The following paragraph and related questions can give you an idea of what the MCAT CARS section of the test is like. Keep in mind that this is only an excerpt; an actual passage would be much longer, and would have from five to seven questions associated with it. (The answers are at the end so that you can try this out on your own.)
MCAT Practice Questions: CARS
1. Based on the passage, which of the following statements must be true?
A) If morality is extremely demanding, then one always ought to act so as to produce the best possible circumstances.
B) If moral standards do not preclude the personal projects humans find most fulfilling, then they are not that extreme.
C) Some people always act in ways that produce the best possible circumstances.
D) Morality precludes the personal projects that humans find most fulfilling.
2. Which of the following claims provides the most support in the passage for the “simple principle?”
A) Ethical projects should be completely without constraints.
B) Objections to the simple principle are difficult to imagine.
C) Moral theories are not less valid if they require great sacrifices.
D) Nobody always acts to produce the best possible circumstances.
Are You Prepared for CARS on the MCAT?
The answers to the questions are Question 1: B and Question 2: C. Bear in mind that these are very challenging questions that require critical analysis skills, and they are based on a very demanding passage. However, this is typical of what the MCAT is likely to present, and the name of the section says clearly what you need to have: Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.
Question #1 Explained
Question 1: The correct answer is B. The sentence in the passage is an “if X then Y” construction. For any “if X then Y” statement, the contrapositive will always be true: “if not Y, then not X.” This corresponds to answer choice B. Answer choice A is the inverse, which is not necessarily true; “if X then Y” does not necessarily mean that “if Y then X.” Answer choice C is something that might be true, but the question asks what must be true, which is not the same. Answer choice D is too extreme, as the author did not state that this was always true.
Question #2 Explained
Question 2: The correct answer is C. The benefits of the “simple principle” are discussed in the second paragraph, and the answer is stated almost word for word in the second sentence. Answer choice A is too extreme; although the author said constraints are difficult to imagine, he did not say that they should not exist. Answer choice B is exactly the opposite of the passage; several objections are laid out in the first paragraph. Answer choice D is also opposite, because it is used to argue against the “simple principle” rather than to support it.
The skills you need to do well on the CARS section of the MCAT are different from those on the rest of the test: there is no set content that you can learn. However, CARS requires certain strategies and skills, and these can be learned: reading efficiently by finding the most important information without getting caught up in details; understanding inferences, assumptions and arguments within passages; and practicing questions that are similar to those found on the MCAT CARS section.
You can learn more about the CARS section of the test in the larger context of the entire MCAT here.
MCAT CARS: What the AAMC says
The AAMC defined the three types of questions that we’ve discussed, as well as the types of passages that you’re likely to encounter on the MCAT CARS section. You can visit the AAMC site to learn more about the MCAT Blueprint.
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS) is a new MCAT section coming in January 2015 that replaces Verbal Reasoning. CARS will test your independent thinking skills with challenging passages in the humanities and social sciences.
It's longer, more difficult, and will require much more preparation than Verbal Reasoning!
CARS Will be Dramatically Different Than
the old Verbal Reasoning Test
The CARS test is longer than the old Verbal Reasoning test. You will need to master speed techniques and fatigue control.
CARS places much more emphasis on the most challenging types of comprehension questions.
The prep techniques that worked for Verbal Reasoning won't work for CARS. You'll need an entirely new strategy.
Watch This Video Now to See
What's Inside the Course!
Three New Skills You Need to Master
- Foundations of Understanding - 30% of test questions
- Reasoning Within the Text - 30% of questions
- Reasoning Beyond the Text - 40% of questions
How to Beat CARS: Earn Your Highest Score
Mastermind the CARS Format
CARS will throw 60 questions in only 90 minutes, so you need to be fast and accurate. You need to understand the format of the test beginning-to-end, so you can be speed through every twist and turn without wasting a moment.
Practice! Read Passages and Questions
The only way that you can be confident that you'll be able to answer 60 CARS questions in 90 minutes is to do it in real life practice sessions. Here's the problem -- The old Verbal Reasoning practice passages won't work! You need the right practice passages for the right test, so throw out those Verbal Reasoning practice books and get your hands on some CARS-specific test prep materials.
Beat the Test at its Own Game
CARS is one big logic puzzle you can solve if you learn how to look beyond the passage text and see the test for what it really is: A game designed by test writers to trick and confuse you. Learn how to manipulate the logic of the test and you'll consistently score higher than the premeds who take the test at face value.
What Are Your Test Prep Options?
The big test-prep companies promise to seamlessly integrate CARS prep into their existing summer intensive programs, which are 6-week live courses.
Live MCAT prep courses held throughout the year will include CARS training, but without the big emphasis needed to master the new challenges presented by CARS.
The test-prep book industry is rushing to print new 2015 MCAT materials, but they only give you a glancing look at CARS. Most of the 2015 MCAT test prep books I've reviewed don't give you the CARS focus you need.
Price: $80 - $200
Here's What Our CARS Skills Course is All About
Understand and Conquer the New CARS Test
The CARS test is a total departure from Verbal Reasoning -- It's longer, it's more challenging, and it requires an entirely new skill set that most premeds don't yet have. Kevin and I designed The CARS Skills Course to bring you up to speed right away, so you can understand the test and be on your way to earning a high score.
Practice CARS Passages and CARS Questions
Once you understand the layout and the pace of the test, a guided exposure to several CARS practice passages and questions is the kind of preparation that will give you the strongest start you can find.
Learn the Shortcuts and Tricks That Will Raise Your Score
Answering 60 CARS questions in 90 minutes is going to be tough. The CARS Skills Course will give you test-taking tricks and shortcuts that will help you budget your time so you can dedicate each valuable minute to something that counts.
What You Get When You Enroll
Course Creators: Your CARS Instructors
Kevin deLaplante, Ph.D.
Kevin is a critical thinking and reasoning expert. He teaches logic and critical thinking both online and in the classroom.
- Associate Professor of Philosophy, Iowa State University
- Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Western Ontario
- Founder of CriticalThinkerAcademy.com
- Educational consultant on the the topic of critical thinking in education
Don's admissions strategies and techniques have helped more than 6,500 premeds gain admission to medical school.
- Founder, INQUARTA.com
- Medical school admissions consultant since 1994
- Former verbal reasoning instructor with The Princeton Review
- Creator of online courses for premeds covering the personal statement, secondary application, med school interviews, and more
Kevin and Don Demonstrate CARS Strategies and technique (12 Videos)
Sit in on the only in-depth CARS test-taking strategy session. Kevin and Don go over each passage and each question in detail, providing passage annotations and strategic hints that will help you understand all of the new CARS skills you'll need to earn a high score
Getting Into the CARS Mindset
- Two MCAT Traps to Avoid
Kevin deLaplante on CARS Logic and Skills
- What to Expect From CARS
- The Three Skills CARS Will Test
- Basics of Argument Logic
- A Closer Look at CARS Skills You Need
The Dr. Johnson Passage
- Getting Started on the Sample Passages
- Passage Overview and Question #1
- Examining the Logic of the Passage
- Question #2 and #3
The Big Bang Passage
- Introducing the Big Bang Passage
- Question #2
- Question #3
- Final Question
The First Amendment Passage
Enroll in "MCAT CARS Skills Course" Today!
Enroll in the only online course that covers the new 2015 MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Section. Two MCAT experts teach the the skills you need to succeed on the test, and 4 practice passages + full video annotations give you the best practice you can find.
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- CARS Skills Video Course with Kevin deLaplante PhD
- 4 CARS Practice Passages with Questions
- 12 video explanations and annotations of each passage
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If you are dissatisfied for any reason, contact me within 30 days for a full refund. No questions asked!
The Biggest Change to
the MCAT in 20 Years is Here!
A New MCAT Section:
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
What You Need to Know About CARS
- 90 minutes -- Up from 60 minutes
- 60 questions -- Up from 40 questions
- 10 total passages from humanities and social sciences
- Longer, more difficult, and more skills required than Verbal Reasoning
The Only Online Course That Will Prepare You to Beat CARS:
"MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills Course"
By INQUARTA and Critical Thinker Academy
I've partnered with Kevin deLaplante, PhD, to create the only CARS Skills course that peels back all of the layers and shows you how to understand and defeat the new test.
Enrollment is Open!
Enroll in "MCAT Critical Analysis
and Reasoning Skills Course" Today
Enroll in the only online course that focuses on CARS and CARS alone. You'll learn everything you need to know about the test to earn a great score. With practice passages, practice questions, and a 16-video course with MCAT experts Don Osborne and Kevin deLaplante PhD.
CARS Skills Video Course -- CARS Technique Mastery With Kevin deLaplante, Ph.D.
Logic and critical thinking expert Kevin deLaplante breaks down the CARS test piece-by-piece and teaches you everything you need to know to succeed on the new format.
What to Expect From CARS
Kevin breaks down the new CARS format and demonstrates to you how this new style of test demands an entirely new way of studying.
The Three Skills That CARS Tests
Your Success on CARS depends on your ability to adjust to the three skills that CARS tests. Kevin uses his background in Critical Thinking to show you how to adapt to the changes.
Basics of Argument Logic
A crash course in logic and rhetoric that will show you how to quickly reduce a CARS passage to only the essential points you need to know.
A Closer Look at CARS Skills You Need
Kevin gives you more tools and tricks you need to succeed in the new CARS environment. See how to combine critical thinking, logic, and rhetoric tactics to find the right answer on the most challenging CARS questions.
4 CARS Practice Passages -- See What You'll Face on the Test and Get Prepared
The best way to put your new CARS skills into practice is to read as many practice passages as you can. The CARS Skills Course gives you four challenging CARS passages that demonstrate all of the new challenges you'll face in CARS.
- The "Dr Johnson" Passage - A short and challenging passage that demonstrates how MCAT CARS test writers confuse you with logic.
- Killing vs. Letting Die - Can you figure out the distinction between two closely related ideas without being distracted by tricky wording?
- The Big Bang - Scientific terminology and jargon can obscure the overall meaning of a passage. Can you wade through the noise to find the true meaning?
- The First Amendment - Will you be biased by your previous understanding of a piece of constitutional law that you've likely never read before?