If you’re a slow or bad reader, you probably have a lot of trouble with CARS.
Most MCAT reading comprehension strategies tend to boil down to either “get better at reading” or “take notes while you read”. This is unhelpful at best, and actively harmful at worst. Notes take time and don’t actually help you answer the questions.
So, if you shouldn’t take notes, what should you do?
Use the questions to tell you what information to answer in the passages.
Here’s the key: you’ll never be asked to understand everything in the passage. You’re never going to have to write an essay on the passage.
Instead, there’s specific information in the passage that each question is based on. It’s often just one sentence. Even for more complicated questions, like primary purpose questions, it’s based on just a few sentences, like the first sentence or two of each paragraph.
So, your process as a MCAT taker is the following:
- Figure out what part of the passage the question is asking about
- Read and understand that part of the passage
- Pick the answer choice that corresponds to that part of the passage
That’s it. That’s the entire process.
Now, of course, that can be tricky, especially in more difficult passages. That’s why I’ve made a Youtube video on how best to solve these tricky CARS questions.
If you’re looking for practice with detailed answer explanations, you should get my book on the MCAT CARS Process.