The vast majority of pre-med students have a particularly hard time with the Critical Analysis and Reading section of the MCAT because science-based college programs don’t ask you to interpret content like a social science or Humanities course would require. It involves a different way of extrapolating information.
The new 2015 MCAT overhaul might cause you even more headaches. According to AAMC, the new section will have 53 passage-based questions with 90 minutes to answer them. The trickiness with this section is that you don’t need to know any particular content, nor focus on any extra coursework, you just need to know how to shift gears and read differently than how you normally study.
This new section is broken down into a few parts.The percentages are courtesy of AAMC:
- Foundations of Comprehension (30%) which will have to do with understanding basic components of the passage and inferring meaning from the structure and rhetorical devices of the text.
- Reasoning Within the Text (30%) has to do with connecting many different ideas within the text and reaching a grander, more complete, analysis.
- Reasoning Beyond the Text (40%) involves taking the ideas from the passage and applying it to different contexts and then assessing their impact.
The passages themselves will be split between content having to do with:
- The Humanities, 50%
- Social Sciences, 50%
Since all the questions are passage-based (define what this means), you need to train yourself to read and notice key bits of information quickly and effectively. The passages themselves will come from books, magazines, or journals that you likely might have come across. You will be asked to extrapolate material, interpret the passages for yourself, and infer certain trends and conclusions from the information given. Your best bet for this section is to stay informed and to just always keep reading, but this is not enough if want to excel.
Since my students generally have the most problems with this section, I decided to create a new program that focuses on the new challenges that the 2015 MCAT brings. Since you need to train yourself to look at content effectively and to be able to extrapolate information, most pre-meds need some kind of guidance. I’m here to help you, so be sure to check out my new program.