The Importance of Contrast Words Like “However” in MCAT CARS


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CARS 100: The Importance of Contrast Words Like "However" in MCAT CARS

Session 100

Today we read a passage about England that exemplifies the importance of contrast words like “yet,” “but,” and “however” in MCAT CARS passages.

As always, I’m joined by Jack Westin from JackWestin.com. Check out all their amazing free resources including a free trial session of Jack’s full course to see how it’s like learning from Jack Westin himself.

We’re also throwing an essay writing contest. It’s a 300 to 500-word essay on why you think you would benefit from Jack Westin’s CARS strategy course, what makes this course appealing to you, and why you need financial assistance. We’re picking three candidates for a chance get 50% off the CARS strategy course. Submissions are open from November 28 to December 4, 2020. Join the contest at mcatcarspodcast.com/contest.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

Link to the article:

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20200724-colonial-countryside-facing-up-to-britains-murky-past

The countryside holds a sacred place in Britain’s imagination – thatched cottages, resplendent country manors, imposing castles, ye olde worlde churches, sweeping pastures, wildflower meadows, gently ambling waterways and gardens in bloom are part of the nation’s fairytale, representing an Arcadia unsullied by cities, modernity, migration and globalisation.

It’s an image that endures across the ‘green and pleasant land’ under threat from ‘satanic mills’ in William Blake’s Jerusalem, in the novels of Jane Austen and Evelyn Waugh, in the watercolours of John Constable and JMW Turner, and period dramas, such as the Oscar-winning Gosford Park and wildly popular TV series, Downton Abbey.

In 1993, then Prime Minister John Major, in a speech making the case for Britain being at the heart of Europe, famously said, “Fifty years from now Britain will still be the country of long shadows on county [cricket] grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and pools fillers and – as George Orwell said – ‘old maids bicycling to Holy Communion through the morning mist’.”

However, Colonial Countryside, a youth-led history and creative writing project between 60 primary schools and the National Trust – the heritage charity and 5.6 million-strong membership organisation responsible for 500 historic places in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – is unsettling the idea of the rural utopia. The scheme aims to bring out neglected histories that highlight the connection between country houses and the wider world, for example West Africa, the Caribbean, India and China, through the British Empire and colonialism.

While many of us visit National Trust sites for fresh air, a stroll, cream teas and a nosey around magnificent country piles and their gardens, over the past two years Colonial Countryside has brought primary school children to explore Dyrham Park near Bath, where 17th-Century sculptures of African men kneeling in chains highlight links to the slave trade, and Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, where a tigerskin rug tells the story of trophy hunting during Britain’s colonisation of India.

[05:15] Paragraph 1, Sentence 1

The countryside holds a sacred place in Britain’s imagination – thatched cottages, resplendent country manors, imposing castles, ye olde worlde churches, sweeping pastures, wildflower meadows, gently ambling waterways and gardens in bloom are part of the nation’s fairytale, representing an Arcadia unsullied by cities, modernity, migration and globalisation.

Jack says:

This sentence has more of a description so it helps to picture everything out.

[06:55] Paragraph 2, Sentence 1

It’s an image that endures across the ‘green and pleasant land’ under threat from ‘satanic mills’ in William Blake’s Jerusalem, in the novels of Jane Austen and Evelyn Waugh, in the watercolours of John Constable and JMW Turner, and period dramas, such as the Oscar-winning Gosford Park and wildly popular TV series, Downton Abbey.

Jack says:

The author is trying to exemplify how it’s been depicted in all of these different books.

[09:10] Paragraph 3, Sentence 1

In 1993, then Prime Minister John Major, in a speech making the case for Britain being at the heart of Europe, famously said, “Fifty years from now Britain will still be the country of long shadows on county [cricket] grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and pools fillers and – as George Orwell said – ‘old maids bicycling to Holy Communion through the morning mist’.”

Jack says:

It’s just this positivity that as long as you notice that it’s unchanging, it’s positive. We are specifically discussing this greenery area of Britain’s countryside. The author is definitely painting a picture that everything’s nice and rosy.

[10:41] Paragraph 4, Sentence 1

However, Colonial Countryside, a youth-led history and creative writing project between 60 primary schools and the National Trust – the heritage charity and 5.6 million-strong membership organisation responsible for 500 historic places in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – is unsettling the idea of the rural utopia.

Jack says:

The author is pointing to this organization, this Colonial Countryside, that’s unsettling this idea of real rural utopia coming to a different conclusion. This is definitely the most important sentence we’ve read so far.

In the first couple of paragraphs, we’re just trying to emphasize this nice and warm area. And now, the author shifts gears. You have to be very careful. You could easily misread this sentence. So this group, the Colonial Countryside is unsettling, meaning it’s digging up this new hole or outlook on the British countryside.

Pay attention to contrast words, in this case, it’s “however.” Other contrast words include “however,” “nevertheless,” “but,” “yet” – usually, it’s a simple one and what those words try to do is create a problem, an argument, or an opinion.

[13:38] Paragraph 4, Sentence 2

The scheme aims to bring out neglected histories that highlight the connection between country houses and the wider world, for example West Africa, the Caribbean, India and China, through the British Empire and colonialism.

Jack says:

The author is expanding on what this colonial countryside mission is, and it’s bringing out these neglected histories. When we see the neglected histories, we could probably assume these are going to be the bad, negative histories that we repressed so that we can just imagine everything being great.

Obviously, it’s just an idea. The author is trying to say that we can unsettle this idea. And if we unsettle it, we must have some negativity. And neglect is obviously a bad word. No one wants to be neglected. So it’s the right assumption to make in this case. And then we can also assume that colonialism is probably also bad. The author is trying to say that we’re neglecting colonialism, which is probably the bad thing.

[15:23] Paragraph 5, Sentence 1

While many of us visit National Trust sites for fresh air, a stroll, cream teas and a nosey around magnificent country piles and their gardens, over the past two years Colonial Countryside has brought primary school children to explore Dyrham Park near Bath, where 17th-Century sculptures of African men kneeling in chains highlight links to the slave trade, and Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, where a tigerskin rug tells the story of trophy hunting during Britain’s colonisation of India.

Jack says:

The author is pointing out these neglected histories of the slave trade and trophy hunting of these animals.

[16:56] Possible MCAT Question

Q: Why did the author bring up tiger skin rugs?

Answer choices:

  1. to show how amazing the countryside
  2. to provide some sort of example for how we neglect its history

Which one are you going to pick because A was a majority of the passage and B is only specific to the last paragraph?

This is where reading, thinking, and being really critical about what’s going on and how everything’s structured will really help.

The answer here is B. It’s showing the negativity of the environment of its history. But if you are reading this and thinking everything’s good. And then there are tiger skin rugs and you associate that with good, instead of neglect, then you’re missing the point.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘It’s really interesting how one contrast word can shift the passage so greatly.’ https://medicalschoolhq.net/cars-100-the-importance-of-contrast-words-like-however-in-mcat-cars/” quote=”‘It’s really interesting how one contrast word can shift the passage so greatly.'”]

So look out for those really important words that will give you a better mindset and a good perspective of what to do. There has to be active participation in the passage. Don’t be passive and always be looking for the points of each passage, each paragraph, because that’s the point of these articles. These articles are not here to just educate you, but it’s to show you a different point that you’ve never thought of before, or at least a point that the author really cares about and wants you to believe.

Links:

Meded Media

Jack Westin

Link to the article:

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20200724-colonial-countryside-facing-up-to-britains-murky-past

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