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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
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    @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
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    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!
     
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  4. MamamLR

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    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
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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

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    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

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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

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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

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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

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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.
     
    #609 Sheiko, Nov 10, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  11. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @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

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    @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

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  14. 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

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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.
     
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  17. IceIvee

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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?
     
  18. Roudy15

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

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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.
     
  20. 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!
     
  21. Unicorn_Doc

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    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
     
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  22. aayz345

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    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
     
  23. 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?
     
  24. TestingSolutions

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    @Roudy15 - Sorry for the slow response. I'm an M2 at Stanford and have been crazy busy with school.

    I would really encourage you to start stair stepping your passages. Do three passages together. If you're wanting to do more practice than that, do another three passage block. Once you feel like you're no longer experiencing that fatigue. Try doing four passages together. For most people, it's nearly impossible to stay focused for 9 CARS passages in a row at the beginning of your studying. By slowly working your way up, over a longer period of time, which you have because your test date is so far out, I think you'll gradually see improvement.

    Regarding political jargon/ or philosophy, do you feel it is a vocabulary problem you're having? Or it's just hard to read through those passages for you? I'd recommend keeping a word list that you can add to as you come across words you don't know. If it's more the latter where those topics are just difficult for you, you can try to look for the political and philosophy passages in whatever resources you're using to practice. Pay extra attention to those passages and if you have a way of knowing what the passage is before you start (like we put the general passage category in the title of our passage quizzes so you can identify what type of passage it is) you can just focus on those types of passages.

    Whether to start over or not depends on how much you took to heart on your first pass of the first 14 days. If you feel like you're consistently doing the lessons we outlined, I'd recommend you keep going through the guide. You've given yourself enough time that if you need to, you can always circle back. But if you find yourself having trouble letting go of hard questions or using keywords to actively guide your reading of the passage, I'd recommend you circle back and start over.

    Regarding which CARS resources, I'm obviously biased as we are a CARS company, but in regards to the other sections, I've heard a lot of good things about the EK exams and that's why we recommend them. But I don't want to get too far out of my lane on the high because CARS is what we specialize in and what I know best.

    Best of luck and keep the questions coming!

    Warmest,
    Nick
     
  25. TestingSolutions

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    @Roudy15 - When we talk about reading for structure, one of the easiest ways to do this is to watch out for keywords the author uses to signal which direction he or she is going in as well how he or she things about a particular topic. I'd recommend reviewing Day 9 – How to Use Keywords where we go into detail about how to improve and practice using keywords. Beyond this though, when we say "read for structure" we also mean that you shouldn't be worrying about paying super close attention to the details of the passage but instead the main ideas of the passage. A lot of companies don't do this, but in the review sections of each of our practice tests and passages, we summarize the main idea or point of each paragraph and walk you through how we would break down the passage. We outline on Day 29 – Putting it All Together: How to Review an Entire CARS Practice Test
    how to use these summaries to practice reading for structure and what's important. You can always go back and check passage details if a question requires you to (they rarely do on the CARS). But mastering all of the details of the passage is a huge waste of time and will just rob you of points on test day.

    As to what to highlight, I don't think you should ever highlight more than a few words. The purpose of highlighting is to put a flag in the ground that will allow you to easily reference that information if you have to come back later. It really shouldn't be used to remind you of something that is "important" like most people use it. You should have very clear in your mind what is important in the passage. That is exactly the sort of stuff you're supposed to be paying attention to. The highlight feature is to remind you "Oh 'position A' makes it's arguments here against 'position B' new education problem." In that case, highlighting where 'position A' argument begins and where 'position B' defense begins would be useful and allow you to quickly return to the passage. It also allows you to keep clear who is saying what and not confuse the different camps.

    I think highlighting the keywords is okay for now, I wouldn't recommend it longer time. I'd really recommend you do the keyword review that we outline on Day 9 instead as highlighting words isn't recommended during test day as it takes up too much time. And I really believe you should practice in the same way you plan to perform. Otherwise, you're just building bad habits. Thanks for the great questions!
     
  26. TestingSolutions

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    @IceIvee - Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad to hear that the guide has been useful so far!

    I think it's fine to review one or two of the hardest passages. I'd recommend still summarizing each paragraph of every passage you take (after you finish the passage and are reviewing) as well as using our Painting to the Main Idea approach. Everyone one of our practice passages has this written out so you can check what you wrote down with ours. I don't think other companies do, but it would be good if you could find that. I think the breaking down of the passage (which is what this type of practice does) is the best way to improve your CARS score. So lets say you take 5 passages. I'd recommend you review in detail 1 or 2 of those passages, and then for the other three, just work on the passage as I've outlined, ignoring the questions.

    As my grandfather likes to say, if it isn't broke, don't fix it. If you're not having problems with your timing and you're not having to rush through your questions to answer correctly, than I wouldn't worry about how much time it takes to read the passage. With that said, you might be missing a few questions that you wouldn't miss if you spent a little extra time on the questions. I can relate to being a "slow reader." It's always taken me longer to get through articles and books than most of my peers. With that said, over time, and with pushing myself (gently) to keep moving through the passage, I was able to find a happy medium. It's really hard to spend more than 5 or 6 minutes on a CARS passage (which is 500 to 600 words) without re-reading sentences or going back (even while you're reading the passage for the first time). I think it is important to keep yourself moving through the passage even if you're finishing the test on time. I say this, because your score may begin to stall out if you don't start spending a little more time on those harder questions. Some questions on the CARS will require you to take 3 minutes to figure out. There are only a few of them, and for most people who just want a great score, but not a super high score, they can trash those questions and take a guess. If you're shooting for a really high score, you'll need to give yourself that cushion of time to figure it out. With that said, it sounds like you're continuing to make progress, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    I would spend the extra time going back through marked questions. One of the most useful things about the marked questions approach is that often, just taking a moment away from thinking about the question, will allow you to see it in a different way. You could have sat there for 5 more minutes straight and not thought of it, but because you stepped away and came back, you see the question in a different way. Furthermore, if you've completed all the questions in the passage, you may well have picked up on something in a future quesiton that helps you answer the one you marked. I think it's always better to move swiftly (not rushing but swiftly) on your first pass and then spend the rest of the time on the hardier questions you marked.

    Best of luck on your MCAT and keep the questions coming!
     
  27. TestingSolutions

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    @IceIvee & @Roudy15 - That's awesome about China! My brother lived there for awhile and I was fortunate enough to visit twice. I really loved it. Much, much better than MCAT studying :)

    I think you intuitively do know what we're trying to talk about when we say for "reading for 'structure.'" It's essentially what you said. Keeping track over the large ideas, beliefs, and feelings of the author over the whole arch of the passage and keeping a clear sense of where the author talks about what, so when/if there is a detail question, you have a good idea of where to go. Many students feel like the path to doing well on the CARS is mastering the passage as they read it. So they worry if they don't get every little detail. They end up wasting a lot of time understanding material they aren't going to be tested on. Reading for structure pays attention to the structure of the house, the layout of where the rooms are, and maybe even some of the big furniture (e.g. bed, coffee table, bookshelf), but reading for structure completely ignores the little things (e.g. the rug, size of the TV, how many pillows are on the couch).

    You guys are having a great conversation about one of the key ingredients to doing well on the CARS. Keep the questions coming! Best of luck
     
  28. TestingSolutions

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    @T-Eazy7 - It looks to me like they've raised their prices recently and yeah, it is I think $250 for their exams. I do think they are currently the best full-length practice exams (although their CARS isn't awesome). I am going to do some more research as that's pretty pricey. Thanks for the heads up. I'll post back on here when I find a better substitute.

    Best of luck on the MCAT!
     
  29. TestingSolutions

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    @Unicorn_Doc - Great questions. I'd recommend you limit yourself to two passes. You might not get every single keyword, but you'll get the majority of them and over time, you'll get much better at it. I'd do the keyword review until 1) you're no longer having time trouble in finishing your passages and 2) you start to really notice the keywords while you're actually taking passages. With this second point, you're not going to be highlighting them, but you'll notice as you read that when you see the word "and" you'll think to yourself "okay, she's going to continue on the same line of thought" or when you see "but" you think "oh she's about to go in a different direction."

    The keyword review is to give you practice at looking at the passages in a different way. It doesn't need to be perfect, just thorough. That's why we recommend twice. Most people find it useful to print off the keyword review document and have it by them when they're going through the words. You can download it here!

    Best of luck on your MCAT! Keep the questions coming!
     
  30. TestingSolutions

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    @aayz345 - I really recommend you focus on doing it until you start to see the keywords in the passage pop out at you.

    Here's the post: Day 9 – How to Use Keywords

    I've also included a link here to the keyword PDF doc. We recommend you print it out as you're going through and highlighting the passages.

    As to keeping the gains on timing, it's just important to keep good, clean habits in regards to what you allow yourself to do on the CARS. Usually people start out with good discipline regarding our techniques, but as they go along, they kind of forget to continue the good habits. We have a summary post on the high yield points here: Day 25 – How to Take a CARS Full-Length Practice Test and a tip sheet here that you can download and keep by you as you take your passages.

    Best of luck!
     
  31. TestingSolutions

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    @SG32 - I can't speak to the length of EK 101 passages as I haven't counted the words, but I know 100% that our passages are the correct length compared to the AAMC CARS passages you'll face on test day. The AAMC CARS passages are within 500 to 600 words of length. And we essentially make sure each one of our passages is within that window. Once in a long while, they might be over or under 40 or 50 words, but really never more than that. When you are reviewing one of our passages, you'll see in the solutions section for the passage, that we include a word count so you have an idea of how long the passage was.

    It's possible the EK folks are including longer passages. Including longer passages is one way to make your test more difficult as people will struggle to finish, but it isn't representative at all of what you'll face on test day. Our passages are 500 to 600 words just like the AAMC's passages so you should expect to see those lengths of passages on test day. Best of luck!
     
  32. Roudy15

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    Thanks for the replies! At this point im doing better overall but my incorrect answers are spread out evenly at average of getting 2 wrong. Recently i took a full 8 hour practice exam and in this one passage i got really stuck because i understood the passage very well but not the question and i kept re reading different points of passage to deduct the options and that took me 3 mins extra and i couldnt make this 3 mins up and tried to use the 'read first and last sentence of every paragraph' to catch up on the very last passage where i missed 4 questions. So my question is when is it really okay to go back to a question. I know this is stupid but i mark the hard question and then go back to it as soon as im done with my other questions regarding the passage and waste extra time in that passage anyways. But i feel like if i dont attend to it, ill forget the passage and it will be of no use if i come back to it at the end. Also, I really dont highlight at all.
    I highlight just the first appearance of name, and try to give myself a second after each paragraph to think about what i just read- as in the main idea or the argument. This takes me a little more than 4 mins to finish the passage but it seems i can pin point where the information is and makes me understand the over all idea of the passage. Is this good? I circle keywords during review but they dont pop out as often, thats why i was asking if you had a worked out example of "reviewing" your worked passage.
    Also, im starting to make notes on "why i missed the question" and some questions i just dont know what to put for, they just seem like i was thinking from a different perspective at a time, often stupid mistakes, but more frequently than i want. I am following all the review steps, but i cannot distinguish between some of my answers and the right answer and makes me question the wording of the Question itself. I have been using the Next Step CARS, if i find any such question on Testing Solutions ill link it.

    I am excited to try out all 14 Full length from testing solutions, and hope they have good review for wrong answers. Ill be starting it this month, already got the material! :D
    Hope you're doing great at Stanford!
     
  33. needtoretake123

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    @TestingSolutions Do you have any advice on improving the accuracy for in-text questions? What about least supported in the passage questions. I know the general consensus is to not go back and look into the passage. But I feel as if these two question types ask more for detail and aren't linked to the main idea that much.
     
  34. blahblahwork

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    Hi there! i need help and input! I am 5 months away from my mcat. i struggle the most with cars. i score in the low 120s each time. I do fairly decent with 2 passages daily but the minute i do a full length its like i lose all my hardwork put into cars. i also feel so mentally fatigued. Idk what to do. i'm thinking the only way ill really improve is if i do cars simulating testing enviroment each time and then check my cars exam that week and do another nine passages in a row. the only thing i have not done enough is simulate testing environment for cars. that seems to be the thing i need to do now. i just really want to see myself improve.
     
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  35. Mcat528UM

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  36. Mcat528UM

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    I was wondering if I should use TPR hyper learning 2011 book or the 2015 CARS workbook. And for the EK do I use the verbal 101 or Cars 101. Also I was wondering if jack Weston questions are also good.
     
  37. type42tardis

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    Hi guys! I really need your help. I have followed the 30 day guide every day for the last month, and I have to say I was initially satisfied with the results. My accuracy on the EK101 passages went from about 50% to 70% and timing was no longer an issue. However I recently took 2 of the Testing solution CARS full lengths, and scored really bad on them. On Test 1 I scored a 124, and on test 2 I scored a 123. The passages on the first exam were easy to understand, and my errors were mainly due to over thinking the question & reading too much for detail. But the second practice test was way harder then anything I had encountered. I struggled to finish on time, and got 7 question wrong in a row. My exam is on April 21st 2018 and I am starting to get concerned.

    At this point I am very frustrated to say the least, and am trying not to break anything in my room. What should I do? What did I do wrong! Any advice would be appreciated. Please help!
     
  38. ScrubswithnoSleeves

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    Hi,

    So I have 75 days until my MCAT and am on day 10 of the guide right now. Does anyone have a good strategy for adjusting the guide to fit a schedule?

    Should I just cut out some of the practice near the end, or should I just read ahead on the tips and adjust the number of passages I do a day to increase a littler faster?
     
  39. ScrubswithnoSleeves

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    For EK, you want the verbal reasoning book. I can't with certainty say that you should grab the 2015 version of TPR, but I would assume so because the test was updated in 2015 and it probably imitates the actual exam more.
     
  40. SG32

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    I'm trying to review my practice tests. How do we hide the answers/explanations? Are we to reset the test?
     
  41. Fuarky

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    For the last thirty days of this program when you want us to get and do AAMC practice tests and ExamCracker Practice tests does it mean like do every section even non CARS section on the practice tests or are those different practice tests that just have CARS?
     
  42. iMaree

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    I am 9 weeks out from my test date. I have been using the new EK 101 CARS, would you recommend I switch to TPR, or stick with EK. I have the CARS qBanks and plan on doing those later.
     
  43. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @Roudy15 - Great question regarding when to go back or not. Here are my two criteria 1) Are you regularly finishing the tests on time? In your case, you're not. So you shouldn't go back to the passage after you read it. Not even for a moment. Once your timing gets worked out, then under certain circumstances you can go back. 2) Do you have any idea where the information is or what kind of information you're looking for? If you can't answer yes to either of those questions, you should mark the question, guess, and move on. Not knowing the where or the what makes it nearly impossible for you to find the information in a time efficient matter. It's better for you to save the time and spend it on questions you know how to answer. Regarding worrying about forgetting the passage, I really doubt think you will. You should try it for yourself and see. Beyond this though, I've found that often times, taking a breather from the passage for a moment and coming back to the question with new eyes can actually lead you to see things you didn't see before. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten questions right that way that were originally stumping me.

    I think your passage reading strategy seems to be working if you're able to get through it in 4 minutes and understand what's going on. In terms of reviewing our own passages, I've got a series in the works were we go through a few passages to show you how it's done. I'll keep you posted!

    Best of luck and please keep the questions coming! I've just finished my 2nd year, so I'm hopeful I'll have a little more time to respond to questions. Warmest!
     
  44. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "in-text questions." Could you say a little more? Regarding "least supported" questions, it's very difficult to find the least supported answer. Your best bet is to start eliminating the answer choices you believe ARE supported in the passage. So for instance, (A) you know is supported in paragraph 1. Eliminate it. (B) you're not sure. (C) you're pretty sure is supported in the main idea, but aren't 100%. (D) is supported in the last sentence of the passage. In this case, without much thought, you pick (B) and move on. There may be questions that you need to go back to the passage on, and it's fine to go back, but you have to be finishing the test on time. If you're rushing at the end of the test and miss 5 questions because you didn't have time, that one extra point you earned by spending more time actually cost you 3 points. We've got to pick and choose were we spend our time. Not going back to the passage is often an easy rule that will improve your score overnight. Best of luck!
     
  45. academy4dawise

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    Hi Testing Solutions,

    I really need some advice.

    My exam is on April 20th. CARS has always been a major weakness for me. I followed the testing solutions guide last year and got a 126 on the real MCAT last summer. I decided to retake it and have focused most of my attention on CARS and Psych. I started restudying in December. I re-did the 30-day guide and have been doing Testing Solution Exams, Next Step Exams, and EK101(2015) exams non stop for three months. I have seen a huge improvement in my stamina and scores. I have been getting 125-126 consistently on these exams. About 14-17 wrong per exam.

    Last Sunday, I sat down for AAMC scored 1 and got a 121, while getting 130,128, 128 on the other science sections. I felt great while I took the exam. I took Friday and Saturday off and started AAMC1 early in the morning. I thought it was a fluke. Because I have never scored that poorly on CARS before.

    This week, I started doing the AAMC q-packs and am getting destroyed on them (about 2 to 4 questions wrong per passage). I tried doing a next step exam and did great (-15). This built up my confidence so I switched back to the AAMC Question Packs again and continued to do poorly. I feel like these AAMC passages lack any flow.They constantly jump from one topic to another unrelated topic paragraph after paragraph. I definitely think my exam last year was not as hard as these. I honestly do not know what to do. Has anyone else felt this way about AAMC CARS passages? Is AAMC Scored 1 and AAMC Q-packs suppose to be harder than the actual MCAT?

    Thank you so much for reading my email and answering me. I am just going to spend the next two weeks doing passages and reviewing. I really do not know what more I can do. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I still have to take AAMC2, AAMC Sample, and the finish both AAMC Question Packs.
     
  46. mcattypmd911

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    @TestingSolutions I have been having difficulty reviewing the TS practice exams (TS-1 for now) efficiently because you can't hide the correct answer choice on the review window or start a new test untimed. It is not feasible to review the questions you got wrong when you can see the correct answer coded in red right in front of you. How do you recommend reviewing the exams ? Can I get the kindle version of the test for reviewing purposes ?
     
  47. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @blahblahwork - This is a very common problem. Mental fatigue on the MCAT is a real issue for many. You might find yourself missing questions you wouldn't if you had more energy. The good news is that you have plenty of time to build up your stamina. If you follow our passage schedule, you'll see that we slowly build up the number of passages you do over the span of about a month. In your case, you could probably do it even slower. Here's what I would recommend, do CARS practice five days a week. For this week, do three passages a day. Next week, do four passages in a row a day. The following, add another passage so on and so forth. Within the span of two months, you'll find yourself having plenty of stamina. It's not unlike training for a marathon. You don't go out there and run 15 miles on your first day. If you find yourself struggling with a particular number of passages, repeat that week.

    Thanks for your great question! Best of luck on your CARS!
     
  48. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    I'd recommend using the 2015 CARS workbook for TPR and I'd recommend the EK Verbal 101 book, skipping over the natural science passages. I've heard their CARS 101 book is absolute garbage. I bought a copy and looked through it. I wasn't impressed. It has terrible reviews on Amazon. Their Verbal 101 book is much better in my opinion, although watch out towards the end of the book, the last few tests have errors in their "quick answer" table. You need to look at the actual explanations to find what the correct answer is. In regards to Jack Westin, I really don't have any experience with his stuff. I'm generally skeptical with new resources since they're just coming out and haven't been tested/revised/ or reviewed by the larger community. I think there are a lot of well-established CARS resources out there. With that said, I know a lot of people speak highly of Westin, so you'll have to decide for yourself. I think his course is pretty expensive for my taste, but again, may be worth it if you have that much money to spend. I'm not sure how the pricing of his practice materials work as these are pretty recent developments.

    Hope that helps! Best of luck on your the MCAT!
     
  49. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @type42tardis - I'm sorry this response is coming so close to your test date. I think you have to be careful hanging your overall performance on any one particular test, especially if that test is not from the AAMC official resources. Have you tried any AAMC resources? I would recommend trying a smaller number of passages. Maybe jumping up to 9 passages all at once was too much. Try 5 or 6 in a row and see how you do. The AAMC question packs are great for this. In regards to your test date, our general advice is that if you haven't scored within 2 points of your goal score within two weeks of your test, you should strongly consider rescheduling it. Hopefully, you've been able to work through these issues and are doing great now! Please let us know if there's anything we can do to help!
     
  50. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @ScrubswithnoSleeves - Excellent name!! I love it. I think the best way to adjust the schedule is to cut out some of the practice. I think you can probably read through a couple of the days (especially the ones regarding question types and answer pathologies) two at a time. This will also get you through the guide quicker.
     
  51. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @ScrubswithnoSleeves - I really agree with this. I think EK really missed the mark on their CARS book. Hopefully, they'll put in the time to improve the quality of the book, but as it is now, it's not any good. I'd go with the Verbal Reasoning book and just remove the natural science passages. The 2015 version of TPR (or a more recent one if you can swing it) is going to be your best bet. The folks at TPR seem to have done a better job maintaining their quality in comparison to EK.
     
  52. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @SG32 - This is a feature that's in the works. We hope to have it released within the next month!
     

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