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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 Exhibitor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

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    Jan 7, 2015
    SDN Exhibitor
    @mKmmx - I recommend you just add up the time for the five passages. So if you have two 5 question passages (9min * 2 passages = 18 mins) + two 6 question passages (10.5 min * 2 passages = 21 mins) + one 7 question passage (12 mins) for a total of 41 minutes. You should base the time you give yourself off the number of questions in each passage not just the number of passages. Five 5 question passages require significantly less time than five 7 question passages. Just add up the time and use that. Does that make sense?
     
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  3. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Exhibitor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

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    SDN Exhibitor
    Hey @Heyheyhey_itsa - Unfortunately, CARS practice can be a long slog before you start seeing significant improvements. You have plenty of time before your January. Consistent, well-timed practice adds up. I think if you've been doing only two weeks worth of practice, you're still in the warm-up phase. If you're still getting only half of the questions correct after another four weeks, then I think I'd start to worry that something is off. My recommendations would be 1) do a little bit of practice 6 days a week. That's a lot better than practicing once a week but doing a lot. And 2) Ramping up the number of passages you do each day slowly and gradually over time.

    And that's great about finishing the passages in time. Every victory counts! Slow gains add up over time. You'll get there. Just keep it up!
     
    Heyheyhey_itsa likes this.
  4. MamamLR

    MamamLR 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 3, 2010
    Thanks so much for your time and effort!!

    I’m right now at day 15, and for each passage completed I’ve been doing the keyword review. If I am getting the timing right, can I start reviewing the way you laid out during the last week (day 26-29), or should I wait till the day26 and continue doing keywords review for now?

    Thanks!
     
  5. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Exhibitor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

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    @MamamLR - Thank you for your kind words! I think you're good to move on to the full review if 1) your timing is good (which you say it is) and 2) you feel like you've gotten enough out of the keywords review and you're starting to notice them while you are actually reading the passages when doing them live. If "ands," "buts" and "becauses" aren't jumping out at you like they're covered in neon paint, then I'd continue with the keyword review. If you are noticing them, then I think you're good to move on to the more advanced review techniques that you referenced. (It's okay to skip ahead to those dates and then circle back later). Best of luck on your MCAT!
     
  6. Roudy15

    Roudy15

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    Oct 16, 2017
    I really need help! i cant finish my passage under 4 mins. And i used to get 5/6 or 6/6 on passages but not i'm getting 1/5 1/6 for some reason. It is discouraging me and putting me back on my schedule :( I am on second week of the guide and had to skip 3 days cause of college exams
    ** update falling more behind and thinking of taking all 9 passages at once to be at half the pace
     
  7. Roudy15

    Roudy15

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    Hey! I am no quite sure what you mean by do two passages "individually" do you mean do them separately and not one right after other. like put a stopwatch for 21 mins for 5 and 7 question?
     
  8. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Exhibitor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

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    @Roudy15 - I'm not 100% sure I understand what you're saying. We recommend that you try to finish reading the passage text in under 4 minutes. This is usually possible (although not always). Doing so leaves you with roughly a minute per question which is more than enough time. Have you noticed any patterns as to why you're missing more questions than usual? Do you feel clueless when you're answering them or are you really surprised by the results? Do you feel like you're rushing more than normal?

    As to your second question, there are two ways to time passage blocks. One is to set a timer by adding up all the time for all of the passages you're taking. This allows you to practice pacing. Say you've got to 5 question passages (9 minutes each) and then a 7 question passage (12 minutes). To do them as a group, you'd give yourself 30 total minutes. You'd set the timer for 30 minutes and then do all three passages. To do them "Individually" would mean to set the timer for 9 minutes and do the first passage. When the timer goes off, you set the timer again for 9 minutes and do the second passage. When the timer goes off, you move on to the third passage, setting the timer for 12 minutes. This "individual" approach is useful for building your CARS stamina while also giving you the structure to practice your pacing. We recommend the "individual" timing approach for test takers who have yet to really build a CARS pacing intuition and really struggle to finish tests on time. Timing each passage makes sure you don't fall super far behind while taking multiple passages and it also forces you to have correct pacing. The "group" approach to passage timing is useful because it allows you to better simulate taking multiple passages at once and also allows you to practice the skill of dedicating more time to harder passages while spending less time on the easier ones. This is a more advanced technique so we recommend you wait until your pacing is down before trying it.

    Best of luck!
     
  9. Roudy15

    Roudy15

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    Thank you for writing back so quickly! I guess the first time i started getting such low score was when i failed to sit in a quite place, midway through the passage people started talking and i still went through it and got that awful result, after that it just kept going on. I do feel clueless when i get to the passage and feel like i need to rush when i hear the passage timer going up. But I am also writing at least a line per paragraph which might be making me slower in reading the passage. Usually takes me around 5 or 7 mins on hard ones. I went back and read "how to pace yourself" and saw that you wrote "Do not go back and look at the passage until your timing is down, as most of the questions are not detail oriented" So i plan on doing that tonight.
     
  10. Sheiko

    Sheiko

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    @TestingSolutions

    Suppose you have a question asking you to predict the subject of the following paragraph at the end of a passage. Any suggestions on how to answer such questions?

    I have been reviewing passages as per your instructions, and much to my surprise I have been able to predict the correct answer to questions I get wrong the second time around. How can I translate this into getting the question right the first time? Will it become second nature after enough review?

    Your strategy has been very helpful, thank you for taking the time to post it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  11. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Exhibitor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

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    SDN Exhibitor
    @Roudy15 - I'm terribly sorry! I somehow missed that you had responded. I recommend writing the line per paragraph after you finish the test and are reviewing. I think the writing down eats up too much time you're not likely to use it while answering questions. Writing it after the test though helps you build your summarizing skills which are very useful for doing well on the CARS. And yes, I would recommend you not return to the passage until you are consistently finishing your practice passages on time without having to rush. While you might miss a couple of questions because you can't go back, overall, not rushing through the last couple of passages will yield you more points. And over time, your pacing will level out and you'll get those other questions back anyways. Best of luck!
     
  12. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013 Exhibitor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

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    Jan 7, 2015
    SDN Exhibitor

    @Sheiko - Can you give an example of the question type you're referring to? I've never seen one like that. As to the reviewing instructions, if you do this consistently, it will become second nature. What you're trying to do is predict and observer the patterns that make correct answers correct and incorrect answers incorrect. Over time, and this will likely be very gradually, you'll unconsciously begin to see these things and you'll just identify the correct answer more easily than you did before. Unfortunately, the gains in the CARS section are usually pretty slow. Best of luck and let us know if you have any questions/ how we can help!
     
  13. Roudy15

    Roudy15

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    Oct 16, 2017
     
  14. Roudy15

    Roudy15

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    So I took a break to finish my college, and am coming back to day 15 and i am consistently finishing passages just on time, maybe 15 seconds earlier. However, by my third passage i completely lost what i was reading and missed 5/6 answers. What should i do in such passages? I have noticed loss of concentration or not being able to comprehend what i read at the end of political jargon or philosophy+ politics passage.
    Also, my date is in early April, should i start at day 15 or from the beginning. And which test book do you think is most beneficial for full length tests, and social sciences section.
     
  15. Roudy15

    Roudy15

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    Would you have guide on reading for structure? You said above i shouldnt be annotating as that wouldnt be practical in exam setting, so how do i read it while remembering where the author talks about one claim and where he refutes or brings in different examples to support it two paragraphs later? what key parts should i be highlighting? For now i highlight only the keywords, and first time the name of a person is used in the passage.
     
  16. IceIvee

    IceIvee 2+ Year Member

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    Hello! I've been using your guide and it's been really helpful. I really enjoyed the break down of the wrong answers and how to look out for them. I've improved from 50% to mid 70% correct after doing about 80 - 90 passages. I still have 4 months until doomsday for me to improve even more, so I am pretty happy! Thank you so much! I have a couple of questions for you though:

    I'm on day 26 now and I'm gonna start reviewing my passages. My concern is that school is starting very soon and I'm afraid I wouldn't have much time dedicated to review all the passages taken (19 credits next semester.....fml). Is it okay to review one or two passages that have questions I missed the most? Is there another faster and more time-efficient way to review?

    Secondly, the guide also said I must finish reading a passage in 3-4 minutes, if not then I have to go back doing individual passages again. I'm a slow reader. I take around 5-6 mins to read a passage and longer for a hard passage in order to get a good grasp on the author's main idea and tone. But when I answer questions, I usually fly through them; I don't refer back to the passage at all and I don't get bogged down with hard questions. In the end I always finish my first pass with 1-2 minutes to spare per passage. Do you think I should still go back doing individual passages even though I have no trouble with timing?

    Finally, as I mentioned above, I finish quite fast. I think maybe it's too fast. I just did a 6-passage block and finished first pass with 15 minutes to spare. Do you think I should slow down and review my answers a little bit after I finish each passage? Or should I keep going at my speed and use the large amount of spare time at the end to go over all the marked questions for all the passages I have?
     
  17. Roudy15

    Roudy15

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    @Iceleve Do you read for structure or just everything the first time you read the passage?
     
  18. IceIvee

    IceIvee 2+ Year Member

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    Hi! Sorry for not responding quickly! I was travelling in China.

    I actually don't really know what reading for "structure" means. I read to understand what the passage is talking about so I know what the author's opinion is on the topic. I then answer questions using the main idea, the author's attitude, and the tone, which comes naturally to me once I have a good understanding of the passage. I also keep a mental note on which paragraph talks about what while reading so when there's a detail question, I know where to go. I guess I do read for structure?

    I guess when you are reading a passage, reading everything and at the same time take mental notes on how does the author feel about this topic at hand. What is the author's opinion on this topic? Does he think coffee is the greatest thing ever invented? Or he thinks he's a failure at missing out opportunities in life? I think at the end of the day, these passages are just people's opinions on different topics and they want to have their opinions heard so they wrote these long boring essays on stuff we don't care about.
     
  19. T-Eazy7

    T-Eazy7

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    @TestingSolutions I cannot find the five EK Full-length MCAT Exams to buy anywhere online. Do we have to buy their $300 MCAT package in order to just get the exams? If we can buy the exams alone, can you please post a link or directions to help me find where they would be sold?
    Thanks!
     
  20. Unicorn_Doc

    Unicorn_Doc

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    Dec 25, 2017
    When doing the passages, during week 3 are we supposed to do keyword review for all the passages? Also, how to be more efficient with the keyword review? I find myself going back and forth between the keyword pdf and my passage which seems way more time consuming and I still feel like I am not highlighting all of them after reading twice? Thank you
     
    Roudy15 likes this.
  21. aayz345

    aayz345

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    Jan 2, 2018
    Hello @TestingSolutions ,

    How important is it that we do the keyword review? I am currently studying for a retake. I used this 30day guide for my first attempt but honestly didn't bother doing the keyword review tactic. I feel like the guide helped improve my timing temporarily but after a while it digressed
     
  22. SG32

    SG32

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    I did the practice test 1 for TS and the passages are a lot shorter than EK 101. I ran out of time for EK but was good on timing for the TS practice... most likely because the passages are so damn long in EK. What is more representative of the MCAT CARS? Shorter passages like in TS, or longer like in EK?
     

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