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CARS Advice?

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BE6

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I have noticed that throughout my practice exams and the CARS section banks on the AAMC portal I have difficulties on the passages under the categories literature, art history, and philosophy. I feel like it is because of the language use, but does anyone have tips on how I can improve this? or how to get through the older language used?
 

GreenDuck12

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I would recommend an annotation strategy where you note changes in the argument and evidence being presented. Usually art, history, and philosophy passages are adapted from the center sections of larger published works. They do this so we may not have a thesis to work off of and instead have to track changes in the argument and evidence or lack thereof for claims.
 
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ThePotatoDoctor

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Something that may help is to regroup after each paragraph you read. In general, you are looking for a big, underlying message that the author attempts to convey. Try to simplify each paragraph by stopping, jotting down the main points of the paragraph, and moving on. Then you can synthesize all the paragraphs into a more comprehensive understanding. That's one strategy for passages that are more difficult to grasp or get interested in.
 
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JimKimSlim

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In my case, as long as I got the whole picture, I did fine, except on art history passages. They would ask you some obscure details from the passage, where you have to be just good at remembering sentences. I found it helpful to chunk the passage by paragraph and create a mental flowchart to retain details.
 
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MissRibeye

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So far I happen to be really good at CARS, and it's probably because I was a philosophy major. I've thought a lot about this and I'm still working on my own thesis for what makes a successful CARS test-taker and therefore what would be a good training strategy, and the best thing I've come up with so far is being trained to identify and create good and bad arguments. I think that's all it takes. I'm still working on it though!

I think that if you know how to write a good argument, then you will know how to quickly spot what the author is trying to say, what they are using to support it and see where their points are strong or where they are weak. I think everything else should follow from there.

I wonder if simply analyzing passages very slowly and meticulously to build these arguments over and over again would help far more than just doing tons of CARS passages using these little hacky techniques. On the same token, perhaps it would help to write your own arguments and have someone who is more skilled critique them to help you get better and better at making them. Hire a philosophy grad or a recent LSAT test taker (I've heard that physics and philosophy majors do the best on the LSAT)! :D

Just an idea!
 
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BE6

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So far I happen to be really good at CARS, and it's probably because I was a philosophy major. I've thought a lot about this and I'm still working on my own thesis for what makes a successful CARS test-taker and therefore what would be a good training strategy, and the best thing I've come up with so far is being trained to identify and create good and bad arguments. I think that's all it takes. I'm still working on it though!

I think that if you know how to write a good argument, then you will know how to quickly spot what the author is trying to say, what they are using to support it and see where their points are strong or where they are weak. I think everything else should follow from there.

I wonder if simply analyzing passages very slowly and meticulously to build these arguments over and over again would help far more than just doing tons of CARS passages using these little hacky techniques. On the same token, perhaps it would help to write your own arguments and have someone who is more skilled critique them to help you get better and better at making them. Hire a philosophy grad or a recent LSAT test taker (I've heard that physics and philosophy majors do the best on the LSAT)! :D

Just an idea!

Thank you so much for the advice! I will definitely take note of this as it seems like it could be extremely useful in trying to improve these particular passages.
 

BE6

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In my case, as long as I got the whole picture, I did fine, except on art history passages. They would ask you some obscure details from the passage, where you have to be just good at remembering sentences. I found it helpful to chunk the passage by paragraph and create a mental flowchart to retain details.
Yes I definitely felt like it was more of the targeted "what does this phrase/sentence mean" questions that took longer to analyze.
 
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