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Mcat Retaking - I Have 1 Year; How Should I Prepare For Cars?


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Hey guys,

I really need some help/tips/advice. Ok so, I wrote the MCAT this september, and I did pretty bad. Now with the sciences, I think I can prepare that on my own, but I really need help with the CARS section.

 

My situation:

I got 125 in the CARS section. I will be writing the MCAT again in August of next year. I have 1 year essentially, (I am also doing university this year, full-time; but I will also have the 4 months of summer to essentially work on the MCAT).

 

How should I practice/prepare for the CARS, to make it 128+? Should I be reading a lot? What should I read? Should I do practice passages?

 

Thanks

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'll repost what I posted earlier

 

For me (my 2 cents) I read the passages under my breath, with a sort of "intent". Compete focus, and don't just read, think to yourself. ....., ....... etc okay, they mean this, next sentence, ......., ...... ahhh, they've strengthened their argument. Hold each section in your head, and compare it to the last while you read. If it wasn't clear, immediately read that paragraph again, but no more then twice. You don't have time. Be very aware. These are concepts you won't be familiar with, and only what the author states is relevant. Leave your assumptions behind.

 

Pretend the author is giving a speech, and you really want to learn the material. Pretend you are at a medschool you want to go to, and are listening to an admissions speech. Read with that level of captivity and involvement. No sentance should be read passively. This takes practice. I scored very well using this techinique. I tried Kaplan's, and I was scoring quite poorly before.

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  • 3 months later...

 At the beginning, do CARS  or reading comprehension SLOWLY , take as much time as you need, but make sure to write down the main point and tone of each paragraph. Also,make sure you highlight transitional words (ex., however, but, except, additionally, furthermore, moreover). Try to understand the main idea of passage, highlight new concepts/ key terms, try to understand contrasting/contradictory themes, and try to sense the author's tone ( Is the author appreciative of ideas, approving them criticizing them, against the idea, or is the author proponent of a particular idea or is the author neutral). TRY to IMAGINE the author, as if the author is personally talking to you. Try to appreciate the literature piece, and try to anticipate what the author will tell you as you read the passage ( i.e. Be an ACTIVE reader). Additionally, I would also try to understand the author claims/ assertions, what does the author try to argue?, how do they support their claims? What evidence do they provide? Does the evidence substantiate their arguments? Does it corroborate it or does it weaken it? . I also take a note of the type of passage is a descriptive passage ( a passage where the author is just trying to describe something or tell a story) OR is it an argumentative passage ( where the author is trying to convince the readers about a particular subject). When answering the questions, I also try to go back to the passage to make sure I have selected the right choice. Also, I try to use the POE actively, because quite often you will be selecting the less wrong answer, not the right answer. One last tip, is to try to think of the answer before looking at the choices so you would not be distracted by the choice. Lastly, whenever the author adds an example or another critic's idea try to understand why the author is doing that, and always try to connect it to the author's purpose ( the author's point of writing the article). If you have any other questions, I would be happy to answer them  :) Best of Luck!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'll repost what I posted earlier

 

For me (my 2 cents) I read the passages under my breath, with a sort of "intent". Compete focus, and don't just read, think to yourself. ....., ....... etc okay, they mean this, next sentence, ......., ...... ahhh, they've strengthened their argument. Hold each section in your head, and compare it to the last while you read. If it wasn't clear, immediately read that paragraph again, but no more then twice. You don't have time. Be very aware. These are concepts you won't be familiar with, and only what the author states is relevant. Leave your assumptions behind.

 

Pretend the author is giving a speech, and you really want to learn the material. Pretend you are at a medschool you want to go to, and are listening to an admissions speech. Read with that level of captivity and involvement. No sentance should be read passively. This takes practice. I scored very well using this techinique. I tried Kaplan's, and I was scoring quite poorly before.

I'd add that the content of the literature in CARS questions isn't actually relevant. Initially I found myself getting bogged down thinking about the actual arguments and content of the passages, thinking about what was right/wrong/correct/incorrect in my opinion. It might seem obvious, but the test is really just about answering the 4 or 5 questions relating to each passage. Time spent pondering any part of a passage is wasted. Time spent simply registering information that isn't tested is wasted. You want to skim for the basic opinions of each voice, their level of commitment/strength of those opinions, evidence for those opinions, and the paragraphs in which they occur. You can write down quick notes if it's too hard to retain all that info, but that will cost some time. Then read the questions and re-read relevant paragraphs to confirm your answer if needed. If the question is still unclear, flag it and move on. The flagging technique was very important for me. It's easy to come back and spend lots of time on the hard questions later after you've captured all the easy points. Alternatively, getting stuck on hard questions and not moving on will destroy your score. This is important in all sections of the MCAT.

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