The MCAT CARS Podcast is here to help you maximize your MCAT score, not just your CARS score. Learning good CARS techniques will help you improve everywhere.
The CARS section of the MCAT gives nightmare to thousands of premeds every night. Whether you’re an ESL (English as a Second Language) student, you lack confidence while reading, or are a slow reader, Jack Westin and The Medical School Headquarters are here to help you score higher in every section so that you can be confident you’re ready to get the MCAT score of your dreams!
Jack Westin was on The Premed Years Podcast back on Episode 259. And the common feedback I got from students is that his CARS prep was one of the best things out there to help them overcome their struggles with the CARS section.
Expect to get a new episode each week as we break down written content. Learn how to read the way that the MCAT wants us to read. Also, check out all of our other podcasts on MedEd Media Network.
[05:45] What is Jack Westin?
Jack Westin is a company that provides online education as they believe it’s the way of the future. And they believe it could even get better. They specialize in teaching critical thinking online to premed students – how to become better readers, better listeners, and better critical thinkers.
Jack was a premed and went down the medical path. But he got very fascinated with the CARS section while studying for the MCAT. He did really well but struggled with CARS. As he was studying it, he noticed there were patterns as to how the test was created. Once he began breaking them down, it became easier. Over time, he began sharing it with friends and other people, until it became his passion, bringing teaching and technology together. From teaching one student at a time, the company is serving thousands of students for over ten years now.
Quality is their number one goal. They want to stay true to the MCAT and make practice passages as identical to the AAMC as possible. They teach anywhere, anytime. So students can access their content at their own pace.
[09:10] What Makes CARS Very Hard
Jack explains the two elements to the CARS section. First is listening/critical thinking, logic. He believes there’s a distinct pattern that the AAMC uses, not just for CARS but the entire exam. And this is something you can teach, learn, and really master.
The second is the stress component of the exam. A lot of students are pressured and it’s hard to stay emotionally stable. There are many students who are excellent readers and thinkers, but when under pressure, they cave in. They can’t manage the timing aspect of the test and the pressure of it. This results in bad scores.
As with the other sections, students have more confidence in those sections because they’ve been studying those for 2-3 years or even longer. So when it comes to English or Reading, you may not have been well prepared in college. You may not have been a big reader in high school or throughout your life. And you may even be an ESL student and you only learned it some ten years ago. And this lack of reading experience puts a dent in your confidence, which results in the perception that the CARS section is difficult and much harder than the other sections. But this is definitely doable! Hence, this podcast is here to shed some light on what this section is really all about.
[11:20] Success with Jack Westin
The students who come to them are scoring around 122 and jump to 129-130 on the real test. Jack says this is a test preparation course. You have to really prepare yourself for it. And just because somebody got 7-8 points higher, doesn’t necessarily mean you will. Jack points out that you have to understand what you’re doing. You have to truly put in the time to do it well. And that’s what makes the test so hard. Do you have it in your to do well? If you can work hard and you’re really honest about what you need to improve on, it’s very doable. This is a test you need to take seriously or else, it will punish you. #RESPECTtheMCAT
And Jack reveals that people who don’t take this seriously are those who are really not meant for medicine. They have had students who took the course and didn’t do well but they really wanted it. They didn’t give up and found a way. So if you don’t give up and you want this for the right reasons, and you really see yourself doing this for the next 20-40 years, then you’re going to get there. Jack challenges students that if you’re really committed and you can’t see yourself doing anything else, you will do well. So don’t let CARS or MCAT get in your way.
[15:30] Reading Comprehension as a Prerequisite
Moreover, one student who signed up for their course and just wasn’t getting it. And as they were going through this, Jack realized maybe there weren’t just reading at the right level. He realized that reading comprehension is a prerequisite for taking the MCAT. It means reading something and understanding what you’re reading. Forget about what it means or how it relates to the other elements of the passage. Just purely read for understanding. And this is important not just for CARS, but also for the entire test.
[17:55] Students with Reading Disabilities
What this podcast will cover is how to read, what is reading comprehension, what it entails. It’s not the thinking aspect, but the meaning aspect. And students with reading disabilities have a much harder time with the CARS section, but listening to this podcast would benefit them as they break down every sentence for what it’s trying to convey, and what is the author trying to do with it.
Sometimes, for people with reading disability, this becomes harder to do on their own. Hence, having a guide who can walk this through them is a tremendous asset. That said, even if you don’t have a reading comprehension problem and you’re a pretty decent reader, having this kind of mentality is going to help you in the long run as you get more familiar with the way you should be reading.
[19:10] What to Expect From This Podcast
We’re not going to dive into each passage and its set of questions in each episode. Instead, we’re going to cover reading comprehension. So I’m going to be reading sentences and Jack is going to break each down for us. This way, you already have your leg up since you’ve broken down their meaning.
For the most part, we’re going to be reading a passage, an article, and really break them down sentence by sentence to make sure that you are understanding what the author is writing.
In between some of those episodes, we will cover an MCAT passage and we will go through the questions.
[20:40] Take It Slow
Jack advises students to take it slow. Take your time. Reading is not something you can improve on in one week as it takes many weeks. It’s a skill. The more often you do it, the more focused you are on certain things, the better you can get at it. Even if it seems it’s only one and it’s not important, it will go a long way. So here, we will be taking our time to break down things. You may not see the same passages on your exam but it’s going to help you with your reading. Lastly, enjoy and have fun reading!
Sign up for Jack’s popular daily CARS passages. You get a link in your email and it will take you to his site. Then it loads a page that looks like what you will see on your MCAT test day. Not only are you getting practiced with CARS, but also with what your test day will look like, which is the best kind of practice.
Go to www.mcatcarspodcast.com/freequestion and get a link to subscribe to that daily MCAT CARS practice everyday in your inbox. Text MCATCARS to 44222 and we will send you a link on how to sign up for the CARS Question of the Day.
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