Why MCAT CARS Is More Important Than You Think and How to Get Started

For even more motivation and tips that will help you optimize your CARS prep, check out our CARS Mastery Course here →


Sometimes the best advice comes from the power of hindsight. At least that's the case for your MCAT Mastery mentor and top scorer Ariana.

Only after scoring a 515 on test day and starting medical school did she realize these key pieces of information about the MCAT that would have made her prep even easier:

1. Why CARS is actually so much more important than premeds think and
2. How to get started with CARS
so that you reach your goal score.

That’s why Ariana’s put together all of the advice she wants premeds to know about CARS in our newest video so that you can conquer CARS and reach your goal score just like she did!

If you think you could use a boost to your CARS score, check out Ariana’s helpful video (and commentary below 👇). Find out the many different ways why MCAT CARS is important and more importantly, how you can get started to crush the section on test day!

The Real Reason Why MCAT CARS Is Important

CARS shows medical schools that you are able to think critically and reason through information provided to you. 

The questions are formulated such that you read a passage on a subject and you answer questions based on that passage. It tests your ability to think objectively and assess a question with limited information without relying on prior knowledge. 

The passages included in CARS are relatively short but complex, thought-provoking, and intricately written, according to AAMC

The answers to the questions are in the passages themselves!

That means that you can answer these without any additional reading or external knowledge. Most importantly, this also lets you succeed in CARS without memorizing loads of information, so you can dedicate more time to preparing for other knowledge-driven MCAT sections.

How to Get Started With CARS?

The great thing about preparing for the MCAT CARS section is that you don’t need to memorize a lot of information! 

Preparing for CARS should not take the bulk of your allotted time preparing for the MCAT. To do well in CARS, practice makes perfect. 

You don’t have to spend several hours a day preparing for CARS. In fact, only 1 to 2 hours of practice is sufficient to prepare you and build up your confidence for this section. Aim to practice answering 2 to 3 passages per day. 

There are free MCAT CARS practice tests online, but you can also optimize the AAMC CARS question pack to test yourself every day.

To master CARS, there are a couple of ways to help you.

First, become familiar with how you read each passage. Highlight the important parts and take note of the keywords used in the paragraph. 

Before reading the questions for the passage, write down the main idea, so you have something you can easily refer to when answering the question and narrowing down your choices. 

Contrary to popular belief, don’t read the questions before you read the passage! These may include trap questions, which might negatively influence how you interpret or analyze the information. 

A pro tip: work from the bottom up! Read the last choice first

Most of the time, the letter A is a trap choice. Looking at the last choice first can help you look at each option more critically and aid you to identify what’s being said and what you are reading.

Second, once you have established the technique on how to read the passage, analyze the information, and answer the question, you can optimize your speed and timing. 

Remember, the MCAT is a timed test. You can time yourself first to know how many minutes it takes you to read the passage, think critically and process the information, read the questions and make your choice. Then, you can work your way by limiting how long it takes you for each session of CARS practice.

Strategies To Overcome Difficulties And Improve Your CARS Score

Ariana’s strategies don’t end there because she also helped create our very own CARS Mastery Course and Complete MCAT Strategy Course, both full of even more efficient and proven strategies from our highest MCAT scorers. 

We remember how challenging CARS was for us when we were preparing for our MCATs. So many feelings of frustration, disappointment, and confusion.

Why are we telling you this?

Because CARS is challenging for MOST students! So try not to be too hard on yourself during the prep process.

Even top scorers struggle with CARS to start, but with practice and the right strategies, they overcome their difficulties and so will you.

You got this!

The MCAT Mastery Team
Your MCAT Success Mentors


The MCAT Mastery Team

About the Author

We're a team of future doctors passionate about giving back and mentoring other future doctors! All mentors on the team are top MCAT scorers and we all are committed to seeing you succeed in achieving your physician dreams ????To help you increase your MCAT score to the competitive mark quickly, we have collaboratively created these self-paced MCAT strategy courses and are also available for one-on-one tutoring!


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