Does the AAMC Ask Polarizing Questions on the MCAT?

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CARS 106: Does the AAMC Ask Polarizing Questions on the MCAT?

Session 106

Our passage today is about a topic that might be considered controversial—QAnon. Will you see these types of passages on the MCAT? Listen and find out.

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.

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

Link to the article:

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/09/reddit-qanon-ban-evasion-policy-moderation-facebook/616442/

Two years ago, most Americans knew nothing about QAnon, the ever-growing, diffuse, and violent movement devoted to a loosely connected set of conspiracy theories, most of which tie back to the idea that Donald Trump is leading a holy war against a high-powered cabal of child traffickers, some of whom drink blood. But at the time, it was a massive problem on Reddit, where conspiracy-minded members of the Trump-themed subreddit r/The_Donald had long stoked theories such as Pizzagate, and where a QAnon subreddit called r/TheGreatAwakening had racked up 70,000 subscribers, some of whom posted hundreds of times.

Last week, new polling showed that nearly half of Americans have now heard of QAnon. But on Reddit, the movement no longer has any meaningful presence.

Reddit is where QAnon first went to attract a mass audience when it left the dark, unnavigable threads of 4chan, and Reddit is where it found a new group of people who were willing to spend hours a day doing “research” and analyzing “clues.” QAnon’s presence on Reddit ballooned throughout 2018. By August of that year, the 70,000 members of r/TheGreatAwakening had misidentified a mass shooter and doxed an innocent person. They also started posting threats to murder Hillary Clinton, inspired, they said, by their rage over her superhuman ability to make military planes fall out of the sky.

Today, the QAnon problem is everywhere. The New York Times speculated last week about whether Facebook “will be locked in an endless fight with QAnon,” as the platform’s latest and most dramatic efforts to slow the movement’s spread through groups with millions of members seem to be failing. Twitter is similarly struggling, despite a significant overhaul to its “coordinated harmful activity” policy that gives the company more latitude to slash-and-burn clusters of QAnon-related accounts. On Instagram, QAnon theories have been so thoroughly laundered and mainstreamed by wellness and lifestyle influencers, they’re almost impossible to separate from aestheticized “sponcon.” But on Reddit, new discussion threads don’t take off, and the major subreddits are gone.

[03:14] Paragraph 1, Sentence 1

Two years ago, most Americans knew nothing about QAnon, the ever-growing, diffuse, and violent movement devoted to a loosely connected set of conspiracy theories, most of which tie back to the idea that Donald Trump is leading a holy war against a high-powered cabal of child traffickers, some of whom drink blood.

Jack says:

The author here is stating that a lot of people didn’t know about this. And even if you don’t know about it, the author gives you a little bit of a rundown of what it is.

The MCAT will not provide an article about something that’s happening recently in our lives. But this article does a great job at explaining things and then allowing us to get to the point. And at this point, you just have to understand it. You may have your reservations with Donald Trump and QAnon or whatever, but just throw it out.

“Focus on what the passage is saying and on the author's position because that's how the MCAT will work.” Click To Tweet

The MCAT will put stuff there that you may not accept or you may not agree with. What matters is that you understand that position and you don’t bring in any bias. Don’t bring in outside information..

[05:11] Paragraph 1, Sentence 2

But at the time, it was a massive problem on Reddit, where conspiracy-minded members of the Trump-themed subreddit r/The_Donald had long stoked theories such as Pizzagate, and where a QAnon subreddit called r/TheGreatAwakening had racked up 70,000 subscribers, some of whom posted hundreds of times.

Jack says:

The author here is painting this picture of the depth of the QAnon conspiracies which comes from Reddit and where a lot of this potential conspiracy lived.

[06:10] Paragraph 2, Sentence 1

Last week, new polling showed that nearly half of Americans have now heard of QAnon.

Jack says:

The author here is painting a picture of how many people know what this is.

[06:27] Paragraph 2, Sentence 2

But on Reddit, the movement no longer has any meaningful presence.

Jack says:

So a lot of people know of QAnon. The author here told us how robust QAnon is on Reddit. But now, the author here is saying there’s no meaningful presence on Reddit anymore. It’s ironic to some extent that it was Reddit that fueled the fire. But then now, it’s nowhere to be seen.

[07:26] Paragraph 3, Sentence 1

Reddit is where QAnon first went to attract a mass audience when it left the dark, unnavigable threads of 4chan, and Reddit is where it found a new group of people who were willing to spend hours a day doing “research” and analyzing “clues.”

Jack says:

The author here is telling us the role that Reddit played.

[07:51] Paragraph 3, Sentence 2

QAnon’s presence on Reddit ballooned throughout 2018.

Jack says:

Again, its role and when it became more popular. It says it left the dark, which probably means the dark web. It’s trying to suggest the movement is moving. And that’s something we have to keep in mind. What’s the point of this? Why are they talking about this? Maybe that will be important or not.

[08:36] Paragraph 3, Sentence 3

By August of that year, the 70,000 members of r/TheGreatAwakening had misidentified a mass shooter and doxed an innocent person.

Jack says:

It’s showing some of the bad things that could happen. This may be confusing for people who don’t know what doxed is. But it’s probably doing something bad to an innocent person. Whether or not you know the definition, it’s not important in this case.

[09:25] Paragraph 3, Sentence 4

They also started posting threats to murder Hillary Clinton, inspired, they said, by their rage over her superhuman ability to make military planes fall out of the sky.

Jack says:

It’s just showing the breadth of QAnon, what they want, and what they did. If you’re the science-oriented, factual kind of reader, you might miss how absurd these statements are and what’s the point of bringing up those statements. But it casts doubt on the organization.

[11:19] Paragraph 4, Sentence 1

Today, the QAnon problem is everywhere.

Jack says:

The author is stating this is a problem.

[11:28] Paragraph 4, Sentence 2

The New York Times speculated last week about whether Facebook “will be locked in an endless fight with QAnon,” as the platform’s latest and most dramatic efforts to slow the movement’s spread through groups with millions of members seem to be failing.

Jack says:

The author is now talking about Facebook and what they’re doing to help prevent the spread of this misinformation.

[11:57] Paragraph 4, Sentence 3

Twitter is similarly struggling, despite a significant overhaul to its “coordinated harmful activity” policy that gives the company more latitude to slash-and-burn clusters of QAnon-related accounts.

Jack says:

Another social media platform is mentioned here. So just more examples of these technology platforms and what they’re doing.

[12:26] Paragraph 4, Sentence 4

On Instagram, QAnon theories have been so thoroughly laundered and mainstreamed by wellness and lifestyle influencers, they’re almost impossible to separate from aestheticized “sponcon.”

Jack says:

Another one mentioned here is Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, so just another place where these theories are running rampant.

[12:53] Paragraph 4, Sentence 5

But on Reddit, new discussion threads don’t take off, and the major subreddits are gone.

Jack says:

The author here is potentially showing a difference between Reddit and these other social media channels where on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the theories seem like they spread faster versus on Reddit, which don’t spread as fast.

[13:16] Main Idea

The author cares more about the fact that QAnon is actually a problem. Of course, it is a problem and the author brings it up. But it’s not the big major point of the passage. So the MCAT could ask what’s the main idea of the passage – whether QAnon is a problem or it’s no longer on Reddit? And we’re picking the latter.

[14:57] Does the MCAT Jump on the Polarizing Stuff?

Most of the time, the topics the MCAT brings up are not things we should already have preconceived ideas or opinions about. So they’re going in trying to provide you with passages you’ve never seen before and never heard about.

Everyone likes to complain and moan about how they have to read these really boring and abstract passages. But it’s actually to your advantage because no one else can say they know it. And it all comes down to how well you prepare.

'The MCAT is not going to present stuff that is really crazy and radical.'Click To Tweet

Links:

Meded Media

Jack Westin

Link to the article:

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/09/reddit-qanon-ban-evasion-policy-moderation-facebook/616442/

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