Is the CARS section of the MCAT turning out to be one of your biggest challenges during MCAT prep?
Do you finish reading a passage and have no idea how to move forward with identifying the right answer?
Are you struggling with timing, comprehension, and identifying the most important points in CARS passages?
Lastly, are you hoping to increase your CARS score as soon as possible?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, this CARS strategy article was written for you.
The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. - Jimmy Johnson
Doctors all over the world believed, for decades, that stomach ulcers and stomach cancers were the result of spicy foods, a lot of acid, and too much stress.
Barry Marshall however, had different beliefs. As an Australian physician, and microbiology researcher, he believed that ulcers were in fact, triggered by bacteria; Helicobacter Pylori.
To most, this idea seemed crazy.
But to Marshall and his lab partner, this was the truth.
Unfortunately for both of them, they had been unable to provide evidence for how bacteria and ulcers are linked. They had conducted numerous lab experiments on pigs and now, his grant money was almost finished.
Disheartened, Marshall gained his confidence when he saw that thousands of people were dying from stomach cancer every year.
The cure, he believed, was easily available: antibiotics. But mainstream gastroenterologists dismissed his conclusions, as they held on to the old beliefs that ulcers were caused by stress.
Not being able to make his case in studies with lab mice since H. pylori only affects primates, Marshall grew desperate.
To make matters worse, he was unable to experiment on people which was the only way he could prove what he already knew, and save thousands of lives.
It was July 1984, when Marshall did the unthinkable.
He experimented on the only human patient he could be allowed to experiment on...
Recently, one of our MCAT Mastery Community members wrote in to us and expressed their biggest frustration with the MCAT...
My biggest challenge is timing. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get it down and that is when my anxiety kicks in, and it all goes downhill from there. My biggest fear is that this will be the one obstacle that will keep me from going to medical school. I am hoping to increase by around 25 points.
Someone else wrote in and said...
I am a slow test taker so timing on the exam is what really stresses me. I have a very competitive GPA and resume but I fear that my MCAT score will hold me back in the admissions process. I need about a 10 point score increase.
Timing is one of the biggest frustrations of students writing the MCAT and we completely get it.
Nothing can be worse than not being able to finish passages or having to guess on answer choices that you intuitively know you can answer correctly.
After years of researching the MCAT prep strategies of top MCAT scorers, we've discovered the solutions to the 'MCAT timing' problem.
It takes a little practice, but you can get to the point where you finish the MCAT with extra time left over to double check all your flagged answers.
So let's begin...
One of the most common, most painful experiences for MCAT test-takers everywhere is taking the MCAT and receiving a disappointing MCAT score...
Knowing you'll have re-test.
It can be discouraging and we hope this MCAT success story inspires you.
We want this to be the last time you ever write the MCAT.
We hope these MCAT success stories give you the confidence you need to know that you CAN get a significant increase in your MCAT score that makes you competitive for med-school.
We also hope you use these case studies to not only use the top scorer tips recommended, but also to learn from their mistakes so you don't make similar ones.
With that said, in this article, we'd like to introduce you to Suman Ali, a top scorer at MCAT Mastery.
When Suman first wrote the MCAT, she scored a 503:
Over the years, we’ve helped thousands of MCAT test takers increase their scores to competitive levels and it’s obvious that Chem/Phys and CARS are two of the most challenging sections for most.
As we research and interview 510+ scorers and their strategies they use to dominate the MCAT, we also single out those who score over 130 (we usually single out 132 scorers) in particular sections and try to drill down on the most powerful strategies they used for those specific sections.
In this post, we’re going to provide you with some of the most effective 130+ C/P scorer strategies which you can apply right away to increase your C/P score fast and get over that 130 level yourself.
So let’s begin…
In this article, we've done a full step-by-step demonstration for you of how a 130+ CARS scorer would go through all the paragraphs of an AAMC CARS passage, analyze all the questions and all the answer choices, and consistently identify the right answer choice.
It's our hope that with this and the many other CARS passage dissections we have for you, you are able to get a better understanding of how all the strategies we talk about, are applied in different scenarios.
Before going through this, it would be helpful if you're already familiar with a lot of the top scorer CARS strategies we mention throughout our blog and emails. But if not, you'll still find this valuable (you might just miss a few things here and there).
In order to follow along you’ll need to have access to the AAMC CARS Question Packs (Volumes 1 and 2).
Here we’ll be covering Passage 15 from Question Pack 1. Before moving on, make sure you have it open.
Over the last few months, we've received a lot of positive feedback about our emails with MCAT success stories and real MCAT Master case studies.
We hear you and we're happy to send you more as we continue to interview and hear back from top scorers in the community...
In today's MCAT success story, we'd like to introduce you to Rachel Stevenson:
"I am 34 years old, changing careers from business/finance to medicine. I went back to school to complete a Post-Bacc Cert and put myself on a pretty brutal schedule in order to get everything done in time to apply for medical school in the 2019 cycle, or about 2 years total.
I had a lot of anxiety about the MCAT, knowing that I had to "get it right" the first time in order to keep on track. About a week before the test, I started to panic. I was only getting 502s on the practice exams and the week before the test I was panicking and considering voiding my score..."
Imagine that it's a week before your MCAT test date and you're not anywhere near your target MCAT score! That definitely calls for a lot of anxiety and panic...
Did you know that 130+ scorers actually know and label the different types of sentences they come across in a typical CARS passage?
They know that if they can identify which type of sentence they’re reading, they’ll be able to gain a much better understanding of the passage, and pinpoint more correct answer choices.
This strategy is especially helpful for breaking down and understanding the messaging of the most difficult CARS passages.
Hey Future Doctor,
We have a question for you...
What's better than getting a jolt of inspiration from the success of someone who was once where you are now (struggling with the MCAT) but is now where you hope to be soon (with an amazing MCAT score)?
A: Discovering exactly what steps they took to get there!
In this post, you're going to get both: the inspiration + the steps 😉
Top MCAT scorers know a cold truth about the MCAT that most average scorers don’t (and they use this to their advantage)...
They know that the MCAT was designed, as it’s main purpose, to identify the most viable med-school candidates; those who are most likely to succeed in med-schools.
They want to identify the outliers – those who clearly stand out from the average applicants.
So how do they ensure that only the outliers reveal themselves?
Is your MCAT score not increasing fast enough?
Throughout our research, we’ve seen premeds who have improved their MCAT scores from 507 to 521, from 500 to 521, from 505 to 517, from 50th percentiles to 90th percentiles…. And the list goes on.
Sometimes they were able to do it in a matter of weeks. 18 days to get to a 100th percentile score is the record so far.
Clearly, something "clicks" for these top scorers that enables them to skyrocket their MCAT score FAST. There comes a moment where they just 'get it'.
By the time you're done reading this article, you'll have the key insights and the formula you need to make it 'click' for you too. How do we know all this? We've been studying top MCAT scorers for years (we'll talk more about that below).
"Success leaves clues. Go figure out what someone who was successful did and model it. Improve it, but learn their steps. They have knowledge." - Tony Robbins
But first, we want you to know that we understand exactly what it’s like…
When you’re constantly getting MCAT score results that aren’t what you expect, that aren’t where you need them to be competitive for med-school, you can’t help but feel defeated.
It’s discouraging when you can’t get over the 500 mark. It’s frustrating when your score isn’t increasing. Worst of all, it’s scary not knowing if you’ll increase your MCAT score enough when the MCAT date much closer than you’d like.
You wonder if you should push your MCAT date a little further. You wonder if you’ll have to retake the MCAT. Your confidence diminishes and you start searching for answers...
Your search for answers may have brought you here and it is our intention that after you read this article, you won’t have to look anywhere else.
We know for a lot of premeds, CARS is one of the biggest hurdles in getting a BALANCED, competitive score.
It’s frustrating to have one section holding you back from seeing the score improvement you need to hit your target score goal.
We completely get it and that’s why we decided to put some extra focus on CARS by recently releasing more articles and resources showing you exactly how 130+ scorers increased their CARS score and ended up dominating this section.
Plus, a lot of CARS strategies are also transferrable to other sections of the MCAT as well…
Which is why many top scorers have found that once they get a handle on CARS, everything else becomes easier.
Do you want to get the highest MCAT score that is within your capabilities?
Do you want to know the smartest, fastest, and simplest formula to make that happen?
In this article we'll cover 5 effective yet easy-to-apply MCAT strategies that can lead to a very quick score increase.
But first, understand that anyone who achieved a competitive MCAT score, did it by applying strategy to their MCAT prep.
The biggest reason most premeds end up writing the MCAT more than once is because they didn't understand that they need to study for the MCAT differently and a lot more strategically than how they've been studying for exams all their life.
They usually realize this after they bomb the first (or second) MCAT.
Next, realize that most of the MCAT strategies and 'studying tips' that are out there are useless. They're made by people who don't have any evidence to back up their claims.
The evidence we focus on is the only one that matters; the MCAT score.
If I'm going to spend my valuable time and energy applying someone's MCAT study strategy or tip, I need to be sure it works. I need to know what their MCAT score is and how many other high scorers have applied the same strategy.
The key to achieving a competitive MCAT score is using the same strategies top scorers have used to master the MCAT and get into med-school.
Without a high MCAT score, med-schools don't even bother looking at any other aspect of your application. The MCAT score is how they filter out who's application they're going to spend time looking at.
If you understand that one simple insight, you're already ahead of most MCAT writers and med-school applicants. Now, your level of success on the MCAT depends solely on what you do with this knowledge and if you actually apply it.
At MCAT Mastery, we're the intermediaries between MCAT writers like you and top MCAT scorers.
We do the research, we run paid interviews, and we bring top-scorer strategies directly to you for you to apply and skyrocket your MCAT score...
So you can achieve a competitive MCAT score and greatly increase your chances of getting admitted into your choice of med-school.
Here we've compiled 5 simple 'quick application' top-scorer MCAT strategies you can start using during your MCAT prep right away.
We recommend you take the time to read through and actually try out each one because most of the tips here can lead to an almost immediate increase in your next practice test score.
So let's begin...Continue reading
Are you frustrated with not being able to consistently get over the 500 hump on your MCAT practice exams?
Or maybe you've already written the MCAT before and couldn't seem to break that 500 barrier?
You're not alone. We've come across many MCAT writers in our community who faced the same frustrations...
But managed to successfully overcome it.
In this post, we'll discuss exactly how they do just that.
We were surprised to find out how underrated and often ignored CARS strategy (and CARS overall) is by premeds studying for the MCAT.
130+ CARS scorers on the other hand, take this section very seriously (sometimes even more than other sections).
The problem is most premeds view it as having a familiar format of passages and questions, and assume it's going to be easy.
As you've probably seen during practice exams, it's not. In fact, AAMC themselves tell you how complex this section is on their website...
"Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills passages are relatively short, typically between 500 and 600 words, but they are complex, often thought-provoking pieces of writing with sophisticated vocabulary and at times, intricate writing styles." - AAMC
Our focus at MCAT Mastery is to help you dominate the MCAT using the only method that has been proven to work over and over again…
Using strategy. Proven top MCAT scorer strategies.
In this case, in order to help you dominate CARS, we're going to focus on proven strategies from 130+ CARS scorers.
One of the biggest causes of disappointing MCAT scores is premeds not knowing how to deeply learn the vast amount of information the MCAT covers.
As we're sure you've already seen by now if you've started your MCAT prep, the MCAT covers a massive amount of information that you're expected to know.
This is information that you can't get away with just simply reading once or twice or simply just 'memorizing' either. You need to understand it all on an in-depth level.
Have you ever wondered how some premeds just simply ‘get’ the CARS section? How they easily master CARS with scores over 129?
Don't you wonder what they're doing differently than others who can’t stop scoring in the low 120s?
We wondered it too...
So we did some research on strictly 130+ CARS scorers (several 132 scorers). If they didn’t score 130 or more, we weren’t listening. We kept it exclusive.
We heard what these CARS Masters had to say and we discovered A LOT of powerful CARS strategies that most premeds don’t know about and aren’t applying.
And of course, we did this so we can share their secrets with you.
So you’ve decided to retake the MCAT…
We’re here to help you do this properly.
Perhaps you didn’t hit your target score the first time. Perhaps you’re worried your score isn’t good enough to get into your dream med school…
Regardless, you’ve made a bold decision and we’re here to support it.
If your MCAT is coming up, you know that studying for the MCAT is really stressful. Personally, we all hate the stress. We hate the anxiety.
Once it's there, especially when it's regarding something important, it just sits there in the pit of the stomach. It's the same for everyone....
And what happens when we're feeling that stress? We try relieve it by doing the only thing that we think will help...
Studying more. Studying harder. Locking ourselves in our room or in the library for hours on end, thinking we're being productive.
It's like the anxiety forces us to keep studying. It puts our mind and our body into 'hyper-drive', releasing tons of cortisol, as we attempt to ease ourselves by (ironically) stressing ourselves more.
If you're writing the MCAT, you'll likely experience this as the date gets closer and closer...
In this article, we want to show you:
Are you spending days studying for the MCAT and still seeing low scores?
Do you feel you're doing a decent job at memorizing and understanding concepts, but still not scoring as high as you want to?
For most premeds there comes a point during MCAT prep where you hit a brick wall. A certain score or a score range that you can’t get beyond.
Depending where you are in your MCAT prep it might be getting over the 500 mark, the 510 mark, or maybe it’s getting beyond mid 120’s on the CARS section.
Regardless, the walls are normal and come up almost inevitably for most students. But this can get extremely frustrating…
We truly feel you on that one. When your scores aren’t improving, and especially if you’ve gone days or weeks without seeing that improvement, things get scary.
But don't worry, it's not your fault. You just need to take a new perspective...
A lot of times, while studying or beginning to prepare for the MCAT, our mind gets bogged down with thoughts that make us feel anxious, nervous, or worried.
At MCAT Mastery, we know exactly what you’re going through because we’ve experienced it ourselves. There’s pressure from everywhere...
Time pressure especially!
So how do you stay calm in such stress-provoking times?
We'd like to share some guidance and insights that we leverage when we're getting incredibly stressed.
Here’s a simple and very common top MCAT scorer strategy that isn’t repeated enough and isn’t taken as seriously as it should be...
We suggest you take it seriously if you want to see some powerful improvements in your MCAT score:
Are your science sections suffering on the MCAT?
Do you feel like you know a lot, if not all, of the content but something is just off because it’s not reflecting in your score?
Are you looking for logical ways to approach those confusing science passages?
Do you want a quick score increase especially on the Chemistry/Physics section of the MCAT?
Did you know at least two weeks before your MCAT test date, as you're constantly doing practice exams...
You need to be consistently scoring near or above your target score.
If you're achieving this, you can confidently walk into the MCAT knowing you have a high chance of hitting your score goal.
But what if you're not scoring in the range of your goal score during MCAT practice exams?
If this is the case for you, you may need to reschedule your test date, depending on how bad you want and need that score.
Or if your MCAT is still a while away, how do you make sure you're scoring in that range when there are only a few weeks left?
One major factor is in how you're approaching MCAT practice exams.
In this article, we're going to cover 515+ scorer recommendations on how to strategically take and review MCAT practice exams.
Getting consistently low MCAT scores and feeling confused, frustrated, worried, and stressed during MCAT prep is the result of one simple but crucial failure on your part...
Your failure to use the correct MCAT study strategies.
If you know someone who scored high on the MCAT, they had a strategy.
Whether they actually know it or not, they were using techniques and shortcuts that most others weren't using, which led them to getting a competitive score.
At MCAT Mastery, we provide you with the secrets 510, 515, and even 520+ scorers used to master the MCAT.
In this article, you'll discover:
Memory questions make up 25% of science questions on the MCAT.
But that's not a problem right? All those science heavy classes in your undergrad years have made you quite impressive at memorization...
At least that's what you thought before you came across the big fat monster of an exam that is the MCAT!
The sheer volume of rules, equations, and concepts that we need to memorize for the MCAT still blows my mind.
Not only do you have to memorize it all, but also apply it all to unfamiliar situations. Which means drilling it all into your mind and knowing everything like the back of your hand come exam day.
So it makes sense if you're feeling overwhelmed, fearful, or nervous as you're studying for the MCAT - I'd be too!
But worry not future doctor, we have your back!
If you're struggling with consistently getting the right answer and the scores you're aiming for, memorization might just be your main problem.
We wrote this detailed article with some of the best ways top-scorers force themselves to deeply understand and remember all they need to know...
To destroy the MCAT once and for all.
Ready? Let's begin...
Are you unsure of how to start studying for the MCAT?
Are you overwhelmed, confused, or frustrated with the amount of information you need to cover?
Have you already been studying and not seeing scores improve as fast as they should?
We wrote this in-depth article on How To Study for the MCAT and Score in the 90the Percentile for you if you're determined to get a competitive MCAT score but aren't feeling the most confident right now.
We've done months and months of research and I can tell you with 100% certainty that those who destroy the MCAT, are approaching the MCAT from a different, more strategic angle than 90% of MCAT writers out there.
2018 MCAT test dates (list below) are out!
It's time to decide on the best and smartest testing date for YOU.
It's time to make an optimal study and testing plan based on your unique situation.
And it's time to figure out your overall strategic approach that will put you ahead of all your MCAT and med-school competitors.
We'll cover all of that and more in this post.
Remember that one person in your life told you “we all make mistakes”…
Stay away from them.
(At least until your MCAT is over!)
We as future doctors, can’t afford to be “okay” with mistakes!
Mistakes determine everything in our life and especially on the MCAT.
It’s not only the amount of right answers you get on the MCAT that contribute to your score, but it’s also the amount of mistakes you make that determine your score as well!
Making a mistake as a practicing medical professional can cost you everything!
However, as we’ll cover later in this post, mistakes (during the practice phase) can also be the REASON you succeed.
How? If you know how to use them to your advantage.
We’ll cover more about how to do use them to your advantage later in this post.
First, let’s talk about the stupid mistakes you keep making on the MCAT, or are bound to keep making eventually… (we all experience them!)
One of the biggest failures we see in those who are studying for the MCAT, is that they don't invest time and energy into maximizing their mental and physical performance abilities during this critical phase of their lives...
A phase on which the fate of their medical future rests.