We’re often asked what’s our biggest piece of advice for students studying for the MCAT Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills (CARS) section, or what used to be called the MCAT Verbal section. We can’t just give you one, so here’s our two biggest pieces of advice, and it’s the core of our course at the Cambridge Learning Center.
The first thing is to learn the fundamentals of language and rhetoric and to really master them. By that I mean that there are no tricks or shortcuts. Could you imagine only learning tips and tricks for Organic Chemistry and then trying to pass a test? No. You need to learn the concepts, the fundamentals.
Really learning and understanding something isn’t about tips and tricks. It’s about learning the fundamentals of whatever the subject is and building off of that. Just like you would have to learn the fundamentals of organic chemistry to pass an organic chemistry test, you have to learn the fundamentals of verbal reasoning to pass a verbal reasoning test, which is exactly what the MCAT Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills section is: a test of your verbal reasoning skills.
Not only are the fundamentals of verbal reasoning critical for scoring well on the CARS section, but they’re also critical to your future career as a doctor because it’s the same type of reasoning that you’ll be using to make differential diagnoses. Not sure how? Read more here.
So our first piece of advice is to master the fundamentals of language and the fundamentals of verbal reasoning. To help you with this you can check out the other articles in our blog or our Verbal Reasoning Series on YouTube.
Our second piece of advice, and it’s really critical, is to increase your brain functionality. There are neuroscience exercises that can increase your cognitive functioning and reasoning by 30-35%. There’s more information in our post, “Improve Your MCAT Score By Increasing Brain Functionality” and soon we’re going to be posting an article with links to research and information on the exercises themselves, so stay tuned.
If you follow our two pieces of advice, you’re really going to be able to drastically improve your MCAT CARS section score. Again, they key is to 1) learn the fundamentals of language and high-end reasoning and 2) do everything you can to increase brain functionality and your cognitive processing. Put those two things together, knowing what you’re doing and being able to do it in a more functional manner, and you’re really going to do well on the MCAT CARS section.