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Hi guys, I know this topic has been discussed alot but I really don't know what to do anymore. I'm a slow reader I always run out of time in most passages and when I skim some of it, I end up messing up and not doing well. It usually takes me about 10-12 min per passage to get a decent score which is alot. It's even worse with CARS cuz I spend the same amount of time but do worse. I read the passage in abt 3-4min highlighting the important terms and write few notes on paper. I tried not doing that but I ended up scoring 1/6 and 2/6 cuz I don't fully understand what's going on. I was thinking of leaving a whole passage on the real thing up to guessing. Do you guys have any suggestions for me? I would really appreciate it.
 
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It's even worse with CARS cuz I spend the same amount of time but do worse. I read the passage in abt 3-4min highlighting the important terms and write few notes on paper.

I'm probably the wrong person to ask because I was only ever ok at CARS (consistently scored 127 on practice and real, though tbh I never actually bothered to practice for CARS). But you should only be highlighting parts of the passage that tie to the author's argument, and counter-arguments. These sentences usually contain transition words.
Be sure to also highlight practically anything that is in parentheses or quotations. As far as I know, 3-4 minutes for reading a CARs passage is totally fine.

I also found it helpful to highlight the stems in the questions, so I knew what to look for when referencing back. I didn't write down anything during CARS, in order to save time.

Lastly, when you highlight, don't highlight whole blocks of text. Do your best to separate out the highlights so you will not be confused.
 
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I'm probably the wrong person to ask because I was only ever ok at CARS (consistently scored 127 on practice and real, though tbh I never actually bothered to practice for CARS). But you should only be highlighting parts of the passage that tie to the author's argument, and counter-arguments. These sentences usually contain transition words.
Be sure to also highlight practically anything that is in parentheses or quotations. As far as I know, 3-4 minutes for reading a CARs passage is totally fine.

I also found it helpful to highlight the stems in the questions, so I knew what to look for when referencing back. I didn't write down anything during CARS, in order to save time.

Lastly, when you highlight, don't highlight whole blocks of text. Do your best to separate out the highlights so you will not be confused.
Thank you so much! one more question, how do you deal with science passages that have alot of genes, many letters and names? should I highlight all of them? cuz I feel like with science passages everything is connected and each gene or enzyme has a function that affects other genes and enzymes. I get so overwhelmed trying to understand what's going on and run out of time eventually. :(
 
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Thank you so much! one more question, how do you deal with science passages that have alot of genes, many letters and names? should I highlight all of them? cuz I feel like with science passages everything is connected and each gene or enzyme has a function that affects other genes and enzymes. I get so overwhelmed trying to understand what's going on and run out of time eventually. :(

For CARS, I never wrote anything down, but sometimes for science passages, it was helpful to write out the order of the enzymes/genes.
Science passages get wonky, but questions will revolve mostly around familiar terms or those enzyme/gene functions. I strongly recommend doing UWORLD Bio and biochem passage practice.
 
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For CARS, I never wrote anything down, but sometimes for science passages, it was helpful to write out the order of the enzymes/genes.
Science passages get wonky, but questions will revolve mostly around familiar terms or those enzyme/gene functions. I strongly recommend doing UWORLD Bio and biochem passage practice.
Gotcha..Thank you! Will do
 
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Thank you so much! one more question, how do you deal with science passages that have alot of genes, many letters and names? should I highlight all of them? cuz I feel like with science passages everything is connected and each gene or enzyme has a function that affects other genes and enzymes. I get so overwhelmed trying to understand what's going on and run out of time eventually. :(

Just to chime in here, for science passages with a ton of unfamiliar acronyms, one thing that can be helpful is to highlight what's *familiar* to you instead of highlighting every *unfamiliar* gene name, etc. This is because MCAT questions tend to be written about content that you know from your MCAT studying, not about random new things. Of course, it's possible that questions will ask about new genes in a completely passage-based way, but that's relatively rare. It's way more common for them to be using all of these acronyms to try to intimidate you and then ask about content that you *do* understand.

For example, if you see a passage that's full of terms like "caspase-3" and "MAPK-ERK pathway," highlighting those terms won't be very helpful, because (at least from your MCAT studying alone) you don't know anything about them. But if they mention that one of these enzymes or pathways *phosphorylates* something, highlight "phosphorylates," because we *are* familiar with that, and they could easily ask about it (for example, in the context of which amino acid on another protein might be likely to be phosphorylated).

Similarly, a lot of long unfamiliar enzyme names contain familiar parts, even if we have no clue what the enzyme does overall. For example, take something like [histone H3]-lysine(4) N-trimethyltransferase. A passage full of terms like this would be super intimidating, but in reality we're already familiar with histones, lysine, and (maybe) the general function of a transferase, which lets us infer more than enough about this enzyme's function. Again, I wouldn't recommend highlighting the whole thing, but you could definitely highlight "histone" and "lysine" (the MCAT takes practically every opportunity to ask about amino acids, so seeing an amino acid in a protein name is a great warning sign).

Good luck :)
 
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jhmmd

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Hi guys, I know this topic has been discussed alot but I really don't know what to do anymore. I'm a slow reader I always run out of time in most passages and when I skim some of it, I end up messing up and not doing well. It usually takes me about 10-12 min per passage to get a decent score which is alot. It's even worse with CARS cuz I spend the same amount of time but do worse. I read the passage in abt 3-4min highlighting the important terms and write few notes on paper. I tried not doing that but I ended up scoring 1/6 and 2/6 cuz I don't fully understand what's going on. I was thinking of leaving a whole passage on the real thing up to guessing. Do you guys have any suggestions for me? I would really appreciate it.
The best thing you can do to avoid running out of time on passages is READ READ READ more, and keep checking the clock/pace yourself. Some good things to read that will improve your vocabulary at the same time include The Atlantic, The Economist, etc. etc.

Good luck.
 
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Just to chime in here, for science passages with a ton of unfamiliar acronyms, one thing that can be helpful is to highlight what's *familiar* to you instead of highlighting every *unfamiliar* gene name, etc. This is because MCAT questions tend to be written about content that you know from your MCAT studying, not about random new things. Of course, it's possible that questions will ask about new genes in a completely passage-based way, but that's relatively rare. It's way more common for them to be using all of these acronyms to try to intimidate you and then ask about content that you *do* understand.

For example, if you see a passage that's full of terms like "caspase-3" and "MAPK-ERK pathway," highlighting those terms won't be very helpful, because (at least from your MCAT studying alone) you don't know anything about them. But if they mention that one of these enzymes or pathways *phosphorylates* something, highlight "phosphorylates," because we *are* familiar with that, and they could easily ask about it (for example, in the context of which amino acid on another protein might be likely to be phosphorylated).

Similarly, a lot of long unfamiliar enzyme names contain familiar parts, even if we have no clue what the enzyme does overall. For example, take something like [histone H3]-lysine(4) N-trimethyltransferase. A passage full of terms like this would be super intimidating, but in reality we're already familiar with histones, lysine, and (maybe) the general function of a transferase, which lets us infer more than enough about this enzyme's function. Again, I wouldn't recommend highlighting the whole thing, but you could definitely highlight "histone" and "lysine" (the MCAT takes practically every opportunity to ask about amino acids, so seeing an amino acid in a protein name is a great warning sign).

Good luck :)
That was really helpful! Thank you!
 
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The best thing you can do to avoid running out of time on passages is READ READ READ more, and keep checking the clock/pace yourself. Some good things to read that will improve your vocabulary at the same time include The Atlantic, The Economist, etc. etc.

Good luck.
Yes I'll try to read more in my free time. Thank you!
 
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jhmmd

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I'm probably the wrong person to ask because I was only ever ok at CARS (consistently scored 127 on practice and real, though tbh I never actually bothered to practice for CARS). But you should only be highlighting parts of the passage that tie to the author's argument, and counter-arguments. These sentences usually contain transition words.
Be sure to also highlight practically anything that is in parentheses or quotations. As far as I know, 3-4 minutes for reading a CARs passage is totally fine.

I also found it helpful to highlight the stems in the questions, so I knew what to look for when referencing back. I didn't write down anything during CARS, in order to save time.

Lastly, when you highlight, don't highlight whole blocks of text. Do your best to separate out the highlights so you will not be confused.
Remember that the MCAT is produced by the same people that make the LSAT. @QofQuinca talks about this a lot in her posts in this forum. The crux of most of the LSAT is a process called "parallel the reasoning." As you can imagine, this involves a lot of symbolism and critical thinking.

I disagree that the thesis/antithesis usually involves transition words--more specifically, transition words like "finally," "in conclusion," and "lastly," as well as "first," "to begin with," etc. etc.

Try to highlight as little as possible. Personally I'm still working on this, but if you end up highlighting practically the whole passage that is not going to serve you well.

At my undergrad we had to take a critical thinking test (purely critical thinking) as part of the graduation requirements. I had never heard of such a thing, but then again it helped polish my skills. Maybe try looking for something like this online.
 
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At my undergrad we had to take a critical thinking test (purely critical thinking) as part of the graduation requirements. I had never heard of such a thing, but then again it helped polish my skills. Maybe try looking for something like this online.
Wow that's a good idea, I'll look more into it. Thanks :)
 
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MDToBe1989

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Thank you so much! one more question, how do you deal with science passages that have alot of genes, many letters and names? should I highlight all of them? cuz I feel like with science passages everything is connected and each gene or enzyme has a function that affects other genes and enzymes. I get so overwhelmed trying to understand what's going on and run out of time eventually. :(


I tried to write out the steps in sequences so that the process made sense to me and this made it easier for me to understand what was doing what and when as well as the effect it had in the grand scheme of things, e.g. A phosphorylates B in the presence of C creating product D and causing X effect. This helped me answer questions as well since I knew where everything fit in and what it did so I could go back to my mini flowchart if needed when I got stuck on an acronym in a question - they love to do that to throw you off!
 
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I tried to write out the steps in sequences so that the process made sense to me and this made it easier for me to understand what was doing what and when as well as the effect it had in the grand scheme of things, e.g. A phosphorylates B in the presence of C creating product D and causing X effect. This helped me answer questions as well since I knew where everything fit in and what it did so I could go back to my mini flowchart if needed when I got stuck on an acronym in a question - they love to do that to throw you off!
Yess, this is exactly what I should be doing! thank youuu :)
 
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