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Blog / How Many Passages On MCAT Cars 2015

MCAT CARS Number of Passages is 9

Written by Jack Westin on Oct 10, 2019

MCAT CARS Number of Passages is 9

MCAT CARS number of passages?
Answer: 9 Passages

The MCAT exam changed in April 2015. The MCAT CARS section stands for “Critical Analysis and Reading Section”. The old CARS section prior to April 2015 was known as the “Verbal Reasoning Section”. So if someone says, “what was your verbal score?” they are really asking about the CARS section.


MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS)

Type of Change Details
Time Limit 90 Minutes
Number of Passages 9
Number of Questions 53
Type of Passages Social Sciences and Humanities (notice, CARS does not have Natural Science Passages)
Presentation Questions presented one at a time. When you press, “next” in the navigation bar near the bottom, it will take you to the next question for that passage. If you keep pressing next until all of the questions for that specific passage have been shown, it will take you to the next passage.

Natural science passages were articles on science-related topics. For instance, you might have had a passage on how global warming is causing polar icecaps to melt. It would get into a detailed discussion on the actual process. But now, you only have passages from the social science and humanities at a 50% ratio. So you should expect to see about 4 passages in the humanities and 5 passages in the social sciences or 5 passages in the humanities and 4 passages in the social sciences. However, the MCAT gives us averages so don’t be alarmed if you see more or less of each on your actual exam.

The new CARS section gives students more time to answer each question but it’s not by much. Although the new section gives students an additional 30 minutes, there at 2 more passages along with 20 more questions. The amount of questions a passage has depends on the passage. But no matter what, you will see 53 questions total for CARS.

If we go based on a Time/Passage ratio, we get 8.5 Mins per passage for the old Verbal Reasoning Section. We get 10 mins per passage for the new CARS section. This is in a lot of ways a benefit but don’t forget, you’re are going to be asked 20 more questions on the new exam. I think in the end, the new exam gives students a little longer to answer the questions but not by much if you measure it correctly. The extra questions allows the MCAT to better predict your actual score since there are more questions. More questions means your score isn’t going to be affected as much by one bad passage or a couple of bad questions.

Besides the lack of natural science passages, the Verbal Section is nearly identical to the CARS section. They will most likely use the same passages that have been used in the past 7-8 years to make up the new CARS section. Bottom line: it’s the same exam but in a new format.

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