What CARS passages you should use

by Gabe

I wanted to give you some advice on which passages you should be using to get the best CARS score.

How you practice determines how you perform. So it matters a lot that you use the best passages for CARS.

Here’s the basics: if you want to get better at CARS you need to be using the passages that are the most representative of what you’ll see on the actual test.

And the most representative passages – BY FAR – are the AAMC CARS Question Packs.

These are the main practice passages actually put out by the test maker.

So what about the test prep companies? How are their passages?

Pretty mediocre, to be honest.

There is no test prep company that I have ever found that really resembles the AAMC passages very closely.

Not Kaplan, not Princeton Review, not Examkrackers, not Next Step, not Testing Solutions, not Khan Academy...

So if you’re actually in the process of learning the strategy for CARS, you need to focus on the AAMC material.

But the Question Packs only have 43 passages total!And if you’re regularly working through passages that can go pretty quickly.

So here’s how you should structure your CARS practice:

  • First work through the AAMC CARS Question Packs. Space them out, review them very carefully and learn as much as you possibly can from them. This can take about 5-6 weeks.
  • If you still have a while until your test date, do some passages from UWorld
  • Once you’re a few weeks out from your test date, go back and re-do the Question Pack passages.

Now, why am I recommending working with UWorld passages? Didn’t I just say not to do that? Not quite.

Test-prep company passages like that are fine to do once you’ve already learned how to do CARS. But they’re not good for actually learning the strategy.

That means you need to do the AAMC material first. That’s where you will actually learn the strategy.

Then you can do some practice with other materials.

And out of the test-prep materials available, I think UWorld puts out the best CARS passages (though they're still not as good as the AAMC...).

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