to prep students
the right way when the test changes."
The AAMC has been working in con-
junction with Thomson Prometric to add
computer tools to help students taking
the MCAT. Test-takers will be able to
highlight passages and cross out wrong
answers on the computer screen. The
AAMC advises students to take the wor-
ries raised by Kaplan and The Princeton
Review with a grain of salt.
Talking to your university pre-med
advisors would be the best source of infor-
mation," Julian said. "These commercial
test preparation courses make their living
off people being scared."

CRIME
Continued from page 1
reprimand to expulsion from the Uni-
versity.
Sgt. Angela Abrams of the AAPD
said the victims will likely prosecute.
The police report also included a
statement from an independent witness
- an employee at a parking structure
on South Forest - who said she saw the
men assault the couple.
The incident has galvanized mem-
bers of the Asian community -
some of whom have also faced the
humiliation of ethnic intimidation
first-hand.
Cindy Chuang, LSA senior and presi-

dent of the Taiwanese American Student
Association, said she was appalled and
shocked that a fellow University student
could be demeaned in public.
But she herself said she has experi-
enced racial bias from fellow students,
who she said were drunk when the inci-
dent occurred.
While walking down South Univer-
sity Avenue, Chuang said a group of
students yelled, "Wow, you speak really
good English" and "You talk with a
white accent."
LSA senior and former Korean Stu-
dent Association President Paul Yun
said he was disgusted by the incident
but not surprised that it happened.
Yun said that he has also faced dis-
crimination in Ann Arbor.

While using a public restroom at
Good Time Charley's, Yun said he was
referred to as "Bruce Lee" and "Ching
Chong."
He also said that many of his friends
have experienced similar incidents.
Yun said that the issue needs to be
addressed immediately. He said he
expected the United Asian American
Organizations - an umbrella group
for the Asian student groups on campus
- would be the first to respond to the
matter.
At the very least, Yun said this inci-
dent will call attention to a problem on
campus and could potentially empower
the Asian community to improve the
climate for minority students at the Uni-
versity.

DAVID TUMAN/Daily
Former Michigan Student Assembly representative and Chair of the Campus Improvement Commission Stuart
Wagner speaks with the assembly on the MSA president's motion to create a liaison to the Ann Arbor City Council.

IRAQ
Continued from page 1
and just as many felt the money was
not being spent wisely. The poll had a
3-percentage-point margin of error.
While about 135,000 U.S. troops
operate throughout Iraq, the 8,500
British forces are headquartered in
the Basra region, in the country's far
south.
A day after British armored vehicles
stormed the jail in Basra to free two
commandos, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a
Shiite who serves as Iraq's national
security adviser, said the operation was

"a violation of Iraqi sovereignty."
British forces used armor to bash
their way into the jail compound
late Monday after a day of turmoil
that erupted with the arrest of the
two commandos. At first Basra
police said the men shot and killed a
policeman, but yesterday the al-Jaaf-
ari spokesman, Haydar al-Abadi,
said the men - who were wearing
civilian clothes - were grabbed for
behaving suspiciously and collect-
ing information.
The British said the men had been
handed over to a militia. The Basra
governor confirmed the claim, say-

ing the Britons were in the custody
of the al-Mahdi Army, the militia
controlled by radical Shiite cleric
Muqtada al-Sadr.
"The two British were being kept in
a house controlled by militiamen when
the rescue operation took place," said
the governor, Mohammed al-Waili.
"Police who are members of the
militia group took them to a nearby
house after jail authorities learned the
facility was about to be stormed," he
said, demanding that the Britons be
handed over to local authorities for
trial. He would not say what charges
they might face.

HILLEL
Continued from page 1
to "argue in a fun, friendly, respectful
manner and both grow in knowledge and
understanding of the texts."
The idea for a study center came in part
from University students who had studied
at yeshivas, or Jewish learning centers in
Israel, and wanted to replicate that type of
learning environment, Miller said.
The remodeling of the space was fund-
ed by a donation by the Brodsky family
and the new books were purchased with
a grant from the Irwin and Bethea Green
Foundation.
The new center will provide a place
for both religious and secular study for
Jews and non-Jews alike, Miller added.

MISA
Continued from page 1
to handle this instead of adding more
bureaucracy," Garber said.
In response, Levine said he thought the
assembly misunderstood the intent of the
motion and that more could be accom-
plished between MSA and City Council
if a particular committee specialized on
this goal. "The ERC has done great work,
but I personally feel we need to open the
field for new students with new ideas and
passions while being more inclusive," he
said. City Councilman Stephen Rapunda-
lo supported Levine in the formation of
this committee. "Whether it is a person,
persons or a board, there needs to be a
better bridge between University students

and the City Council," Rapundalo said
earlier before tie vote. "Many students
are feeling disenfranchised from city
affairs. I think we need to bring students
into active participation in city affairs.
Students are legitimate members of the
community as much as anybody else."
Levine said that even though the
motion lacked support, he will stay
committed to improving the commu-
nication between MSA and the City
Council. He said there will be a collab-
orative effort with students at large, the
ERC and himself to go about improv-
ing relations.
He added that several members of
MSA already attend City Council meet-
ings, but he would like the practice insti-
tutionalized so that it will continue after
he graduates.

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