acetylmandarin

2+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2014
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I just took AAMC FL 1 yesterday, and ended up with a 123 in the CARS section. My exam froze during the second passage, and that set me off. As soon as I reopened the exam again, I started mentally flipping out because I thought my timing was all messed up. I felt like I needed to reread the second passage again (I was in the middle of reading this passage when my exam froze), and then I raced as quickly as possible through every subsequent passage, thinking that I'd have time to go back and redo the second passage again. I'm pretty sure I can score higher in this section, but I tend to get extremely stressed out (I'm sure this happens to many others), and I need to figure out how to reduce this for test day. I think just calming down and focusing for this section can get anyone at least a 126, probably.

For some reason, I feel like I need to get really focused when doing this section. I put my face up as close as I can to the screen, with my hand in my hair, directing every ounce of my brainpower into the words on the screen. This results in my back hurting a lot due to bad seating posture as I try and engross myself deeply into what I'm reading. haha, maybe I should try to be less intense, and that would help.
 
Aug 11, 2017
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Medical Student
From my testing experience, I ran into stress when I had to rush during the B/B section and when the psych/soc section was more difficult than I expected. What I did was take a few deep breaths and remind myself that I needed to relax. You've done all you could to prepare and just go with the flow. If you hit difficult passages and questions, pick the best answer, mark it, and just move on - you want to get the easy questions that come after those correct. When you get into that relaxed mentality, you actually perform better.
 
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Ninefingers

c/o 2022!
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Oct 10, 2016
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This is how I went from ~127-128 on CARS to ~130-132 on CARS: reading aloud and not highlighting anything. Nothing. If you have a lot of CARS resources, try reading the passage once aloud (whisper) without highlighting and then answer the questions without referring to the text. Get a feel for what questions are asking, and you'll notice it's rarely about minutia in the passage. Then, after a while you can start highlighting in passages for "big" words that indicate changes in ideas/tone/whatever.
 
Aug 17, 2017
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Practice as much as possible for the test day. I was really nervous and I thought I was going to be a train wreck during the exam. But I did so much practice, that I settled down after about 10 minutes as the training kicked in. I found that meditation really helped me relieve stress in the weeks leading up to the test. 10 minutes of breathing exercises a day do wonders.
 

Ad2b

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Nov 3, 2014
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Acetyl - with me? Have you ever tried grounding techniques? You have enough time between now and the exam to get in the habit.

Here it is:

name 5 things, right now, you can see. If you're alone, you can say them out loud but if not, I might suggest you do that in your head :lol:

name 4 things you can touch - again, if you're alone that's awesome but if in public, perhaps not saying what you can touch is better

name 3 things you can hear

name 2 things you can smell

name 1 thing you can taste

If you get to the midst of that and start stressing, start over. Really focus on the number and task at hand. It sounds really stupid (and might be for many) but for me, it helps.
 
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