Testing Solutions' 30 Day Guide to MCAT CARS Success

Discussion in 'Testing Solutions, LLC' started by TestingSolutions, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    @LoveBeingHuman - We try our best here at Testing Solutions not to fling mud or speak ill of anyone so I don't want to disparage any particular resource. With that said, out of the available resources, the Next Step CARS 108 book is not a resource we recommend. I think they've done a better job on their practice tests, but the 108 book is something that still needs some work. We've put together a review of available resources here: Obviously, we're biased as we're a test prep company, so I'd recommend you do a search on SDN for a more neutral opinion and also take a look at the Amazon.com reviews.

    Best of luck!
     
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  3. michigandr

    michigandr

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    @TestingSolutions

    Hi Testing Solutions!

    I am seeing excellent results from using your CARS prep materials. I have greatly improved upon my timing. Do you have any timing strategies for the other sections of the MCAT? I am specifically struggling with timing in C/P. Thank you, in advance, for any guidance that you might be able to share. And, thank you for making the best CARS guide on the market.

    Elizabeth
     
  4. LoveBeingHuman:)

    LoveBeingHuman:)

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    @TestingSolutions

    I apologize if you felt as if I was trying to demean them. That was not my intention. I believe that bringing up specific weaknesses of a company's product is perfectly ok if it is done in a polite and respectful manner. Having said that, do you mind telling us what you specifically thought needs work on the 108 Cars book for Next Step so that anyone reading this can take those points into consideration while buying and/or using the book (or at the very least comment on my assessment of their resource)?
     
  5. Thoroughbred_Med

    Thoroughbred_Med 2+ Year Member

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    Just trying to save him some time in replies. He answered this on the previous page :)
     
    michigandr likes this.
  6. mikeman1994

    mikeman1994

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    Hi @TestingSolutions

    Thanks for getting back to me.

    What I have been noticing for the past 3-4 weeks while trying to work on the CARS section, even if I do not 100% grasp the passage, I keep pushing through. I feel like my motivation dropped, and I feel so worn out. Along with that my anxiety is really high and my PCP might put me on SSRIs soon if I'm still down. I scheduled my MCAT on 4/28/2017 and I feel the day is coming up very fast and I am not sure if I will be ready. I think I am having trouble focusing in the beginning of all sections, but I will try your 15 second pause in the start. This is my second time taking the MCAT and I know I have to improve my score.

    I bought your practice passages, and I just completed T1 and I ended up with 19/53 correct which is less than I usually get. I tried the Princeton Review CARS and the Exam Krackers CARS 2nd edition and I'm usually around 27-30 correct. Those are still not very good and I still have to improve my score.

    I will be taking T2 in a couple days and I will see what happens.

    Thanks again
     
  7. mikeman1994

    mikeman1994

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    Hi @TestingSolutions

    So I completed Test 2 and got 22/53 correct which improved by 3 points from T1. I'm happy from that standpoint. However, T2 was also difficult and I rushed through the last 4 questions because I spent more time on a few others earlier on. At the same time, I got the last 4 questions correct. I felt that passage was the easiest. As long as I keep seeing improvements, I am satisfied.

    Thanks again
     
  8. aurevoir0711

    aurevoir0711 2+ Year Member

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    @TestingSolutions

    Thank you for getting back to me. I have some updates to share.

    First of all, you mentioned if my vocab level is adequate. I know that there are definitely a couple of vocabs that I do not know even though I may have seen them in previous English classes. I have been keeping track of all the words that I do not know (usually around 2-3 per passage, sometimes none, sometimes around 5, it really depends on the complexity of the passage) in the Excel spreadsheet and have studied the ones that I think are more commonly used. Usually, vocab is not an issue unless the answer choice has one word that I do not know, which has happened a few times, but not enough for me to think that there is a red flag.

    I started perusing the sentences more carefully instead of flying through passages. This has helped me greatly with actually comprehending the passages. I feel more confident about what the author is trying to say, despite the passage complexity. Of course, there are some odd ball passages that I just cannot understand what the heck the author is trying to say in 10 minutes (or 12 minutes for 7 question passages). When that happens, I reset the timer and read the passage for the second time, and that definitely allows me to comprehend the passage much more in depth. I think comprehension will definitely improve as I am doing more passages, even with blunt practices.

    Even though my comprehension level has gone up, there's a definite issue with timing. I have been timing myself with what is recommended in the TS book - 30 seconds to be more prepared. I almost never finish in time, and usually go over 2-3 minutes per passage. Main reason why I keep going over time is because I keep looking back at the passage to figure out what the question is referring to or comprehend something that I did not catch in the first place. Is there any tips on fixing this issue?

    Also, one thing I have noticed on most passages is that even though I may have a good grasp of what the passage is about, the questions can be extremely difficult to figure out. This happens due to either not catching the relevant details/information that's in the passage itself or not being able to extrapolate outside the passage to answer the question. Another thing I noticed is that, usually the passages that are easier to read have very challenging questions that rely on subtle difference like catching the tone, figuring out the assumptions, inference questions, and so on.

    I have been doing EK VR 101 passages and my score has been flattened around 50~60% now. My scores do fluctuate a lot, and I attribute this to not being able to answer the questions properly. I am trying to do at least 3 passages a day, sometimes 5-6 passages a day when I have time. I have taken 2 full lengths from Next Step, and timing on CARS was very difficult to meet. On both the first and second exams, I could not finish in time, so I guessed on two questions at the end. However, my pacing was much more consistent in the second exam compared to the first one.

    Lastly, I have seen many people recommending EK's spectrum method to improve CARS score. What's your opinion on this strategy? This method does involve writing down some notes, so I am assuming you wouldn't regard this strategy highly.

    I think my main issue is catching the tone and firmly grasping the main idea of the passage, so that I can apply them in solving the questions. Also, I need better a tactic at tackling the question as I am very inconsistent with answering questions, both timing wise (I can answer some questions under 20 seconds, some take longer than 2 minutes) and accuracy wise. Your recommendation as how I should approach these issues would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.

    Update 4/12/17
    I did 3 passages of TPRH Verbal book as usual. And got only 2 wrongs per passage resulting in a whooping 71%. This is the first time I got above a 70%. I had very difficult times with some of these passages, so I was so shocked to see such a high score (from my perspective). One thing I definitely noticed is that the slower I read, the more my mind becomes fixated on the passage, hindering my performance on answering the questions. Also, going slower does not guarantee retention of information either. I am not saying that speedreading is the way to go, but taking a turtle stance is not going to do much help either. Also, consistency is definitely the key. There were a day or two that I skipped doing CARS entirely and my average score dipped below a 50% again because my mind somehow got out of CARS mode. Is this pretty typical?

    Update 4/13/17
    Another 70% for 3 passages! I am not sure how my score went up all of sudden. My passage comprehension remains about the same and there are certain passages that are bizzare and hard to comprehend. I think I may have improved in the process of elimination somehow. It's too early to tell, but I definitely do not mind this sudden score increase.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  9. Twilson016

    Twilson016 2+ Year Member

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    @TestingSolutions

    I recently purchased your pdf and all of the practice CARS tests. My test date is 6/17 and I'm stuck at around 124-125. Do you happen to have a plan laid out of what to do to condense the program from 90 days to 60 days? Is it possible to get a 127+ with this much time left? I appreciate all your help. Thanks!
     
  10. mattns

    mattns 2+ Year Member

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    Hey @TestingSolutions bought your TS bundle and i've been following your CARS guide for a while. TS is the only CARS resource I seem to show improvement on. Initially, i'd get 1-2 questions correct (seriously questioned my intelligence). Now I'm consistently getting all/most of them right. I'm writing my exam June 17 and didn't want to fly through all the passages, so i've also purchased EK CARS101. I find that I usually get 4-5/7 on these, and i never seem to show any improvement on them. I also have been doing the NextStep FLs and I consistently get demolished on their CARS sections as well (126-127).

    Amount a month ago I scored 77% on the CARS section of the AAMC sample test (saving the scored FLs for closer to my exam)

    I'm just wondering if you have any suggestions as to how I might bring myself to improve on EK?

    For TS CARS I almost never go back to the passage to answer questions, which i really like because I end up finishing on time, often with extra time in the bank. But sometimes it seems necessary to go back to the passage with EK, as some of their questions can be very detail oriented. I've been trying everything, form narrating the author's voice in my head, to r/o the wrong answers.
     
  11. Thoroughbred_Med

    Thoroughbred_Med 2+ Year Member

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    I am certainly not TS, but I won't be the first to tell you that the new EK 101 CARS has flaws, even more than its previous 101 Verbal edition I would argue. I think 4/5 out of 7 on their passages is pretty good, considering their wildly-stretched inference questions. The logic in their inference questions seem to stretch much further than AAMC's.
    I wouldn't worry too much about it. Definitely don't change what you're doing or anything. Maybe consider switching to another more established resource like TPRH Verbal?
     
  12. mattns

    mattns 2+ Year Member

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    Unfortunately I did TPRH already. But I'm finding that i do better on EK if i look back to the passage sometimes, so maybe i'll just keep with that strategy.
     
  13. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    @michigandr - I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I have not struck a good balance between being on here and passing my exams :) Thank you for your patience. Also, thank you for your kind words regarding our materials! In terms of the other sections, while I don't want to stray too far from my expertise, I think a general principle that is true for all of the MCAT is that you don't have to get all of the questions right to get an excellent score. One of the easiest ways to improve on the MCAT is to practice letting go of the really hard questions. I think many students are hyper vigilant to not miss any points and they end up wasting a lot of time on questions they're probably going to get wrong any ways, leaving them less time for the easier questions they might have gotten right if they had the time. You really shouldn't spend more than 2 to 3 minutes on any one question on your first pass through the section. Mark the hard questions and come back later. This approach provides two benefits: A) You'll spend most of your time on questions you've got the best chance to get right and B) When you come back to the harder questions later, it's possible on a second look you'll see something you didn't before and get the question right.

    Best of luck on your MCAT and please keep us in the loop!
     
  14. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    @LoveBeingHuman:) - Not at all! You are right on point. I think it's really good to highlight the strengthens and weaknesses of different materials. I don't think it's a bad book, but I think the passages aren't really of the MCAT flavor and that they tend towards more dense content. We do that too in our tests, but I think it's even more pronounced in theirs. I think the questions are better, but because the passages aren't quite there, it isn't a perfect mirror of the MCAT experience. Overall, it's not that the NextStep passages are bad, I think it's just that with the other resources out there that are better, it's not the place I would start.

    Here are a few comments from Amazon.com users:

    "I have mixed feeling about this book. Overall I think it's very worth the price BUT it definitely has some disadvantages. The most important advantage to me is that this book has complex, dense passages. I feel that they are a bit harder then the passages I ran into in the AAMC practice test. If you can learn to soak up all the information in these passages I think this book is worth well above the asking price. The answers are sometimes a little vague though as others have stated in the other reviews. Additionally, one could argue the selected answer is incorrect for many of the questions. Still, I think these passages help you develop a certain forward-looking perspective while reading that allows you to form implications. It also teaches you to keep outside information/biases from affecting your answer choice and how to use the given information appropriately WITHOUT making overreaching statements/answer choices. I have not tried any other companies CARS yet but will update this in the future when I do."

    ...

    "Passages are decently challenging, but many do not necessarily resemble MCAT passages. Questions are fair in general, but some try way too hard to trick you. Some answers are farfetched while others are just flat out wrong. The book gives cheap and vague 1 line explanations to answers that often times make no sense whatsoever. When reading these explanations, you can sense the author's laziness and his eagerness to finish it, and quickly publish it for $. Their tutor phone number and website is stamped on every single page without a fail even on blank pages. In general, this book is okay for light practice, but nothing more."

    ..

    "I finished the first round of passages and I am extremely disappointed by this book. There are NUMEROUS errors throughout. For example: it will ask you to look for a keyword in paragraph 2 and describe it using contextual clues. Well, that would be doable if the word were actually present in the passage. Further, the explanations are extremely poor and vague. Essentially, you cannot learn from your mistakes.

    I wish Kaplan would create a practice book, such as this, because while the idea is great, Schnedeker's quality is miserable.

    I don't care how brilliant this author is. If he doesn't have the decency to proofread his book or hire someone proficient enough to do it for him, he isn't worth is salt in producing further publications."


    Best of luck on your MCAT!
     
  15. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    Thank you!!
     
  16. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    @mikeman1994 - I'm really sorry I wasn't able to respond before 4/28. How did things turn out/ what did you decide to do? Best of luck!
     
  17. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    @Twilson016 - Sorry for the slow response. Medical school isn't as easy as I was hoping :) We don't have a particular plan laid out, but I would recommend reading the first 10 days of the guide and make sure that you're consistently doing passages each day. I'd also recommend adding one or two passages on top of our normal daily recommendation to accelerate your progress. Best of luck and keep us in the loop!
     
  18. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    @mattns - This is a tough question, but I think it ultimately comes down to the fact that the only company that perfectly mimics the CARS is the AAMC. Everyone else is just offering you their estimate of the CARS. I think we've done a pretty good job of capturing the CARS flavor and most people agree, but we're not perfect and neither is EK or any of the other companies. I wouldn't worry too much about your particular scores on EK, but instead would focus on the AAMC question packs. How are you doing on those materials? That's the real question. I think the biggest mistake a lot of people make is not getting to the AAMC materials soon enough/ not finishing a thorough review of those passages. The other companies are great practice and it's important, but stressing out about their materials is putting a lot of trust that a 35 out of 53 on an EK test equals a 35 out of 53 on the real thing, which I don't think is true. Best of luck and keep the questions coming!
     
  19. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    I've heard more or less the same. I don't want to disparage any other companies, but I think that is an accurate assessment of their new book.
     
  20. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    My biggest tip for getting your timing under control is to force yourself to not go back to the passage and move on to the next passage when the timer is up. Taking that extra 2 or 3 minutes per passage is not helping you because you simply cannot do that on the real test. You're developing bad habits now that are going to be really hard to undo in the future. When your times up, it's up and you miss the questions you didn't get to. Force yourself to move on. Even if you cry, make yourself :) If you experience that negative feeling a few times in a row, I guarantee you'll speed up and before long, you'll only need the time you have for that passage.

    As to EK's spectrum method, I think it's impractical to try and do that while you're taking the actual test. It's not a bad way to review passages and it might not even be a terrible idea for the one or two really difficult passages you encounter on test day, but overall, CARS is a test of timing more than anything else and the spectrum method just takes too much time.

    I think consistent CARS practice is essential so in that regard yes I think it is typical. The CARS is a very weird section unlike any other tests we encounter in normal academic life. If you practice regularly and sufficiently review what you miss, it's very hard over time not to improve. The gains are gradual, but they do come. Just force yourself to keep pushing yourself on the timing front and when the timer goes off, time to move on. Best of luck and keep the questions coming!
     
  21. mikeman1994

    mikeman1994

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    Hi @TestingSolutions

    Not a problem. You must be busy 24/7 and barely have time to breath.
    Anyways, I rescheduled for 6/16/2017 because I have not been getting consistent results. In some CARS passages, I would have 90% correct and with others I would have 20%. The other sections are improving and climbing.

    I took a week off from hardcore studying and completed a research internship to sort of clear my mind. I'm back to the grind now.
    I'm thinking of restarting your 30 day plan again to get back in the pace of things. I'll keep taking full lengths each week - that's the plan at least. I'll be doing a lot more practice problems no matter what. I just need to figure out a plan, because I am working full time again.

    Thanks
     
  22. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    @mikeman1994 - Are you noticing if your scores are changing dramatically between different companies resources or all with the same company. I'd recommend doing a 4 or 5 AAMC passages and see where you're at. Those are going to be your best measure of where you're truly at. I think you made the right move pushing back your test. The #1 mistake people make on the MCAT is taking it when they aren't ready to take it. If I were you, I'd focus on:

    Day 3 – Reviewing/ Timing
    Day 11 – CARS Question Types: The Main Idea
    Day 29 – Putting it All Together: How to Review an Entire CARS Practice Test

    Is your timing okay? If it is, then make sure you're doing a full review of at least one or two passages that killed you that day. If your timing isn't, I'd wait on the full review approach until you've been able to gain more practice.

    Best of luck and please keep us updated on your progress!
     
  23. mikeman1994

    mikeman1994

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    Hi @TestingSolutions

    I noticed my scores vary with same company. I have EK verbal books and PR verbal books as well. I am taking a Kaplan class, so I have access to their exams. The Kaplan CARS section is always all over the place - some days are good, and some days are bad. I have been getting somewhat more consistent results with EK and PR - scoring between 40%-55% correct.

    I will try the AAMC passages and see where I stand. I just have to get back into the studying mood first and then go for it.

    My timing was pretty good, and sometimes I would have 3-4 minutes left over by the end of the CARS section. I am not sure how my timing stands now, because I had one week off of intense studying.

    Thanks again
     
  24. mattns

    mattns 2+ Year Member

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    Hey thanks for the reply. Yeah i've liked your material, and i'll write a review on amazon when i finish my exam. I've actually since upped my EK score a bit. I found that if i write 2-3 words that cue me to remember the main idea of each paragraph, i tend to score higher. I'm going to start the AAMC material in a week or two, so i can do it before my exam, but still have time to go over it thoroughly. thanks again
     
  25. GrandTourer

    GrandTourer

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    Hi @TestingSolutions

    This 30-day guide has been fantastic and so helpful for me in terms of learning how to actually read a CARS passage properly rather than just read it like any other literature.
    So far I've been scoring consistently 1 or 2 questions wrong per passage but some tests I will bomb just one passage (3/7 or 2/6) and that results in what could have been a 127 or 128 into a 126 or 125. Timing isn't really the issue, I feel that I spend the proper 9/10.5/12 minutes without having to rush however, I believe it is more of a comprehension problem and me just getting flustered that I know nothing on the topic and don't seem to grasp it fully. Is there anything you would suggest that might help me avoid this situation?

    Thanks!
     
  26. medstudent0000002

    medstudent0000002

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    Do you suggest retaking a 512 mcat 129/126/127/130 with a 4.0 GPA? I'm not quite sure about the CARS section
     
  27. academy4dawise

    academy4dawise 2+ Year Member

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    Hey Testing Solutions,
    I think I have found CARS success, but how can I maintain a consistent score from here on out? My exam is in 2.5 weeks.

    I have been studying for the MCAT for a year now. Reading comprehension has always been a weakness for me on standardized tests. I came across your 30-day guide in desperation. I have read through the guide so many times, made flashcards, and extensively reviewed CARS passages just like you wanted us to (I still do the Keywords too). I have seen a modest amount of improvement over the months. I started off getting about 28/53 on EK101, TPR, and Testing Solutions. Recently, about 4 weeks ago, I have improved my score on EK101 to 35/53. I am very proud of this score. I feel like EK101 and Testing Solutions were very difficult.

    A couple of weeks ago, I took the AAMC Scored 1 exam. I did very well in physics, but when I got to the CARS section, I was completely burnt out. I could not focus. I was rereading everything. I could not get into the CARS flow. I knew I did bad and received a 34/53 (124). I reviewed a few passages very extensively and realized that these were easy passages. I blamed stamina for my weak score. It was frustrating because I have literally tried everything to improve my score, but I had one last idea. COFFEE. I do not drink caffeine; in fact, I only drink water and Gatorade.

    This weekend (two weeks later), I took AAMC Complete 1. I made a small black coffee with only one scoop of folders. I drank 2 sips before P/S. I felt relaxed and focused. I was pressured on time at the end and adrineline also kicked in. I actually scored a 51/59 to my amazement, my best score yet. I took my 10 min break, ate a sandwich and apple and chugged the rest of the coffee. I was locked and loaded and ready to go.

    I never felt so good about CARS before. I was zooming through each passage. I was even predicting questions as I read the passages. I only got 5 questions wrong!!! (48/53). Completely shocked, but I have been taking so many more difficult practice exams that I have been very pessimistic when it has come to the AAMC practice exams. I have gained all my confidence, but the only thing I am worried about is replicating the same or similar focus on future practice exams and test day. QUESTION 1: Do you have any idea how I can consistently get into the CARS zone? I am taking a practice exam this weekend, and the following weekend, and the real MCAT is the weekend after that. (Question 2: Have you ever heard of a swing in a score from a 34/53 to a 48/53 in the span of 2 weeks? Is this a fluke? No, it can't be a fluke.)

    ALSO, I finally finished CARS with 5 mins to spare. Usually, I finish right on time. The biggest reason for this is because I read the passages very very carefully and even read slower than usual. HOWEVER, I did not overthink the questions. I answered almost every question without referring to the passage and kept moving along. I am very scared that I will NOT do this on test day. I am a perfectionist, and I absolutely hate this quality about myself. I sacrifice time in order to make sure the question is correct. I really want to avoid being "hyper-meticulous" on test day. Question 3: Do you have any advice?

    Question 4: Sorry, I have one last question. I have had a lot of trouble sleeping. I wake up at around 6am and cannot fall back asleep. It has been this way for the last couple of months. I am not stressed out at all. I go to the gym and hang out with my GF almost every day, but I just cannot get 8-9 hours of sleep. One biggest problem is my phone. I am constantly glued to my phone at night and when I wake up in the middle of the night, I just start planning out the rest of my day and cannot fall back to sleep. Sometimes locking my phone in my basement helps so I am not distracted before I fall asleep at night or during the night. Melatonin pills do not help. I also do not drink caffeine.

    Thank you soooooo much for all your help. You do not know how difficult it has been to get to this point. I have taken hard work and sacrifice to a whole other level and TRULY with all my heart want to show to myself that I can overcome this challenge. It has really been a rough and tolling process. I want to be done with this exam once and for all, enjoy my summer, and move along with my life. God bless. God bless.

    PS I love your motivation in each post. It has given me so much optimism and I am FINALLY receiving the results I have worked so hard to obtain.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  28. fmalady

    fmalady

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    Hi Testing Solutions, I was wondering if it's possible to buy t7 and t8 or the t7-t11 bundle? I bought the first bundle on May 21 and didn't realize that your schedule on the guide includes t7 and t8. Please let me know if I can still purchase those. I emailed your company through the website 6 days ago and have not yet received any response so I'm posting here.
     
  29. LoveBeingHuman:)

    LoveBeingHuman:)

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    @TestingSolutions

    I wanted to say that I finished the "application" section of the 30-day guide and I immediately started getting those questions correct with more frequency (I'm still getting some of them wrong but that's what practice is for right!!)

    I just had a quick question: What is your advice on vocabulary on the MCAT? Occasionally, I'll get a question wrong just because a word was the exact opposite of what I thought it meant.
     
  30. returntozion

    returntozion 2+ Year Member

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    @TestingSolutions

    I'm on day 17, and it seems that for some reason this week, my cars score has dropped significantly. It seems that I am still having a difficult time comprehending passages. Reading comprehension has always been a weakness of mine so I have been trying to practice every day by following this 30-day guide. I have gotten the timing day down and today will be the first day I will be using key word review. Any words of wisdom for consistent improvement?
     
  31. Coltuna

    Coltuna

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    I believe this should say Inference instead?
     
  32. szamarri

    szamarri

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    @TestingSolutions

    I recently purchased the bundle and am excited to begin. Test date is 99 days out, which means I want to start the schedule relatively soon, but I had a few important questions before I begin:

    1.) On the very first page of the thread, you list Next Step FL's #1-5 as "required materials" but they are not listed on the actual 90-day schedule. In contrast, on the 90-day schedule, you list EK FL's, however, they are not listed under "required materials". Perhaps I missed something, but could you clarify this discrepancy? Which one is required

    2.) Would it be ok to start the schedule a little earlier than 90 days? (e.g. I would like to start tomorrow at the 98-day out mark, to allow for a little breathing room.)

    3.) Is there a list of the most appropriate passages in EK 101 (pre-2015) and TPRH Verbal given that some are no longer reflective of current MCAT?

    4.) Is it recommended to still cover the science based passages at any point?

    5.) You reviewed and ranked available materials on the first page of the thread. Is it advisable to work through the extra material that not required at any point? (e.g. I have the EK 10th edition and am debating on whether to actually spend time on the "Research and Reasoning Section". I ask b/c since I have not begun your schedule, I'm not sure if I am going to come across contradictory information/strategies?

    6.) Is there a central document that summarizes schedule outside of this thread? Just wondering if there is a more convenient way to reference a daily guide?

    7.) There are multiple handouts/guides on dropbox. When will we reference these handouts? Would it be helpful to print all these out and have them handy?

    Congrats on getting into Stanford and thanks again for sharing your resources!
     
  33. szamarri

    szamarri

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    Apr 8, 2016
    Oakland, CA
  34. Lazy Surgeon

    Lazy Surgeon SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor

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    Mar 20, 2016
    Kingston, Ontario
    Dear @TestingSolutions ,

    I accidentally stumbled upon TS materials last January and I have to say your passages are beyond all the best praises. TS package should be referenced on AAMC web-page as a wonderful resource for MCAT.
    That said, I want to interest would you recommend KhanAcademy passages and what could you say about their hardness, accuracy?

    Best regards,
    Jamil.
     
  35. asdfjkl9999

    asdfjkl9999

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    May 19, 2016
    Quick question! You mention taking 3 long breaths before the start of each passage as well as a 10-15 preview by reading the first sentences of each paragraph..should that be included in 4 min/passage or can we start our individual timer for passage as a whole (i.e. 9, 10.5..) then when we actually start reading the passage, we can start our 4 min/passage timer.
    **still on day 5 of this guide.
     
  36. nkj

    nkj

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    May 7, 2017
    What if I only have 10 weeks? Is there a way to ramp up intensity, or is it best to just accomplish what I can?
     
    szamarri likes this.
  37. inspiringdocter

    inspiringdocter

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    Feb 17, 2016

    Hey,

    I was looking at your application stats. If you dont mind me asking how did you do on your MCAT. Considering you got into DOs but not an MD.
     
  38. yellowstone_mt

    yellowstone_mt

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    Jun 14, 2017
    Do you have any suggestions for how to tackle questions that say "an important comparison is made in the passage between" Is this more of a main idea type question? I am having trouble with these questions in terms of trying to figure out if they want the main idea or a specific comparison. Thanks!
     
  39. C013

    C013

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    Feb 19, 2017
    I am on day 18 and my timing is down, but I am still missing a lot of questions. I am getting around 2-3 questions per passage correct. I am using the EK 101 Verbal book. Any tips on how to improve?

    Thanks
     
    covergirl13 likes this.
  40. Chami

    Chami

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    Feb 18, 2017
    Hi, I have 60 days to the MCAT. How do you recommend condensing this schedule to 60 days? thank you.
     
  41. Llamastan

    Llamastan

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    Jun 28, 2017
    Long time creeper here. First, thank you for posting this guide. It's really helped to break down question/answer types and provided me with a framework to study CARS on top of a full time work schedule.

    Second, I'm a little worried about the TS tests; namely, they seem much harder than any other material I've looked at. I got 96% on the AAMC sample test as a diagnostic and have been getting 127 - 129 on TPR stuff, as well as 80-90 on EK101. However, after 4 TS practice tests, my scores have plummeted to around 70%! Is this normal? People in your "testimonies" have said they that the difficulty in TS approximates the actual MCAT - if so, are we all doomed?
    Thanks again!
     
  42. sh.h

    sh.h

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    Feb 25, 2016
    @TestingSolutions

    hi there
    I purchased the package with 8 CARS tests, last summer ( July 2016). I saw that there is a new package with 6 CARS tests, are these passages different than the ones from last year ? What are the changes made to this new package ?

    Many thanks.
     
  43. covergirl13

    covergirl13

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    Jul 4, 2017
    @C013 i am in the same boat. I have my timing down but I am not getting enough answers correct. I am using EK 101 and also getting around 1-3 questions right per passage it varies. If you get a response before I do, please share your tips!
     
    sh.h likes this.
  44. covergirl13

    covergirl13

    2
    2
    Jul 4, 2017
    @TestingSolutions

    I am on day 18. I have my timing down but I am not getting as many answers correct as I would like. My scores vary but I would say that I am scoring at least half or under half on my passages. Also, in regards to the question stems, it varies as well. It seems like I struggle with all of the stems. It doesn't seem to me that there is a particular stem that I favor. I am using EK 101 for prep. Any recommendations?
     
    sh.h likes this.
  45. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    Jan 7, 2015
    SDN Exhibitor

    @mikeman1994 - How are things going? I think one of the most difficult things about using multiple resources is that it's hard to know what an EK 128 means in terms of a TPR 126 in terms of a Kaplan 129. It's probably not a bad idea to use a variety of resources (assuming you have the time and energy to do so) because everyone that isn't the AAMC (including us) is just giving you their best guess as to what the CARS is like. Now granted, some companies have much better materials than others, but nonetheless, the only place that's going to give you a true representation of where you're at is the AAMC. I wouldn't worry too much about your percentage corrects plus or minus 10% with other materials. Use those materials to practice your timing and strategies. Then, when you get to the place where you're ready to put it all into practice, that's the time to use the AAMC materials to perfect your CARS. I wouldn't pay too much attention to scores until then. Please let us know how things are going! Best, Nick
     
  46. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    SDN Exhibitor
    @mattns - How's it going? I think trying to get to the Main Idea of the passage and maybe even of each paragraph is one of the quickest ways to improve your score. Let us know how your practice is progressing. Best regards, Nick
     
  47. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    Jan 7, 2015
    SDN Exhibitor
    medstudent00000002 - I think that really depends on what schools you're hoping to apply to. Your other sections are pretty good so I think it just depends on what your goals are. You may also run the risk of getting a lower score. What was your goal score going in to the test? Let us know how things are going and if there's any way we can help!
     
  48. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    Jan 7, 2015
    SDN Exhibitor
    @academy4dawise - I'm sorry this is getting to you so late. We've been really short handed at TS and I just wrapped up my 1st year at Stanford and needless to say, medical school is indeed hard :) I've answered your questions below. Let us know how things are going!

    QUESTION 1: Do you have any idea how I can consistently get into the CARS zone?

    I know what you're talking about in terms of the CARS zone. I could just feel on some practice tests that I was going to crush it and that on others I wasn't. Here are my thoughts: 1) The best way to get into this zone is to do a ton of practice passages. While the coffee and food you describe is great, make sure you'll be able to replicate those things during your actual test day or it might not be good to build those into your routine. I think the more you can rely less on outside things and just build up your comfort level and internal stamina for the test the better. 2) Sometimes I was surprised that I did much better on CARS tests than I thought and sometimes when I thought I did great, I didn't. The moral of the story is that your feelings, even if you feel in the CARS zone, may not align with how you're actually doing. I say this because a common thing that happens on the MCAT is that people don't feel great while they're taking it and their spirits flag and then they end up doing much worse because they've already convinced themselves they're not going to do well. My best advice is to not try to get into the CARS zone overall, but instead to focus anew on each question in front of you. How you did on the previous questions doesn't matter. How you're going to do on the next question doesn't matter. All that matters is the question in front of you. If you can keep that mentality, I think you'll be even better off than getting into the CARS zone.


    QUESTION 2
    : Have you ever heard of a swing in a score from a 34/53 to a 48/53 in the span of 2 weeks? Is this a fluke? No, it can't be a fluke.


    While that is a pretty big jump, it's not that big of a jump. Look at it this way, if you had a very bad day on your first test and a very good day on your most recent test and then throw in two weeks more worth of serious practice, no I don't think it's a fluke. With that said, I wouldn't assume that you're just going to walk in and score a 48/53. Keep up the practice and hard work!

    QUESTION 3: I really want to avoid being "hyper-meticulous" on test day. Do you have any advice?

    This is a real toughie for most people. The best advice I can give is to use the clock. Don't go off of feeling go off of how much time you've spent on the question. If you realize you've spent two minutes on a question, it's time to mark that question and come back to it later. That is the single best way to avoid being hyper-vigilant, because as you know, when you let go of one or two super hard questions, you get in return 5 or 6 easy to medium ones. This makes a big difference in score. Use your clock as your guide!

    QUESTION 4: Phone at Night!


    This is a pretty common problem for most people. Here's my advice: 1) Charge your phone in another room besides your bedroom (But wait, how will I get up in the morning? Buy an alarm clock if you have to.) 2) Download one of those blue light filter apps for your computer and phone. (See Article Here) 3) Get a boring book and get up and read that book if you can't sleep. You'll eventually fall back asleep. If you want to feel productive and it doesn't stress you out, grab one of your MCAT prep textbooks and read through a section you find particularly boring. You will fall back asleep.

    Keep up the hard work! You will get there if you keep putting in the energy and time. Let us know if there's anything we can do to help!

    Warmest,
    Nick
     
  49. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    SDN Exhibitor
    @fmalady - Send over an email to [email protected] and we'll see what we can do. Sorry for the confusion! Best of luck on your MCAT!
     
  50. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    @LoveBeingHuman:) - I'm glad to hear you're having some more success with the application questions. Those can be tricky, but as you say, I do agree that that's what practice is for! As to your vocabulary question, I recommend you keep a list of words you don't know. After you finish a practice test and are reviewing the questions and passages, jot down any words you didn't know or even if there's a word that really stumps you during the test, go ahead and take a few seconds and write that word down too. Then afterwards, I'd recommend you make flashcards of these words. For the majority of people, they won't need significant work on their vocabulary to do well on the CARS. For students that learned English as a second language, depending on your background working with complex writings, you may need to invest a little more time on formal vocabulary practice. If you've got some time before your test, the very best way to improve your vocabulary is to read some each and every day. If your test is closer, you may have to resort to doing some more focused flashcard vocabulary lists. Best of luck on your MCAT!!
     
  51. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Gold Donor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    SDN Exhibitor
    Unfortunately, there is no golden key to MCAT CARS success nor is there a way to have "consistent improvement" as you put it. My experience with students has been that usually there are big gains and then dry periods. Then huge gains and then again dry periods. The key is to not get discouraged and realize this is normal. If you are consistently doing passages and reviewing them correct, over time, you will see improvement. It might not all be at once or be at the rate you want, but that's okay. Just keep it up!
     

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