5-minute Drill

by Lincoln Smith

My Notes
  • Required.
Save Cancel
    Report mistake

    00:00 Now interpreting all of these nonstandard usages of the English language can be a little bit tricky to do under the pressures of time constraint.

    00:10 Therefore, I want to discuss what to do if you find yourself with 5-minute left on your CARS section, and one passage left.

    00:19 You traditionally have about 10 minutes to complete a passage.

    00:23 So what do you do if you only have half that amount of time? For context, when surveyed, CARS test takers stated that they did tend to feel rushed towards the end of their CARS section.

    00:38 Even my physician grandfather, for instance, who took the MCAT all the way to UCLA without any formal test preparation, advises me that when I'm taking practice MCAT exams, that some questions are in fact designed to make you fail.

    00:55 That can be in both the sciences or in CARS, where they can trap you into spending a lot of time.

    01:01 So the strategy we'll discuss is just to start to think about not only whether you're going to get to a correct answer solution, but whether you're going to do so in a timely fashion.

    01:15 As with anything on the MCAT always take an educated guess on any CARS question, because there are no penalties for wrong answers.

    01:24 In fact, having a strategy for the types of questions on CARS you are prepared to not to spend too much time on would be a valuable thing to do.

    01:34 For me, I watch out for questions that are phrased in the negative and that require me to evaluate four sections of larger passage context.

    01:43 It is my strategy to take a big picture approach with these question types.

    01:47 I know that I can miss up to maybe four questions across the section as a whole, and still score a 99th percentile on CARS.

    01:56 So I personally don't worry about scoring 100%, only close to 100% which helps me not to be thrown off on time.

    02:07 But in spite of our well versed mastery of pacing, we do get to the end of the CARS section and tend to feel a little bit pinched on time.

    02:18 At that point, we ask ourselves, "What are the most important aspects I should be focusing on if I have a limited amount of time to read a passage?" So we concentrate on these aspects and then get straight to the questions.

    02:34 My own two sense is that the first and last sentence of each paragraph are most important.

    02:40 Additionally, I want to share with you what the test writers themselves state are the most important aspects of a passage.

    02:48 A nice work from the official content guide states.

    02:51 The beginning and ending of passages are two specific sections where the author often provides important information about the general theme, message or purpose for the work.

    03:04 Does the author state their main point in an introductory or closing sentence? Does the past agenda the definitive solution, partial resolution, or a call for additional research? Considering these specific sections can help inform your basic understanding of the passage.

    03:24 I probably can't state this any better except to put it all together into a drill you can perform when running low on time on your CARS section.

    03:35 If you have 5 minutes left on a CARS section, and one passage left, here's what I recommend.

    03:42 Read the first and last sentence of each paragraph.

    03:45 If you want to read a little bit more, you can read a little bit more of the first and last paragraphs and then jump straight to the questions.

    03:53 If you have six minutes left or so, you might read the entire first and last paragraph.

    04:00 Now I teach about 100 students the MCAT each year and without fail.

    04:06 With a 6-question passage, the majority of students score about 4 out of 6 questions correct with this method.

    04:14 Again, first and last sentence of each paragraph a little bit more first and final paragraphs going straight to the questions.

    04:20 It's really for me quite remarkable.

    04:23 At a minimum, I see 3 out of 6 questions correct.

    04:27 Sometimes even 5 out of 6 correct.

    04:29 Compare this to reading the passage for 4 minutes and then answering one question and guessing on the final 5.

    04:38 You can simply see why your time would be better spent reading as much of the passage as you can, but focusing the balance and the majority of your time on the questions themselves.

    04:49 I like this drill so much that I suggested with 10 minutes and two passages.

    04:55 Indeed, anything that we would do on the day of our test we want to do before the day of the test.

    05:00 So get out some practice passages, set a timer for 5 minutes for one passage, 10 minutes for two passages and try this drill on your own.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture 5-minute Drill by Lincoln Smith is from the course CARS Theoretical Foundations.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. 3–4
    2. 0
    3. 5–6
    4. 1–2
    1. 3–4
    2. 0–1
    3. 1–2
    4. 6

    Author of lecture 5-minute Drill

     Lincoln Smith

    Lincoln Smith

    Customer reviews

    5,0 of 5 stars
    5 Stars
    4 Stars
    3 Stars
    2 Stars
    1  Star