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Feb 3, 2021
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Hello,
I am a BSMD student and need help with the CARS section of the MCATS. Took the test 2 times, scored 125 and 124, respectively... I need an average of 126, which means I now need a 129. I have only one more opportunity in April... Does anyone have advice for me?
 
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GreenDuck12

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Mar 30, 2014
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What did you do to prepare for cars for your first two attempts? Honestly, with such a short time frame, it’s going to be tough. You’re talking about going from the 49th percentile to the 95th percentile. I’ve been tutoring the MCAT for two years now and it’s really hard to see such a score jump in 2-3 months. Provide more details about how you approached preparing for the MCAT and cars in particular and you will get better advice.
 
Feb 3, 2021
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What did you do to prepare for cars for your first two attempts? Honestly, with such a short time frame, it’s going to be tough. You’re talking about going from the 49th percentile to the 95th percentile. I’ve been tutoring the MCAT for two years now and it’s really hard to see such a score jump in 2-3 months. Provide more details about how you approached preparing for the MCAT and cars in particular and you will get better advice.
Thank you for your response and honesty. I removed the details, as it was tagged as inappropriate solicitation. I read through all the kaplan study materials and then I took many practice tests, including all the AAMC practice tests. On this past test, I focus alot of the CARs by reviewing all the materials and redoing all the tests.

I know it will be very hard but really cannot give up at this point. Maybe a miracle will happen. I am very upset about this... missing the mark by 1 point....
 
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Feb 5, 2020
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Be more strategic about reviewing your mistakes.

Let’s do the math. In my experience, 129 is usually when you get 46-47 problems right. Set your goal to getting no more than 7 problems wrong instead of trying to get every single problem right. Now, there are three types of cars problems (Foudnation, reasoning within, and beyond passage). The easiest way to regain points is getting all those foundation problems right (usually guarantees 126-127 if you get all those problems right). If you already capped with foundation, try creating your own reasoning within and beyond problems Based on the AAMC materials. Really put yourself into the test maker’s mind and make as many problems as you can, especially with their strategies to confuse students with 50:50’s.

These are the recommendations, but I cannot guarantee a 129, since I myself got 128.
 
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Feb 3, 2021
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Hello! I took the MCAT once in 2019 and got a 125 on CARS, then retook January 2021 and got a 131. Of course your time frame is much tighter than mine, but I think the key process is to 1) identify your weaknesses (do you run out of time because you read too slow? or is it an issue with answering the questions incorrectly?), 2) practice a LOT, and 3) always review your practice, both correct and incorrect answers!

If your issue is not finishing quickly enough, begin timing yourself on practice passages such that you finish as much of one passage as possible within 9 minutes -- you usually have 90 minutes for 9 passages (10 mins/passage), but by only giving yourself 9 minutes per passage during practice, you get used to a faster pace that will hopefully allow you to feel like you have more time during the real thing. Find a reading strategy that works for you given your own reading speed. If you tend to read slowly, try skimming the passage first so you have a general idea of it, then going back to the passage and reading specific paragraphs/sections based on what the questions ask for, rather than spending a bunch of time doing an in-depth read of the entire passage and then running out of time on the questions. Also, keep in mind the CARS passages are designed to confuse the f** out of you. If you get to a super convoluted section about some weird thing you don't care about, just skim through it rather than spending forever trying to figure out what the author's saying. You can always go back to it later if a question asks about it (which would very rarely happen).

When it comes to answering the questions themselves, know that the correct answer is always the choice that cannot be wrong. This is where process of elimination (POE) really comes into use. If there is anything in an answer choice that looks even slightly sketchy, be cautious. For example, the MCAT loves to throw extreme answer choices into the options. Be skeptical of choices with words such as "always" and "never," as well as words with strong emotional connotations (hate, disgust, love, etc.), unless it is very very clear in the passage that the author/character really does feel extremely strongly about the given topic. Phrases/words like "most of the time," "primarily," "generally" tend to be correct more often. Start noticing these patterns when you review your practices! This will help you catch mistakes before they happen next time.

Hope this helps! Everyone's different in terms of the strategies that work for them, so it's really a matter of trying things out until you find what you're comfortable with :)
 
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