2+ Year Member
May 28, 2016
What am I doing wrong? I've been consistently practicing 1-2 CARS passages a day (from TBR, Khan Academy, etc), followed by a TBR diagnostic (53questions/90 minutes timed) every weekend (currently just finished the 3rd of of the 9 I have in the book). I had a promising start with a 38/53 for my first diagnostic which comes to a 71%, which I thought was pretty good for my first time. Now it's consistently dropped with my 2nd and 3rd diagnostic tests with a 35/53 and now a 32/53, which has been pretty demoralizing.

I consider myself a pretty good reader (have read for fun since childhood), and I don't think the issue is my reading speed since I can read a passage super fast. I do think there is a correlation with how "interesting" the passage is with my performance on it - I tend to do absolutely s***ty on passages that are verbose and make little to no sense to me.

I was planning on spending the next 6 weeks doing the last 6 diagnostic tests I have, before starting on the AAMC question packs, and subsequently the FL's before my January test. But the downward trend in my CARS performance has me really worried, and I don't really know how to address it. I wanted to have a good baseline in my CARS performance before going to the Q-packs, but it seems that whatever I'm doing is working. I don't know whether it's because TBR is hard as hell or whether I just suck at this.

TLDR: Does anyone have any advice/tips for strategies that have shown consistent improvement in CARS? It seems I do have an issue with tackling boring or the "what the heck did I just read" passages, as well as getting stuck with two answers choices.

Oct 22, 2012
1. Maybe after the first test, you stopped treating your practice exams seriously, and you got little bit ballsy (it happens to me).
2. Reading passages quickly is not the key to succeed in CARS. Anyone can finish reading MCAT passages in 3-4 minutes with practice.
3. From what I understand from your post, you don't emphasize reviewing your CARS questions and why you answered incorrectly. This is really important thing to do.

Check out test solution guide. I'm trying it right now and it helped me a lot.