Single Status Update
Hey! I did not want to reveal too much information about myself in the forum, so I will PM you my response. I did a two-year research-based Master's specifically in cancer immunology. I think reading a lot of research articles during this time helped me to interpret information in a passage-based manner, and see the information in a big picture, rather than the bullet points that I was used to in segmented lecture presentations in undergrad. It also helped with understanding experiments, and analyzing datas. So doing my Master's made me feel more comfortable with my science sections in MCAT.
On the other hand, CARS felt like my weakest subject regardless of my research experience. I somehow got a 10 for my first attempt, but I truly felt like it was luck, because I have been scoring poorly (below 9) in most of my practice exams. For the second attempt, I did every CARS passage that I could find in the books I had (Kaplan, Examkrackers), in Khan's Academy, and in AAMC practice packs TIMED (8~9 minutes per passage). Things I did NOT do the second time around for CARS were focusing too much on little details, and trying to understand everything when reading the passage the first time. I spent 2 minutes (at max 3 mins) reading the passage the first time, while mentally summarizing each paragraph's general purpose (i.e. introduction about a topic > author's opinion on the topic > supporting example 1 > supporting example 2 > acknowledgement of counter opinion > conclusion). I would only go back to the passage to understand the details if the questions required me to do so.
When I was doing content review for MCAT for the first 1.5 months, I did 3 CARS non-AAMC passages (i.e. Khan Academy, Examkrackers) a day before studying any other subject (TIMED). After that, I mostly used AAMC materials and various company's practice exams (so full lengths) until the day of my test day. I got 128 for the second attempt, and while it is not a big jump from my first score, I felt like the score was better backed up by my "progressive" practice scores. I emphasize the word, progressive, because my CARS score was avg. 124-126 in the beginning of my study and improved to 128-129.
I hope this helped. Good luck!
lol, realized that this is a public message on your feed.. I am still new to this.