2019 Fall MCAT Prep

When preparing for the MCAT, students often get sidetracked by the draw of refreshing and/or relearning science concepts they have learned previously as that serves as the lowest barrier to entry. In doing so, they forget that it is not only what you know that gets tested on the MCAT, but also how you can read, interpret, and apply new information in conjunction with your own knowledge. The AAMC outlines two separate skill sets called “CARS” and “SIRS”. The CARS skill set is covered on the accurately named CARS section, while the SIRS skill set is covered on all three of the science-based sections. It can also be said that the CARS skill set is tested indirectly on the science sections as well. Both skill sets are outlined below as described by the AAMC.

This series of ten workshops will help you understand how to identify what a question is expecting you to do and which part of each skill set you will need to apply to successfully answer that question. You will also learn specific activities you can do to build up each skill as you prepare for the MCAT.

Each session will consist of practice questions and/or passages as well as group discussions about how to approach those questions and/or passages. Be prepared with pencil and paper to use as scratch paper and for taking notes. This program targets students taking the MCAT in January or March 2020 and does not deal with the specific science content of the exam. Registration is not required. For updates like us on Facebook.

  • Tuesday CARS Prep Series
  • October 8th: Introduction to CARS
    Have you heard about the dreaded “CARS” section on the MCAT? Come learn about the basics of CARS to demystify this important part of the MCAT!
    October 22nd: Test Your CARS Skills!
    Are you curious about your future CARS performance on the MCAT? Come take sample CARS questions to identify and improve on your weaknesses!
    October 29th:  Types of CARS Questions
    Did you know there are “types” of questions on the CARS section? Come learn about how to tackle each type of CARS questions.
    November 5th:  CARS Strategies
    There are countless CARS strategies. Come learn about some helpful strategies and create your own way to approach this section.
    November 12th: Common CARS Pitfalls
    Conquering CARS is difficult, but within your grasp! This session will help you avoid common mistakes in preparing for and taking CARS.
    November 19th: How to Review CARS Practice
    So you've taken a practice passage or section, now what? This session will provide strategies to effectively review and learn from your CARS practice.
  • Thursday SIRS Prep Series
  • October 10th: Introduction to SIRS
    What is “SIRS” and how does it fit into the science sections of the MCAT? Come find out how the SIRS compare/contrast to the CARS you are expected to display.
    October 24th: Application of Science Principles
    This is what most people think of when they are taking science-based tests. Come discover to just what extent your own knowledge of science will be tested on the MCAT.
    October 31st: Problem-Solving with Scientific Reasoning
    It’s not just what you know, but how you use it. This workshop will focus on how to take new information, fit it into an already existing paradigm, and address questions outside of your personal scope of knowledge.
    November 7th: Analyzing Experimental Design
    Do you know how to identify a confounding variable? Do you know how to determine whether collected data is sufficient to make a specific conclusion? We will discuss the ins and outs of how experimental details are presented on the MCAT and just what you need to be looking for.
    November 14th: Analyzing Figures and Tables
    The presentation of experimental data is a precise exercise in getting the most meaning across in the most concise form possible. As a result, figures and tables can look complicated and intimidating. Come learn why scientists present data in the way they do and how to effectively pull information out of figures and tables.
    November 21st: Reviewing Strategies
    Bring all the skills you have learned and put them together for this final practice. 

AAMC Outlined Skills
  • CARS  (Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills)
  • Skill 1: Foundations of Comprehension
    Understanding the basic components of the text.
    Inferring meaning from rhetorical devices, word choice, and text structure.
    Skill 2: Reasoning Within the Text
    Integrating different components of the text to increase comprehension.
    Skill 3: Reasoning Beyond the Text
    Applying or extrapolating ideas from the passage to new contexts.
    Assessing the impact of introducing new factors, information, or conditions to ideas from the passage.
  • SIRS (Scientific Inquiry & Reasoning Skills)
  • Skill 1: Knowledge of Scientific Principles
    Demonstrate understanding of scientific concepts and principles.
    Identify the relationships between closely-related concepts.
    Skill 2: Scientific Reasoning and Problem-solving
    Reason about scientific principles, theories, and models.
    Analyzing and evaluating scientific explanations and predictions.
    Skill 3: Reasoning about the Design and Execution of Research
    Demonstrate understanding of important components of scientific research.
    Reason about ethical issues in research.
    Skill 4: Data-based Statistical Reasoning
    Interpret patterns in data presented in tables, figures, and graphs.
    Reasoning about data and drawing conclusions from them.