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AAMC official CARS question pack... is it really this hard..?

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by younggunner94, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. younggunner94

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    So I am about 2 weeks out from taking my mcat (sept 3), and have been doing TPR's practice exams for prep. I have been scoring around 126-7 on their CARS section, and numerous people have told me that TPR's CARS is wayyy harder than AAMC's would be on the real deal. Anyways, I bought the AAMC's official guide and completed the 6 practice CARS passages they provided, and was happy with my score (~90%). Yesterday, I tapped into the 'AAMC official Qpack' for CARS (pack 1), and am astonished at how difficult the 6 passages I have done so far are. I averaged around 65% for the first 6 passages in pack 1, and the questions are structured SO MUCH DIFFERENTLY than how the OG's questions were. I mean honestly, about 4/6 of the passages I did seemed like the horribly convoluted philosophy passages you hope you will never actually get.

    Is this really representative of how the new MCAT's CARS section is? I am really freaking out now, because of how poorly I have done on the qpack (supposed to be the best? prep from AAMC).
     
  2. El-Rami

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    In the September thread, there is a poster who reported 80% for CARS pack 1a and >90% for CARS pack 1b. The first part is very hard compared to the second half of CARS I.
     
  3. mcatjelly

    mcatjelly Meow
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    I do think the CARS packs are most representative of what you'll see on the exam.
     
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  4. Sylvee

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    This worries me. I got KILLED on the first half of the CARS pack 1, and CARS and reading comprehension has historically been quite good for me. Somehow I just kept missing their reasoning, over and over and over again.
    I'm just hoping that it's because I've hit a bit of a low, because a few of the schools that I'm applying to only look at CARS.
    I'm hoping it's just because I've been studying for 3 months and am just burning out a little bit.
     
  5. mcatjelly

    mcatjelly Meow
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    If it's any consolation, that was my worst CARS score on AAMC material. Did significantly better on the rest. :)
     
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    Sylvee likes this.
  6. FutureD.O

    FutureD.O OU-HCOM OMS-II
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    First half of the qpack 1 is very difficult. The second half is much easier. Don't freak out too much if you didn't do too hot in the first half. If you're doing well on practice tests, and your percentages improve on the second half of qpack 1 and qpack 2 overall you'll be fine!
     
  7. tluedeke

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    I just did those passages, and I thought they were horrifically nasty. And usually I do quite well on CARs type of tests. I read some of those passages again and again with the timer off, and I still didn't know the answer to some of the questions.

    If they put a lot of passages of that level of difficulty on there, I'm dead meat.
     
  8. tluedeke

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    That's probably because the "reasoning" was basically incoherent.
     
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  9. Jack Westin

    Jack Westin CARS Instructor
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    Don't do passage 1 vol 1 till midway through your studies.

    For some students, the CARS question pack passages are super difficult. That's normal. Give yourself enough time to prepare and don't be intimidated.
     
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  10. KoalaT

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    I 100% agree that Volume 1 part a was 100x harder than part b. I got a 44/60 on the first part of the Official AAMC CARS Volume 1 (only 72%ish), which was rather disheartening and worrisome. However, the second part I got a 55/60 (92%ish). Even while doing it, I was astonished how easy every passage was. I understood everything perfectly.

    I guess this goes to show that the MCAT is really just dependent on the curve at the end of the exam. Could be easy, could be hard. Just do your best and make it better than others' best.

    Also, I just realized. The first part had 60 questions in 9 passages. The second part had 60 passages in 12 passages. Kind of odd.
     
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  11. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    I think Vol 1 is slightly harder than Vol 2, but I also think you get a slight bump in score in Vol 2, because you've taken and reviewed Vol 1. I wouldn't think about it too hard. In my opinion, mcatjelly is correct. Of what I've seen, the CARS question packs seem to have the reputation of being more representative. I'd recommend you save the question packs for about six weeks to a month out from your test date, assuming you've been using other materials to practice CARS intensely for at least 10 weeks up to that point. The key is practice!
     
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  12. KoalaT

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    Have you taken it? Cause I feel like if you've taken it, you would understand that the second part is CLEARLY much easier. I have to disagree with the first part of this statement. Vol1 is 10x harder than Vol2.
     
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  13. pch

    pch
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    I am a week from the MCAT and I just found out about this CARs package. I have been practicing CARs with NS FL exams,NS books, Khan academy and have done AAMC official guide and AAMC sample test. Will be doing the AAMC full length this weekend. I am wondering whether it is worth it to purchase the AAMC CARs package at this point in the game. I have always had trouble with CARs and have been scoring ~123-126 range on CARs on the 4 NS FL exams. With the time I have, I'm afraid a hard CARs package would break my confidence going into the exam and will affect my performance. Any advice?
     
  14. hellobello18

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    Hmm..I would probably buy volume 1. CARS isn't an issue for me but there was a noticeable difference in Kaplan CARS and AAMC CARS when I first started practicing. I've heard multiple times that AAMC CARS questions are the best to practice with. Once I got through the question pack, I was scoring a lot better. It's better to have something representative that you can practice with beforehand than to walk into the test and see something that might intimidate you.
     
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