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Hi,

In addition to the hard-science and math questions that have for decades defined this rite of passage into the medical profession, nearly half of the new MCAT will focus on squishier topics in two new sections: one covering social and behavioral sciences and another on critical analysis and reading that will require students to analyze passages covering areas like ethics and cross-cultural studies.

The hard-science and math questions have for decades defined this rite of passage into the medical profession.

How should I interpret the meaning of "rite of passage into the medical profession"?

Those science and math questions long have played a crucial role in determining who get to be accepted into medical school. Is this what it means?

Thank you in advance.
Comments  
Here, 'this rite of passage' refers specifically to the MCAT, a necessary step on the way to becoming a doctor.
Thank you for the reply, Mr. M.

A have defined B into C. (where A=science and math questions, B=MCAT, C=medical profession)

What does this mean?
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A have defined B into C. (where A=science and math questions, B=MCAT, C=medical profession) -- No, this is not a cohered structure; they are independent: A have defined B, and B is a passage into C.
I see. Thank you very much, Mr. M.
jooneydefined this rite of passage into the medical profession,
I think you might be parsing this wrong. "into" doesn't go with "defined"; it goes with "passage". It's not that something is "defined into" something else. It's that something defines/characterizes (the passage of one thing into another thing). Thus, the quoted part means

been the chief characteristic of the process by which a medical student enters the medical profession - a process that is so rigidly followed that we may call it a ritual or a rite,

CJ
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been the chief characteristic of the process by which a medical student enters the medical profession - a process that is so rigidly followed that we may call it a ritual or a rite,

This explanation is very lucid and easy to understand. Thank you so much, CJ.Emotion: smile