MCAT Tips: How To Improve CARS MCAT?

CARS is considered the most challenging part of the MCAT. So how to improve CARS MCAT? Here we will provide you with steps and tips to ace this MCAT part.

May 13, 2022

Most students have difficulty with how to increase their CARS performance on the MCAT, particularly if they want to repeat the exam. The critical analysis and reasoning (which is popularly known as the test segment of CARS) component of the MCAT is different from the other scientific portions in that it focuses nearly exclusively on readings, analytic, and methodological abilities. For the time being, it may be complicated to understand what this implies in terms of your MCAT study timetable.

How to improve CARS MCAT is always a topic of interest to many candidates. You may enhance your CARS score by following the techniques outlined in this article and then go into the MCAT confident that you can handle anything it tosses at you.

What’s so special about CARS?

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It’s common knowledge that CARS is different from some other three parts of the MCAT, but understanding how it works is critical if you want to succeed on this portion. There are passage-based questions in every part of the MCAT, but there are no particular section questions in CARS. It has 53 questions spread out across nine sections, with an average of five to seven questions in each.

As previously said, you will not be asked to recollect formulas or facts; rather, you will be asked to demonstrate your talents in analytical analysis, analysis, and problem-solving skills via active reading. The other portions of the MCAT rely heavily on these abilities, but the purpose of CARS is to assess these abilities purely on the basis of the candidate’s ability to apply previously acquired information. It’s critical to understand the passages in the MCAT physics portion in order to answer the questions that follow, although you may already be familiar with the vast majority of the knowledge needed to do so.

To evaluate your capacity to read and comprehend new information, CARS uses unexpected passages and themes. Consideration of any outside information is discouraged while confronting a CARS passage. CARS method, after which, focuses on sharpening the knowledge required to extensively but proficiently perform this new content, and to assume on your feet in an elevated atmosphere very well to respond to questions depending on this substance only, with little or no background experience required.

There’s no need for years of preparation or a master’s degree in literary analysis to accomplish what may seem to be an impossible task. There are several tactics you may use even if you’re studying on your own to increase your CARS score, even if you don’t take an MCAT preparation material.

5-step process to boost your MCAT CARS score

How to get better at the CARS MCAT? Even though this list isn’t a comprehensive answer about what we instruct in our deliberations would take a large number of documents to adequately explain and encapsulates the fundamentals of how to address CARS practice questions in a manner that will significantly decrease the understanding of the unforeseen circumstances and help you improve your CARS score throughout your comprehensive MCAT diagnostic and practice assessments. Some more techniques for sharpening your analytical and decision-making abilities will also be discussed in this section.

As we go forward, we’ll start with “long-term” initiatives, which refer to techniques that take time to execute.

Step 1: Re-enroll in coursework that is important

Prior to discussing what you should do in the months leading up to your MCAT exam, it’s important to note that CARS preparation starts well before you decide on a start date for your MCAT study regiment in the narrow sense. There is no quick fix for developing analytical and understanding abilities. It’s a good idea to take a few more humanities and social science classes before your CARS test date if you can, as English is a common necessity for medical school.

This will not only help you prepare for CARS, but also for a future in medicine. A good rule of thumb is whether you’re able to fit in a minimum 1-2 of these programs in between finding your CARS challenges and your next linked to increased levels if you have given yourself sufficient time.

  • English

The importance of particular literary abilities for a medical profession is often underestimated by science-oriented students, although they are critical to doing well on the CARS exam. Throughout most medical institutions, students are required to take 2-4 college courses of English courses. As a result, approach your first English classes as important skill experiences, and then fill up any gaps in your selected schools’ requirements with a curriculum that fascinates you.

In addition to helping you improve your reading comprehension abilities, these specialized courses may expose you to a broader range of texts and help you become more flexible when dealing with the sometimes unusual breadth of CARS sections. While CARS sections won’t take you back to Middle English or ancient literature, familiarizing yourself with Victorian and even Renaissance literature can help you better adjust to strange syntax and language in these more modern periods. When choosing a literature course subject, emphasis on active or close reading, which is the most significant aspect of the course.

  • Philosophy

The development of critical thinking skills and an understanding of diverse argument structures are two of the most important things students learn in their first courses in philosophy. Both of them are necessary for success in CARS, therefore while you’re in college, think about taking one or more of the following specifications:

  • Philosophy: Introduction
  • An introduction to critical thinking and logical reasoning
  • Scientific Reasoning: A Beginner’s Guide
  • Philosophy of Society and/or the Political System
  • Applied Phenomenology
  • Philosophy of Literature and Bioethics

If you go beyond the basic philosophy classes, there is a lot of potential for personal inquiry. CARS sections may benefit from the terminology of social and political philosophy in addition to long-term training in ethics or philosophies of science.

  • Psychology and Sociology

Take at least 1 to 2 modules in basic psychology and sociology, and then you’ll be well-prepared for the MCAT’s psychology part as well as for the CARS exam. Subdivisions to examine in addition to basic or 100-level introduction lessons: 

  • The study of biology and/or cognition
  • Psychotherapy for Children’s Growth and Development
  • The relationship between the mind and the body
  • The Study of Human Relations
  • Psychiatry of Health
  • Gender and/or Sexuality Psychology

Furthermore, these categorizations may be found in the MCAT’s PSBB section, which discusses forces and structures that seem to have a significant impact on how healthcare is performed and administered. It’s particularly beneficial whether you’re planning to attend a medical institution such as Mayo or Johns Hopkins that focuses on public health services.

Step 2: Become acquainted with the unknown

It’s the innovation and difficulty of CARS’ portions that deter so numerous students from taking the test seriously. In your exam, you may be tested on everything from anthropological studies to passages from Victorian novels. As a result, how could you study since you don’t know what you’ll be studying?

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: CARS isn’t always about what you learn; it’s about how you learned. We suggest developing a list of books, periodicals, and brief articles that are primarily out of your personal bubble at the beginning of your studies. It’s possible even if you’re an unconventional candidate from the classics, you’ll be more accustomed to tough non-science materials, but for many medical students, everything outside the disciplines might be disconcerting or irritating.

Early diversification of reading is the only solution, and it should be done in an effort that doesn’t place undue strain on yourself, at least initially. New and unknown texts may be included in your preparation in a regulated and well-considered manner. Exhausted and lacking the stamina to properly process and think about all of the stuff you’ve read won’t be the result of compressing 10 books and a couple of philosophy magazines together into a one- or two-week period entirely devoted to CARS preparation.

To begin with, you must be sympathetic with yourself even while adhering to your daily routine as scheduled. The capacity to adapt to new information and language may be developed by reading one book a week or reading a maximum of 3 articles a week.

To sum it all up, although patience is a virtue, it’s also important to push oneself to read books that are both mentally and emotionally taxing. Consider great writers such as Charles Dickens, or the Bronte sisters rather than any Stephen King book if you want to get the most out of your reading time. Pop history may also be too accessible to truly challenge your mental faculties, so you may want to look into the works of scholars like Stephen Jay Gould, Barbara Tuchman, or Mary Douglas, who are more closely associated with academia.

In the end, the amount of difficulty that best meets your requirements and talents is somewhat relative, so be careful not to overshoot as well. For those who find it hard to complete one chapter of a book, it’s possible to switch to more easy material and progress to more difficult reading each week. A wide and demanding cuisine is the primary objective here.

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Step 3: Achieve a higher level of active reading

Adding to and clarifying the previous point, After you’ve planned your MCAT CARS prep readings, you’ll want to organize your approach to them. Not power-reading your difficult materials is due in part to the fact that you must learn not only about their peculiarities but also how to navigate through them. You will find it much more difficult to maintain your speed in an exam if you become distracted by the often verbose sentence structure found in academic writing. It’s also possible to overlook the layers of meaning behind Faulkner’s stream-of-consciousness writing when you’re preparing for CARS by reading his works. There are a number of skills that you must possess in order to understand what you’re reading.

Active reading involves reading your content out loud. This is the most effective method. For even the most part, reading aloud is best done to oneself rather than in front of an audience, since you may slow down and reread phrases to properly digest the material before going on to the next single paragraph. That doesn’t need listeners. Make a concerted effort to pick out key ideas or features from the texts you’re reading, such as strong argumentation lines, allusions, and other literary techniques.

If you’re reading history, social science, or philosophy work, you can certainly approach each page or section like a CARS section, re-articulating a section’s primary points and details, and its author’s viewpoint on the material they’ve stated. You must be able to use your ability to quickly identify and effectively communicate the core message of a passage when narrowing down possible solutions on exam day.

Active reading also involves critically analyzing and speculating on what you’re reading. A counterargument isn’t necessary for every argument, but if something seems odd or if an argument doesn’t make sense, attempt to explain why that is the case. Even the finest academic authors make errors, which is why the CARS section relies so much on quotes from them. In every situation, you should avoid glossing over words or concepts that seem difficult to read, even if they are unsubstantiated claims, unnecessary terminology, or a flat-out erroneous assumption. Having the ability to figure out why something doesn’t function or at least doesn’t appear to work on test day is critical.

Step 4: Limit the number of possibilities for your answers 

In both your study and testing phases, this holds true. After reading a chapter, the very first thing you need to do is eliminate any inaccurate or misleading response alternatives. In this sense, the AAMC doesn’t do anything that would make it more difficult to pick between two possibilities than the four that are shown to participants. That is to say, there will almost always be at least one or two replies that absolutely reek of incorrectness and should be promptly eliminated from consideration.

The error that many students make is staying with a peculiar answer and switching back into the text to see whether this or that alternative can be proven. “Trick question sickness” is what we would name it, and the diagnosis is nearly invariably an incorrect response. In CARS, the AAMC isn’t intentionally attempting to confuse you, so if one response appears completely out of the left field and doesn’t make sense in light of the other answers, it’s very certainly incorrect.

In the event that one response stands out as distinctive and the other 3 are veiled in the identical wrong camouflage, it’s probable to become the proper answer without the need to decompress and analyze it in order to be certain.  But don’t dismiss your instincts when it comes to the CARS component of the exam. Before going on, cut through the clutter and select the best or most probable responses.

Because you’ll have limited time to actually read your passages, it’s critical that you practice swiftly whittling down your list of possible responses. In CARS, it’s critical to proceed slowly and deliberately to avoid being bogged down in the mud. This is not because you’ll run out of steam, but rather because you’ll exhaust your mental resources in the second part before you’ve even reached the exam’s midway mark.

The last piece of advice is to time yourself as you go through the MCAT CARS sample questions and answers to make sure you don’t go over the allotted 10 minutes for any specific line of text. Early in your MCAT CARS preparation, you should not time yourself since you should be concentrating on selecting the right answers. However, as your abilities improve you should speed up and time yourself in practice. In addition, you should strive to answer 90% of the questions correctly by the time you realize the real MCAT exam.

Step 5: Be able to explain why your answer is correct

As well as knowing why an answer is right, you ought to be able to explain it to yourself in your own words. On the day of the exam, you won’t have the time or inclination to accomplish this, but it’s a good analogy to the regulated application of intuition discussed before. There is a chance that a response is accurate even if you cannot explain why. Reliability in your answers is essential during your preparation, and much more so while taking the exam.

You must avoid rambling or hesitancy. Giving yourself an additional 10-15 seconds, as necessary, to ensure that you have an articulate idea of why you’ve selected a certain response on the CARS section is antagonistic to maintaining a confident pace. Feeling that sudden twinge of insecurity and looking forward to going back to a preceding issue.

Additionally, this shows why active reading tactics are so crucial to successful exam performance. The average chimp might pretty much guess one or two accurate answers on CARS, but you, as a logical and understanding human being, need a well-oiled mechanism in your brain that can evaluate and pick responses based on content and past knowledge. Regardless of how difficult it may be, resist the second force and keep reading actively the entire CARS. Don’t skim or guess at portions out of fatigue or fear.

How to improve your MCAT CARS score in a week?

To begin, we really would like to stress that studying for the CARS part will take more than a week. CARS training should begin even before you choose to take tests, as we’ve discussed in several of our posts. You’ll be adequately equipped for the CARS test if you practice reading and comprehending complicated literature throughout high school and university. So how to improve the CARS score MCAT in a week? A week before the MCAT CARS, there are several MCAT test prep tactics that you may use to increase your performance by a few points.

Make sure you’re acquainted with the different types of CARS questions

So it’s worth reiterating: This is critical to CARS’ success. If you haven’t mastered this crucial part of your MCAT preparation, now is the time to spend a few hours the week before the exam practicing how to recognize the different CARS types of questions.

Do you know why it matters so much? Because question types tell you what you need to do in order to get the right response. If for illustration, you see a question from the Fundamentals of Interpretation, you’ll know that the solution is hidden somewhere in the paragraph. For example, you’re searching for the passage’s central message, the writer’s perspective, or the argument.

To address a Reasoning Within the Text question properly, look for evidence that supports the writer’s points of view, as well as points raised by the writer’s critics, in the paragraph.

In addition, if you are asked to apply your critical thinking abilities and the author’s arguments to a hypothetical circumstance, you will realize that you’ll need to do so.

Remember to read and answer the text and questions in the order in which they are provided while going over the passage and questions. Foundations of Comprehension questions are often asked initially. As soon as possible, you should answer these questions. Reasoning Foundations of Comprehension questions are often posed after reading passages in the Text, and this allows you an opportunity to better comprehend the arguments made within.

It’s not until you’ve finished reading and comprehending the paragraph that you’ll be able to apply the passage’s reasoning to circumstances outside of the text. Some sections and questions may deviate from this sequence, but most adhere to it throughout the main body of the text.

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Become a master of timing

Timing is key on the MCAT. Even if speed isn’t an issue when you begin your MCAT preparation, it’s essential to practice in a timed, realistic environment a week before your examination date. To refresh your memory, the following is some important information about the MCAT CARS scheduling:

The CARS section will take you 90 minutes to finish. A total of 53 questions may be found in the 9 sections, with 5 to 7 questions in each paragraph. As a result, you are limited to no more than ten minutes of travel time on every CARS route. A bit more time may be allotted for a paragraph in the CARS part, but try not to spend more than 10 to 15 minutes on each one of them.

Then, what can you do to ensure that you meet your deadlines on time? One of the best ways to increase your reading speed is to avoid becoming distracted by the passage’s little features, such as unfamiliar terminology or identifiers.

If you’ve been studying for the MCAT CARS for a few months already, you shouldn’t start reading an Oxford Press dictionary only a few days before the exam. It’s easy to be distracted by unfamiliar terms and phrases, but that doesn’t mean that understanding them is the key to getting the answers you need. The paragraphs’ narrative, content, and arguments should be the focus of your attention. The fact that you don’t understand a few words should have no impact on your ability to identify the proper answer.

Second, it doesn’t matter whether you notice any identifiers in a paragraph. You may save a lot of time if you don’t allow your attention to wander when reading a passage’s content. Don’t worry if your section includes references to locations and individuals you’ve never heard of. Focus on the argument and supporting evidence rather than any identifiers in the sentence. There are no identifiers in any Reasoning Outside the Text questions, so you must depend only on the text and your critical thinking abilities.

Become acquainted with wrong question identification

A week before your exam, in case you find yourself unable to identify at least the incorrect selections, you may wish to reevaluate your test date, as we suggested in the post. While getting the right answer is your ultimate aim, you should be able to narrow down your selections after going through the response alternatives within a few seconds.

When it comes to MCAT CARS time, this is a huge aid. It allows you more opportunities to pick the proper answer. The only way to become better at this is to be able to recognize the kind of question you are being asked. In a matter of seconds, you’ll be able to eliminate all but a few of the incorrect answers and be left with only a handful that seems most plausible.

Always provide an answer though you aren’t sure of the response

This goes hand in hand with the last piece of advice. In the event that you are unable to clearly distinguish between the correct and incorrect responses, you will have a higher chance of picking the correct one if you can identify the incorrect ones. If you have five possible answers in front of you, your chances of selecting the right one are just 20%. Chances of winning go up to 50% if you limit your responses to just two. The odds of getting the question correct are substantially higher now. In addition, remember that you will not be punished for guessing. Do not leave any questions unanswered since you will not be penalized for incorrect responses.

Take time to read the newspaper 

Using this technique, you can keep up with your other responsibilities while preparing for the CARS exam at home. Please go back to our prior blog post for more information on how to improve your reading comprehension skills. All day long, use these principles in almost everything you study. Take the time to read the newspaper from cover to cover when you commute to work or school.  Take care to have your own words while responding to these questions. Finally, keep in mind that you may choose to postpone your MCAT test date if you do not adequately prepare for it.

Final thought

How to improve CARS MCAT? The answer is mentioned above. But finally,  The MCAT and your preparation process for the MCAT test should be taken seriously, but don’t go overboard. Do not worry when something doesn’t instantly make sense, and do not let the intricacy of a paragraph inhibit your critical thinking abilities.

Because if you approach CARS as if you’re this unearthly intellectual behemoth you’re simply trying to keep up with, you won’t have any faith in your answers. Instead, you must concentrate on the passage’s substance and main points and not be intimidated by stylistic embellishments or other unexpected elements. Even though you can’t fully prepare for CARS by following the methods outlined above, you’ll be able to adapt through one of those parts of the exam that can’t be completely perfectly foreseen.

How to improve on CARS MCAT completely depends on you. Let’s get started with our free MCAT practice test to pass the exam on the first try with a high score.

We hope that this article can be beneficial for your preparation process. Good luck!