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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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    @Fuarky - That refers to actual full-lengths where you do all the sections (not just CARS). We think in the last six weeks of prep you really should be rapidly moving towards full-length practice with intense review of weaknesses on off days. Best of luck!
     
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  3. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @iMaree - I'd stop with the EK101 CARS. I think it's a very poor representation of the CARS section. If you're using their old EK 101 Verbal Reasoning book that's okay, just be sure you skip the Natural Science passages. I'd switch to TPR. Be sure you leave plenty of time to do the CARS qBanks though from the AAMC. Those are pure gold. You must do them before you even think about taking the MCAT! Best of luck on your MCAT!
     
  4. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @academy4dawise - I'm just copying my email response to you here so others can have the benefit! Hope all is going well!

    It sounds like you've put a lot of really hard work in. It's hard to say what's going on with AAMC Scored 1 and the Q-packs. I do think in general, the AAMC materials are a better representation of what you're going to see on test day than anything else, but with that said, I have heard that the first qpack is harder than the second, and I've also heard opinions that the AAMC scored 1 is a bit hardier too. I'd encourage you not to panic. Take a look at the sorts of questions you're missing. Are you rushing through? Are you approaching these passages or questions in a different way than you are your practice materials? When you review the questions, do you see where you went wrong or are you still clueless about what the problem was?

    I'd encourage you to invest a little more time reviewing the questions and answer choices of the AAMC materials. I think this will help you get into their mindset regarding how they approach questions and passages. You've still got a lot of time. Your other sections are very strong, so it makes sense that you can invest a little more time on the CARS. I'd recommend you use our review protocol on Day 28 for two or three of the hardest passages you've had and go from there.

    Best of luck! You've got this!
     
  5. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @mcattypmd911 - This is a good point regarding our current online platform. We're in the process of working on releasing this feature in the next month. We'll be sure to contact you when we do!
     
  6. tarheel1234

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    @TestingSolutions Hello, have you commented on if you think NextStep 108 is a good additional resource? Thanks.
     
  7. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @tarheel1234 - I haven't taken them so I can't say from personal experience. I had originally intended on taking them, but I head so much negative stuff about them that I decided it wasn't worth my time. Here's the link to their Amazon reviews:

    I've heard a general consensus that the questions don't resemble the AAMC questions that well which is an instant rejection in my book. With that said, if you've got the money and time, what do you have to lose to check out a couple? If you don't have a ton of money or time, I'd recommend one of the more standard options like the old EK101 book (the new one is terrible) or a TPR Hyperlearning book.

    If you end up trying it, please let us know what you think! Best of luck on your MCAT!
     
  8. MNR647

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    Hi, Thanks for putting this guide together, it's a great introduction to an overwhelming new topic and I really appreciate the work that went into it. I'm currently in week 2 and have a couple questions:

    1. How can I assess whether or not my scores per passage are good? Is 1 question wrong per passage a good score or are high scorers typically getting perfect on most passages? I'm a bit confused about how to estimate scaled scores based on percentages.

    2. I'm finding I often finish passages with 3-4 minutes left of the time. When i do the passages timed individually I go back to the questions with the extra time and double check my answers however within the actual test scenario I feel like this won't be practical. Do you have any tips on how to better spend time on the first pass through the passage?

    Thanks!
     
  9. tarheel1234

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  10. eliza12345

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    Hi Nick,

    I have a question about Day 6 of the 30 day guide.

    For the example below:

    2) Either you or I have to scrub the tub, and I’m not going to be the one to do it.

    Implication – This argument shows an implication at its very best. What is implied by this argument? Well if I’m not going to scrub the tub, and if only you or I can scrub the tub, what’s the necessary, unstated conclusion? You’re going to scrub the tub.

    You had said that Implication is defined as: An implication is a necessary but unstated conclusion of the argument. It has to be true in all cases for it to be an implication. Implications are EXTERNAL applications of the argument to new situations or conditions outside of the argument. (e.g. Since burritos are better than pizza and more people eat burritos, we should open a burrito stand instead of a pizza parlour.)

    But how is that implication that you wrote up top an EXTERNAL application. It's more so an unstated internal INFERENCE? Isn't it?

    Can you please clarify how it would be an implication?

    Thank you so much in advance!
     
  11. premed23456

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    Hey there,

    Thank you so much for this guide. This may have been answered in this thread somewhere but since it's 14 pages long.. here it is:

    During the actual MCAT, do we wait to return to the passage for flagged questions until the entire 9 passages are done being answered? Or should we take it a passage at a time where we read the passage, answer the 5-7 questions without returning to the passage, and then return to the passage to confirm answers until we are confident in our answers before moving onto the next passage?

    I was struggling with this during my actual practice MCAT today and ended up getting flustered and kinda bombing that section. Let me know please and thanks!
     
  12. EastSide

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    Reading speed would not be a problem only if I can grasp what the passage is saying.
    Sometimes, the sentence structure and the wording is so obscure, that it takes me several glances to understand only a fraction of what the author is trying to say. By this time, the 4-minute pace for reading is ruined.
    :(
     
  13. TestingSolutions

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    Great questions and thank you for your kind words :)

    1) Not all passages are created equally, so it's difficult to say what a "good score" would be. It really depends on the difficulty of the passage. Some easy passages, the majority of students will get 5 out of 5 or 6 out of 6 on, while the hardest CARS passages, students might get 4 out of 6, or even 3 out of 6 and that would be a "good score" on such a difficult passage. I think your best bet, is to not worry about how you're scoring, as little as possible early on in your study, and then after a few weeks of concentrated CARS practice, to take 5 or 6 AAMC CARS passages (the Qbanks are great for this). These passages will give you a decent insight into how you're doing.

    2) Are you saying you have 3 to 4 minutes to spare per passage? That would be moving quite quickly through the passage/questions if that's the case. I'd recommend that you spend a little more time while reading the passage. Maybe try pausing after each paragraph you read and asking yourself what the main point was of that paragraph. This will certainly help when you get to the questions. It will also help you gain a better idea of the structure of the passage. Beyond that, I think it's fine to end the test "early." Use the mark button on any questions you're not certain of (at least 75% sure you're right). Then use the "Review Marked" feature on the test. I think it can actually be useful to come back to questions later in the test, as sometimes you'll see them from a new angle or will draw a connection you didn't see before that will help you get unstuck and find the right answer.

    Keep us updated on your progress! Best of luck!
     
  14. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    That's actually on my list of books to check out. I'll update my review of resources guide with my thoughts. I still stand by the older resources of the EK101 verbal book, the TBR old verbal book, and then of course, I'm a big fan of our passages too :)

    But I haven't heard a lot about the TBR CARS book, although their other resources are pretty great.

    Best of luck!
     
  15. TestingSolutions

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    This is a pretty common problem. I have two homework assignments for you.

    1) This is a post we wrote about what to do when you encounter a difficult passage.

    2) Day 3 – Reviewing/ Timing This is a post where we talk about reading speed. For most test takers, reading speed isn't actually the primary issue. It's a mixture of going back to the passage too often while answering the questions and reading and rereading the passage.

    Let us know what you think of these two posts and if there are any other questions we can answer. A lot of people have similar issues. Just keep up the practice. You'll get there!
     
    EastSide likes this.
  16. EastSide

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    Just read the post and downloaded the Sheet for Review!
    For some reason, reading through your posts calms me down.
    Looking over the sheet shows me how inefficiently I reviewed my CARS passage. I was simply too lazy. Thanks for the guideline!

    I took a Kaplan CARS class and it felt utterly useless. They focused so much on small details of argument structure/if-then/etc. Most of the time, I had no idea why I was doing those mini-exercises. Was never taught how to connect what we learned to real MCAT passages (learning was extremely fragmented). Also, never learned how to review the wrong answers.


    I have only 16 more days until the MCAT (June 1)
    Just took a Kaplan FL yesterday a got a 125 on CARS.
    Not aiming for a super competitive score. A 504-508 is my goal.

    Wish I found this thread earlier ...

    Extremely grateful for you and your brand/company.
    Thanks!
     
  17. EastSide

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    Hello.
    I can't quite grasp the extent of the "Flip Test".
    Could you please elaborate or provide further examples regarding the Flip Test?
    Sounds like a cool tool to use during the exam;
    can't wait to hear back!
    Thanks!
     
  18. chaoshood

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    Hi there,

    I wanted to say thank you for making this information available. I was curious what your thoughts are on reading a passage twice? I am rewriting my mcat and last year I was able to read a passage twice and answer questions. I did poorly (124) but I believe that was attributed to the fact that I did nearly no passages a month before my exam and never reviewed my passages throughout my studying cycle. I did have good scoring days when I would read them twice... Highest being a 127.

    Just wanted your input :)
     
  19. Whatisthisabout

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    Hello, I would like some advice if possible.

    I have been doing 3 cars passages everyday, but have not been timing them. It usually takes me about 50 minutes to do 3 passages and then I review. I found this post like 2 days ago and tried to do the timing strategy, but I could not finish reading my passages in 4 minutes. I also had developed the bad habit of going back and forth to the passage and when I couldn't do this anymore while answering the questions, my score sank. I was usually getting at most 2 wrong per passage when I would do them untimed. I feel like I wasted so much time doing them untimed and now my scores are so low now that I'm trying to do them under timed conditions. I was considering taking my test within the next two months. Do you think that I can turn this around if I start now with the 30 day boot camp? I know that you start off doing 1 passage per day, is there a way that you can modify it for a 2 month span? Also, if I'm not even finishing the passages within the 4 minutes that is allotted, how can I improve that? I find myself rushing through the passage while I'm reading because I know I'm not finishing in time.
     
  20. p9048

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    Hey there,
    I recently started the bootcamp and I am using the TPR 2015 CARS workbook. I was looking at the 90 day plan and I see that we eventually end up doing the full length tests, but I was wondering when we use the single passages ( 100 or so) that we are given as a part of this program.
     
  21. Achnologiast

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    Hi,
    I started out with the NextStep 108 Verbal Passages book, and was wondering what your thoughts on that were? Ive been getting around 9-10 wrong per practice exam in that book.

    Recently, I just did the testing solutions 1st practise full length and got 23 wrong. I feel that the passages are a lot harder than anything I've ever seen. What should I do?
     
  22. meltedbrain21

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    Thanks for making this guide it's been super helpful as of recent, but in regards to timing I have been practicing and getting the hang of it, but I often struggle with getting the main idea right on some of the trickier passages. My scores tend to be quite extreme, scoring either near perfect, or 1-2 right. My exam is about a month away, do you have any advice?
     
    #671 meltedbrain21, Jun 25, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  23. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    Thank you for the kind words! I hope everything turns out okay. Please let us know if there's anything we can do to help! Wishing you the very best!
     
  24. TestingSolutions

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    @EastSide - Ha! Sorry, I should have kept reading. I apologize for the slow response here. I'm currently doing Malaria research in Uganda and have limited access to the internet. I know your test date has already passed but in case this would still be useful I'll do my best to explain the "flip test." The flip test is based on the idea that sometimes the implications the CARS asks us to identify are not always the most obvious when we leave them in the language the test uses to describe them. But if we do a little of our own work, we might be able to see very clearly whether or not an implication from the passage holds. Say for example that an answer choice says that the author implies that institutions that lend money are essentially predatory at base. This might not be the most obvious implication of the passage or even all that clear. You might feel uncertain about the answer choice and end up having two that sound really good. The flip test asks you to take the opposite of the answer choice and see if that is implied. So in this case, does the author imply that institutions that lend money are essentially beneficial (the opposite of predatory) at base? This may or may not be helpful, but if you find yourself yelling "ABSOLUTELY NOT! The author is so clear that these institutions are not beneficial" you might well be on the way to realizing that the passage does indeed imply that they are predatory since you are so certain the author says they are not beneficial. Another way to think about the flip test is If I see a lot of food on the table at lunchtime, I'm thinking Nick hasn't come home yet. If I see the remnants of a sandwich and an empty chip bag, I bet Nick has come home, eaten lunch, and already left again.

    Great question. Let us know if that doesn't clear it up and we can come up with more examples! Thanks!
     
  25. TestingSolutions

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    Thanks for the question! I'd recommend that you not read the passage twice. The reason for this is that doing so does not guarantee that you're actually engaging with the passage or even gaining more insight than if you had just read it once. If it takes you 4 minutes to read each passage once, that means you'll spend 8 minutes reading each passage, 8min * 9 passages is 72 minutes. You only have 90 minutes for the test. You simply can't do well on the CARS with only 18 minutes to answer 53 questions.

    I think a better way for you to engage with the passage is to briefly pause after each paragraph and ask yourself what idea or word in that paragraph struck you as the most representative of the paragraph as a whole. It might even be a good idea to highlight that word or idea so as to give you a brief outline of the passage in highlights. With that said, don't highlight too much! The more you highlight the less you're actually highlighting for yourself (or said another way, you'll just end up with a passage that's in all yellow :)

    Let us know how things are going! Wishing you the best!
     
  26. TestingSolutions

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    @Whatisthisabout - Howdy! Thanks for writing. I think you can definitely make it to a great CARS score in 2 months. I just heard from somebody who went from a 123 to a 127 in less than a month using our guide, so I think you can too! We offer the 4 minutes for reading the passage as a rough guide. It may take you longer, especially if you're used to taking 8 or 9 minutes. I'd recommend giving yourself 5 minutes. Set two timers. One for the total amount of time for the passage and the second for the 5 minutes you're going to give yourself for the passage. Once those 5 minutes are up, cover up the passage with another piece of paper. Don't allow yourself to go back. If you're taking the passages online, tape a piece of paper over that side of the screen. I promise you that after you do this two or three times and feel the pain of not being able to go back, you'll start moving more quickly through the passages. It may feel that you're not getting everything, but that's okay. The more passages you do under correct timing conditions and build your CARS intuition and pacing, you'll feel like you're rushing less and less (although to be honest, I still sometimes feel a little rushed, that's just the name of the game when it comes to the CARS, you can still get an ultra high score under a little bit of time pressure)

    Best of luck and let us know if there's anything we can do to help!

    Warmest,
    Nick
     
  27. TestingSolutions

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    @p9048 - In our bootcamp, we offer you two ways to take our practice passages, in the full-length form or as individual passages. So you can do either. Our 90 day plan, suggests you use them as full-lengths, but many students decide to use them individually, so ultimately, it's whatever works best for you! Thanks!
     
  28. TestingSolutions

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    @Achnologiast - I haven't heard the best things about Next Step's verbal book. I was planning on going through it myself, but after reading the Amazon reviews, I decided it wasn't worth my time, especially considering how many other CARS resources there are out there. I've heard their questions are too detail focused and the passages are not representative of what is on the actual test. With that said, I haven't taken their passages myself. Regarding our practice materials, we do design them to be slightly more difficult than the actual cars but not too terribly difficult in comparison to them. My recommendation would be for you to take 4 or 5 AAMC CARS practice passages and see how your score on those, as they will be your absolute best indicator of where your CARS section currently is. Let us know if there's anything we can do to help!
     
  29. Falling Up

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    Just to clarify. The EK Verbal Reasoning book is recommended, not the EK CARS book, right?
     
  30. TestingSolutions

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    @Falling Up - Yeah, I've heard very bad things about the EK CARS book. I got a copy and was not impressed at all...didn't even finish it. It has very bad reviews on Amazon as well so I don't think it's just me that thinks it's weak. The EK verbal reasoning book can be used for about 65 to 70 passages when you take out the natural science passages, although be aware that the quality of the passages tend to fall off towards the last third to quarter of the book! Best of luck!
     
  31. Achnologiast

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    Also, what do you think about the ****** CARS sections in their practice exams?
     
  32. meltedbrain21

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    I was wondering if you would recommend this strategy for reviewing AAMC material, or just 3rd party material? My exams in two weeks and I am a bit tight on time, any recommendations would be greatly appreciated, your help this far has been truly invaluable to me, thanks! :)
     
  33. Chrysalid

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    EDIT: Found the answer to my question! The stopwatch is the totally wrong approach. The Day 3 post answered everything for me.

    Hello Nick,

    I'd like to ask for some advice.

    I recently started studying for the CARS with your 90-day guide. I'm currently on Day 3 (trying to get the timing right).

    I'm currently doing very poorly (getting 3/7 on some passages) however, I've just started.

    I do all the passages within the given time limit (9 mins, 10.5 mins, 12 mins).

    I'm wondering if I should do that or instead use a stopwatch and take my time answering the questions and then adjust my timing (i.e. should I rush myself and 'get used' to the timing, or take my time and then see how long I take and make adjustments from there.)

    Thank you very much!
     
    #682 Chrysalid, Jul 12, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  34. VetDoc_02

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    I really appreciate these posts. I am that student that has struggled tremendously with CARS. I am a month out (Sept 19th) from taking the exam for the second time and trying to follow your plan. Time has by far always been my biggest enemy. I have improved since last year but I still feel like I am rushing and just choosing answers that I am not sure about. When you talk about the instances where students spend 6 to 7 minutes on one question, thats me but I am really trying to get away from that and catching myself early on.

    The question I have is, what do you mean by consistently getting my passages done in time? Do you mean simply being able to finish them on time, or finish them and get most of the answers correct?

    I am asking because I can consistently get them done on time but my percentages are low (using the 9, 10.5, and 12 minute rule). Usually less than 50 percent correct (on AAMC passages) sometimes higher but rarely more than 70-75 percent.

    Last year I did terrible on the CARS section, so terrible that I am embarrassed to say on this platform. I don't think my score was representative of who I am as a student or my ability. Most of it was timing and really bad test anxiety (which was amplified by time struggles).

    The last couple of weeks I've just been doing passages everyday. Ranging from 3 to 6 a day (timed). Mostly next step, and AAMC. The more I do next step passages the more frustrated I get because the logic they use is so subjective and super convoluted. I feel like they also contradict themselves. Last year, I thought the same about EK 101 but since you say they are decent I will give them another try since I didn't complete all 101 passages.

    Your opinion on what I should do for the next month will be greatly appreciated. I honestly don't know what else to do. Thank you so much in advance, and sorry for the lengthy post.
     
  35. TestingSolutions

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    Hi Achnologiast: They seem to be a relatively new player to the game. I tend to be suspicious oh new resources, just because there are so many strong, proven resources out there. Sometimes, I feel like students want to try and re-invent the wheel. I'd go with the trusted resources. While I haven't taken them myself, it seems that they don't have a great reputation. Here are two threads on here:

    ****** CARS and Psy/Soc: How is their CARS section compare to AAMC?

    Next-Step / ****** / Kaplan / TPR - FL Opinions

    I don't want to slam other people's resources, but if you can avoid it, I might. Best of luck on your MCAT!
     
  36. TestingSolutions

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    @meltedbrain21 - I think I'd do your most in-depth studying on AAMC material. It might be good to do a fairly good review on 3rd party resources but probably doesn't warrant as much of an intense review as even the very best 3rd party resources are approximations of the MCAT, whereas the AAMC materials are real MCAT materials. Hope this helps. Let us know if there's anything else we can help with!
     
  37. TestingSolutions

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    @Chrysalid - Glad the Day 3 post answered your question! 3/7 isn't bad for just starting out. Most people start out in the 3/7 to 4/7 range so don't be discouraged! This is a section that practice = improvement! I think it's really important to simulate the real timing on the MCAT, so stick with the time intervals and I think as you progress with your practice, you won't see timing being as much of an issue. Best of luck and please keep us updated on your progress/ if you have any more questions!
     
  38. TestingSolutions

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    @VetDoc_02 - Thank you for your kind words regarding our posts. I hope they're helpful to you! First thing to say is that a score on the CARS is never representative of who you are as a student or as a person more largely. It is an incredibly artificial test and really doesn't say anything more about you than your ability to take MCAT CARS and even then, an off day on test day can really not represent even your CARS abilities (which it sounds like happened in your case).

    Regarding finish the passages, what I mean is that you are consistently getting through each passage at a roughly steady pace and are not rushed. Do you ever take passages one after another? 3 or 4 passages at a time or a 9 passage full-length test? Do you find yourself rushing at the end? I think the easiest way to improve your timing on the CARS is letting go of hard questions. I'm sure you've read this in our guide. But I really suggest you focus on that.

    I haven't been particularly impressed with Next Step CARS passages and I'd warn you against using the tail end of the 101 EK passage books. The passages in practice test 11 and above are not the same quality as the first ones.

    For the next month, I'd recommend focusing on improving your timing as we outline in Day 3 – Reviewing/ Timing. Beyond this, one I'm not sure how you approach highlighting, but I'd recommend highlighting as little as possible. Highlighting a few keywords per paragraph can help if it helps you get to the main idea of the paragraph/ passage, but if you're highlighting whole senses, that really is offering you no benefit. One tip that has helped many of my students is to wait to highlight anything in a paragraph until you've read the entire paragraph. Then pause, and ask yourself, what was that paragraph about? What was significant and unique about it? What do I want to remember about it. Usually there is a "mini-main idea" in each paragraph that you want to hold onto as you move on to the next paragraph. Make your highlight (include as few words as possible and remember, it's okay two highlight a word or two, skip a few words, and then highlight again.) While you might spend a little more time on each passage reading it, you will likely make up that time as you answer the questions.

    Best of luck and let us know if there's anything we can do to help!
     
  39. Marty Sophie

    Marty Sophie saladdressing

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    Are these the same “30 masters cars lessons” that are in the testing solutions boot camp?
     
  40. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @Marty Sophie - There are definitely overlapping content, but we've updated the boot camp site much more. There are also features that are included in the boot camp that aren't available on this forum. I would describe this as the lite version of the boot camp. Best of luck on your MCAT and let us know if there's anything we can do to help!

    Warmest,
    Nick
     
  41. Marty Sophie

    Marty Sophie saladdressing

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  42. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    No problem! Let us know what we can do to help!

    Warmest,
    Nick
     
  43. beastmode4

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    Hi!

    First of all, thank you so much for your guide!
    I initially was going to write the MCAT in a week from now, however I did my AAMC FL1 practice test and got a 122 on CARS. So I had to postpone it.

    I feel like my timing was fine, since I finished everything in time, but for more difficult passages I had trouble with comprehension. When I reviewed my practice exam, there are some passages where I would get perfect, and some where I would get 0 or 1 right. For easier passages I would finish reading it around 4 mins and for harder passages it would take me around 6 mins. Usually averaging 5 mins per passage.

    I postponed my MCAT to January, so I was wondering if you had any suggestions on how to improve the CARS section?

    If it helps this was the breakdown for FL1

    Passage 1: 4/5
    2: 6/7
    3: 2/7
    4: 2/7
    5: 4/5
    6: 4/7
    7: 0/5
    8: 2/5
    9: 4/5

    Thanks in advance!
     
  44. beat_mcat_2019

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    Hi Nick,

    I purchased the mcat CARS Bootcamp two days ago. I started from today counting as day 1. I did day 2 and 3 day’s passages as well. But cannot see the results. Is it only on a daily basis that results are displayed? Pls clarify.

    Since the day-wise passages don’t allow random usage, I looked to individual passages in CARS bootcamp. I’m not able to do passages picked at random and if I cud, they don’t allow me to see the results at all. Moreover, the interface works extremely slow with safari/Firefox/explorer/chrome. I tried all. That must be fixed.

    Once I finished the passage; the “Next” button doesn’t seem to work. And I couldn’t review/see my scores for the passages. I bought bootcamp to get heck a lot of practice on the passages, since the guide was pretty useful. That’s why I bought bootcamp eventhough I was broke. But this is extremely irritating. It’s such a waste of time waiting for the page to load. Pls provide a reasonable explanation. Thanks
     
  45. Buckeye2

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    If I am 4 months out from my test date, would you recommend beginning the 90 day 2019 CARS Bootcamp now or waiting until I am 3 months out? I am afraid I may run out of material if I begin now, but also feel as though I should begin practicing.
     
  46. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @Buckeye2 - I'd recommend starting now. We give you 12 months of access and we will very shortly be posting a 4 month plan to augment our 3 month plan as we know many people are in a similar boat. Keep an eye out for that soon!
     
  47. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    Hi Beat,

    I'm sorry to hear you had this problem. I responded to your email but I also would like to respond here as well so others can see it. We released an update to the website that had a glich. Our backup site, which we outline in the welcome email, was up and running and available 24/7 so all of our users had access to fully functioning passages (with quizzes graded) without a stop in service or access. I understand that's really frustrating, but as we outline in our welcome email, we keep a complete clone and back up of the site for our users to have access to incase there's an issue. The glitch we did have was fixed in less than a day once it came to our attention.

    Of course, if you're unhappy with our course, I'm happy to offer you a full refund as I am with any other of our customers. If you have a moment, we'd really appreciate it if you wrote an update to your post to confirm that the glitch was solved.
     
  48. premed_5656

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    I have a question regarding mapping out passages and taking notes while reading. The 30 Days PDF advises against this. For passages that are primarily informative, or explain how to do something, I've found that several questions ask how to use the information that has been provided.

    For passages like these, is it best to still avoid taking down notes while reading? The technique I have been using is not taking notes and instead fully engaging with the material. For questions that are specific to information provided, I then go back to the passage. I'm not sure if this technique is encouraged considering timing and avoiding going back to the passage. Are there any tips you'd recommend for these passages?

    Thank you for your time.
     
  49. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @premed_5656 - Thank you for writing! Really appreciate it!

    I really don't think the note-taking strategy works for any type of passage or question type. The reason is two-fold: 1) It's a major time sink for most students. And as you probably know, nearly everyone struggles with finishing on time and not rushing on the CARS, especially early on. So, practicing a strategy that only exacerbates those problems doesn't help students get their timing on track and in most cases, it hurts. 2) The reality is that if you need to reference notes for a 500 to 600 word passage you just read to remind yourself what is being said, you probably haven't read the passage thoroughly enough and still need to develop your critical reading skills. If you take a pole of 128+ scorers on the CARS, I don't think I've ever heard of someone using the note-taking strategy. They've developed the skill of summarizing as they go through the passage and use selective highlighting to supplement their mental summaries.

    I think it's fine to go back to the passage if you're able to finish the CARS on time, in fact, there will be questions will this will almost certainly be necessary. My suggestions about not returning to the passage are more geared towards students who are running out of time regularly. If you're in that camp, you can't afford to go back to the passage repeatedly if you're having to rush the last few passages.

    My suggestion would be using the review techniques we outline regarding passage and paragraph summary after you finish taking the test while you're reviewing. This allows you to practice summarizing and yet doesn't mess up your timing and developing your correct CARS pacing intuitions.

    Let me know if you have any other questions. Wishing you the very best of luck!

    Warmest,
    Nick
     
  50. Abnous

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    Hey Nick, what is the best thing to do, if I find myself reading a passage (or even a few paragraphs), and realizing I have not kept track of the structure or didn't completely understand the point the author was trying to make? (I am aware of the benefits of reviewing the passage as mentioned in the last few days of the 30 day guide. However, what is the best solution come test day, and this situation occurs? Thanks in advance)
     
  51. TestingSolutions

    TestingSolutions Eating CARS for Breakfast Since 2013
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    @Abnous - This is an excellent question! I think the very first piece of advice I would give is that with each paragraph of the passage you read, you should always be focused on what the point of that paragraph is. I would even go so far as to recommend that you pause at the end of the paragraph and highlight (as briefly and as in few words as you can, NO complete sentences) that main point in the authors own words. Doing so will be a failsafe way of being sure that you don't just mindlessly read or keep progressing through the passage without some degree of comprehension. Having a pause between each paragraph to highlight the claim or main point will prevent this from happening. If you find yourself struggling to keep track of the structure of the passages regularly, I'd recommend you try this.

    Another possibility if this only happens occasionally is that your mentally fatigued and having trouble staying focused. There are two solutions to this: 1) practice increasing the number of passages you do gradually, starting with 3 or 4 passage blocks and working up. Like lifting weights, this will allow you to work up to the mental stamina you'll need for the CARS. 2) be sure you always take three deep breaths between each passage. This allows you to both clear your mind and take a brief rest before starting again. Going straight through 9 passages in 90 minutes without a second to clear your mind is a sure recipe for losing concentration at some point. Your mind will wander at some point. Taking a 9 3 breath breaks is just you choosing when it happens.

    Best of luck and let me know if there's anything we can help with! Keep up the hard work
     

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