How To Improve Reading Speed and Ace MCAT CARS Section?

  • 14 April, 2016

The infamous Verbal Reasoning, now known as CARS, has been difficult for most people taking the MCAT. The reason is that the section doesn't only test your pace of reading, but is purely based on how well you can read and comprehend. Over a decade of English classes and several online MCAT classes later, something as simple as reading shouldn't be hard to pull off right? Wrong! With the timer ticking away and the complexity of questions asked in the exam, many students buckle under the pressure.

Here's how you can improve your reading speed and ace the dreaded MCAT CARS section:

1. Read every day

Irrespective of whether you enjoy reading or not, you'll need to read every day at least for the sake of your score on the MCAT. Begin your day by reading the newspaper. Don't just stick to the entertainment section as you'll need to train your mind to read even the most boring pieces of information. Dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes to reading and make it a habit for at least 6 months prior to your MCAT exam.

How To Improve Reading Speed and Ace MCAT CARS Section?

2. Skim through the material

One of the most important tricks in speed reading is skimming. Force your eyes to move very fast and skim through each sentence, picking up only a few words before moving on to the next sentence. Keep practicing until you refine your technique. Although this technique may not give you more than 60% comprehension, it is enough to navigate through most of the questions in CARS.

3. Create questions

Speed readers are generally not good at comprehension. To improve your comprehension skills, learn to formulate questions. Take a look at the question asked and at the options provided. Create your own questions based on the options and speed read to find answers. This will help your mind become more focused and discard useless information.

4. Adapt your reading speed

You need to learn to change your reading speed according to the type of content you're reading. Skimming through the material first should give you a good idea of the level of difficulty associated with it. A good reader must speed up while reading easier content and slow down while reading difficult content.

5. Take up practice tests

Even good readers lose their comprehension ability if they aren't confident enough. The only way to overcome the nerves and become more adept at answering CARS questions is by taking practice tests. While online speed reading tests are a good place to start, it is better if you opt for practice tests that are tailored to fit the MCAT format. Enroll into an online MCAT prep course to take practice tests.

6. Assess yourself regularly

Regular assessment is necessary to give you a good idea of where you stand. Try to keep track of your reading speed and record it every week. Keeping tabs on your CARS section scores while taking up the practice tests accompanying your online MCAT classes. Work consistently to improve your score and test time.

If these steps are followed correctly, you can be sure of noticing a considerable increase in your reading speed and CARS section score.

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