The American Association of Medical Colleges has approved changes to the MCAT (the exam required for admission to US medical schools). Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but as far as I can tell the physics community isn’t paying much attention to this. I think we should be, because some standard topics in the introductory physics sequence seem to have moved off the list of topics covered in the exam.
Compare this document describing topics covered on the current exam with this one describing the new one, which is to start in 2015. There are a number of topics on the old list but not the new list, the biggest ones (in my opinion) being magnetic fields and momentum.
I’m not going to comment on whether the loss of these topics will have a deleterious effect on future generations of physicians. I am interested in what effect it will have on the curriculum at universities such as mine. There are some topics on the MCAT list that we don’t cover in great depth in our first-year physics course because we don’t have time (e.g., sound, fluids, geometric optics). Many of the students coming through our introductory course are pre-med students. Will we be expected to dump magnetism and conservation of momentum to make room for these?