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Critical analysis and reasoning skills (CARS) practice questions

Video transcript

the purpose of this video is to help you understand the reasoning beyond the text questions a bit better these are one of the three main categories of questions on the critical analysis and reasoning skills section of the MCAT these questions should be the easiest to spot because you'll be given something new to think about as part of the question like a new situation or a new piece of information or new examples there are two main types of reasoning beyond the text questions one type asks you to apply the concepts in the passage to brand new situations the other asks you to integrate a new piece of information with the information that was given to you in the passage to see how that new information would affect the overall interpretation let's start with the first type of question which asks you to apply the passage concepts to new situations here is an example someone who agreed with President Wilson's explanation of the need for a general Association of nations would be most likely to also approve of which of the following hypothetical options the question stem starts by referring to someone as a way of introducing a new person who was not mentioned in the passage when the question introduces a new person or context this is a clue that this will be a reasoning beyond the text question the question also says you're being asked to think about hypothetical options hypothetical means that something exists as a possibility but that it may or may not be true in reality this phrase is another clue that you're being asked to go beyond what the text says you might also be asked to consider new possibilities alternatives options or proposals to answer this particular question you need to focus your attention on what you believe the key parts of President Wilson's explanation are and then look for an answer that preserves the role for those key parts when you get a question like this go through each of the options and figure out which new example or option best fits the ideas stated in the passage other questions of this type may just give you a new set of scenarios to consider and ask you which is most consistent with a point made by the author here are some examples of questions of this type which new example is most consistent with the author's definition of art which new situation best captures the relationship between cats and their owners as described in the text which of these proposed policies would you expect to be the most successful based in the author's argument another way that a question can ask you to go beyond the text is by giving you new information to consider this could be a fact that was not mentioned in the passage or new information that came to light after the passage was written let's take a look at an example of this type of question which asks you to integrate new information if it were known that Neanderthals and Homo sapiens coexisted but they lived in geographic isolation from one another how would this affect the conclusions reached by the author this question starts with the word if which is a signal that you'll be asked to consider a new condition other questions might start with similar words like suppose or assume or imagine or they might start with what if in each case these words are generally used to give you new information that was not mentioned in the passage once you read the new information you'll need to assess how that information might affect the arguments made in the passage many of these questions are asking you to think about whether the new information is consistent or inconsistent with the reasoning in the passage does the new information provide additional support for the author's argument or does it conflict with evidence that is cited in the text or does it contradict a conclusion that the author beached does it require you to refine or specify part of the argument made by the author for these questions it's especially important to remember that the right answer will be one that can be justified by considering something in the passage always remember to answer using only the information provided in the passage in question and not based on outside information that you may have about the topic you should also be sure to avoid using your own personal opinion here are some other examples of these types of questions imagine that humans had no thumbs how would this affect the author's argument which of the following newly-discovered pieces of evidence would go against the theory developed in the passage suppose a new species was found that could live underwater without light what impact would that have on the definition of life proposed by the author the basic concept that the mcat wants students to understand is that the inferences and conclusions that are supported by the passages are all subject to change and need to be adjusted as new information bubbles up this is an important skill because doctors need to continually update their understanding of diseases and treatments as they get new information to better understand these types of questions be sure to try some practice items and check out the other videos in this section