What does it take to improve your MCAT CARS score? I can assure you there is no magic “Improve MCAT CARS Score” button. I believe there are three qualities that can drastically improve your MCAT CARS score: persistence, strategy, and confidence. Below I’ll explain why each will have the potential to improve your MCAT CARS score.
Improve MCAT CARS Score: Persistence
To improve, you’ll need to put in the time the MCAT CARS section deserves. You can’t cram for this section and improve in two weeks. You may need two months or more. But if you put in the work, you will undoubtedly improve and see the results you want. Hard-work means patience. It means you are willing to struggle and to keep attacking this section until you are absolutely ready. This means doing a lot of practice. Yet, persistence alone is not enough to improve on the CARS section of the MCAT.
Improve MCAT CARS Score: Strategy
Students believe practice is the most important tip to improve on the MCAT CARS section. But unfortunately, practice is useless if you haven’t acquired an MCAT CARS strategy. A strategic approach does not mean some complicated method. It simply means you have clear objectives each time you read a passage and it also means learning to stay focused. You could do a hundred EK passages. Or a hundred TPR passages and still score low on this section. You need to stick to a method that works for you and that you have learned through exposure. You then have to consistently practice each passage using the same strategy. That takes a lot of mental effort and focus. I call practicing with a strategy consistently, “perfect practice.” You are not simply practicing. You are practicing the right way. This takes discipline. Focusing on a method that you can replicate on test day is critical to improving not just on the CARS section but on every other section of the MCAT.
Improve MCAT CARS Score: Confidence
Confidence is probably the most important of the three qualities you need to improve your MCAT CARS score. You could have practiced a ton of passages and you could have acquired the best strategy in the world to tackle the MCAT CARS section, but none of that matters if you can’t stay cool under pressure. The MCAT CARS section is written in a way to intimidate you and to trick you. They want you to doubt yourself. If you have ever read through part of passage and thought, “I have no idea what I’m reading!” you fell for the AAMC’s trap. Their goal is to scare and confuse you. You have to realize this and learn coping mechanisms to prevent you from panicking. Giving in to your anxiety will prevent you from improving your MCAT CARS score. Your anxiety about the mundane nature of the passages, not finishing the section on time, and the difficulty of the questions is due to a lack of confidence.
You can improve your confidence level by studying the AAMC CARS passages currently available to students. AAMC passages from the CARS Question Packs Volume 1 and Volume 2 were written by the MCAT creators. If you study the pattern of these passages you’ll notice a trend to how they ask questions, what kind of topics they usually discuss and the language the passages use. Once you are aware of these trends and learn to handle psychological pitfalls you will most likely increase your MCAT CARS score.