benbeme

7+ Year Member
Oct 1, 2009
14
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Pre-Medical
This is probably been posted in several areas on this forum, but I'm not finding a good thread. I'm preparing for the MCAT and I'm actually feeling decent about my overall preparedness, but I'm having trouble boosting my verbal reasoning/cars score. I'm ESL so I know they 'kind of' take that into consideration, but I think I'm not alone in wanting to still do well despite this. I've talked to other ESL students and it seems this is a common problem which makes sense I suppose. I've tried to just read lots of opinion articles from magazines like the new yorker, time, etc, which I'm hoping is helping, but who knows. There's an abundance of prep material out there and most of it really only offers common-sense approaches. I was really hoping for a program or advice on ways to really learn the patterns (if any?) associated with the VR section. I've used a bit of kaplan, examkracker, princeton for other sections, used the free version of RX4MCAT for just verbal, since I know it's geared towards ESL, but seemed a bit pricey. Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!! And since I'm sure this is an old topic of discussion, a link to a related thread would be awesome.
 

rolliespring

Gin no Samurai
5+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2012
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May 5, 2016
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The best way to improve CARS scores, and reading comprehension in general, is by employing active reading techniques which help comprehension as you read. Many techniques are available and similar ones are in Exam Cracker, Princeton and Kaplan. There are other methods to try as well. An internet search on active reading gives many resources. I suggest you try some new techniques if the usual methods are not helping you progress. But whichever approach you try, practice it many times to improve. Try not getting too much into the double and triple thinking that some methods propose; it can be more confusing than useful.
 

Dagrimsta1

Current Representation of MS-3
5+ Year Member
Sep 14, 2014
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I recommend doing as many passages as possible. Do them timed! You will set your pacing which is 60%. The rest is learning to force yourself to like the material. Every passage is useful, significant, and WILL impact your life. Make sure to take your time a read. I don't recommend notes or highlighting. On the exam I forced myself to enjoy it and I did. But then again idk what I got yet....
 
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benbeme

7+ Year Member
Oct 1, 2009
14
1
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Pre-Medical
Thank you so much for the detailed replies! I think the take-away if PRACTICE:) I guess I feel there's lacking source material for sufficient simulation. I'm trying my best to just read opinion articles etc in the news, but i can't help but feel it will take far too long to significantly improve my score. Anyone have experience with RX4MCAT? I've tried several others with some success but a friend told me about this one and seemed to think it was pretty good. I haven't read much about it on here and just wanted to see if it's worth the hefty price tag? Thanks!
 

premed1234567891011

2+ Year Member
Apr 3, 2016
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Medical Student
A useful exercise I used that helped me score really well on CARS was:
read a ~700 word passage once through in under 4 minutes then write everything you remember from it down.
Once you've wracked your brain for everything you remember, read the passage again in under 4 minutes and add the things you didn't write down the first time through. You can do this a third or fourth time if you feel you're still missing things.
Do this with dozens of passages and it'll help your short term memory a lot so you don't have to refer to the passage to answer the questions during the actual test.
During the real test and most of the practice tests I took I read the passages once through and answered the questions without looking back at the passage. This helped me finish the CARS section without running out of time.
 

cossackdoc

2+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2016
26
32
Status
Pre-Medical
A useful exercise I used that helped me score really well on CARS was:
read a ~700 word passage once through in under 4 minutes then write everything you remember from it down.
Once you've wracked your brain for everything you remember, read the passage again in under 4 minutes and add the things you didn't write down the first time through. You can do this a third or fourth time if you feel you're still missing things.
Do this with dozens of passages and it'll help your short term memory a lot so you don't have to refer to the passage to answer the questions during the actual test.
During the real test and most of the practice tests I took I read the passages once through and answered the questions without looking back at the passage. This helped me finish the CARS section without running out of time.
I'm ESL too; what an interesting idea you have! I will try...