MCAT CARS (Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills)

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MCAT CARS (Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills)

Our MCAT CARS practice tests follow the format prescribed by the AAMC for the MCAT. Each full-length test contains 53 questions, which are based on 9 passages on various Humanities and Social Science subjects. Each question is followed by detailed explanations that include the passage content category and the type of reasoning skills being assessed in the question. All exam attempts are saved in your Personal History section, showing both the raw scores and the estimated scaled scores.

Gold Standard MCAT CARS Practice Tests

  • 5 full-length online timed* MCAT CARS tests with detailed explanations
  • Options are available to Remove Timer for those who still need to work on their timing skills and Time Extension for those taking the MCAT Exam with Accommodations
  • Warm up exercises and test-taking strategies
  • Tests are different from those included in our 7 Gold Standard full-length MCAT practice tests
  • Unlimited exam attempts permitted during your access period with each MCAT CARS test saved in your History section
  • Access period: 3 months
  • Our Price: $69 $99

*Each test has a time limit of 90 minutes like the real exam.

MCAT CARS Passage Content Categories

Below is the breakdown of various Humanities and Social Science subjects that are covered in the MCAT exam.

Humanities (50%) Social Sciences (50%)


Art Archaeology


Ethics Education


Music History


Popular Culture Political Science
Religion Population Health
Theater Psychology
Studies of Diverse Cultures* Sociology
  Studies of Diverse Cultures*

*A passage on Studies of Diverse Cultures can be classified as either Humanities or Social Sciences depending on the focus of the text's discussion.

Question Types: What They Are and How They Are Distributed in the Test

The types of questions presented in this section correspond to the reasoning skills being assessed. They are also distributed in the exam as follows:

Question Types Distribution
Foundations of Comprehension 30%
Reasoning Within the Text 30%
Reasoning Beyond the Text 40%

MCAT CARS questions will not only test your comprehension of the text but also your ability to analyze and use reason and logic in order to make sense of the intricate concepts discussed by the authors. You will also be asked to apply them - in some cases, reinterpret them - in new contexts and situations.

MCAT CARS Sample Passage and Questions by Gold Standard

The history of the Victorian Age will never be written; we know too much about it. For ignorance is the first requisite of the historian—ignorance, which simplifies and clarifies, which selects and omits, with a placid perfection unattainable by the highest art. Concerning the Age which has just passed, our fathers and our grandfathers have poured forth and accumulated so vast a quantity of information that the industry of a Ranke would be submerged by it, and the perspicacity of a Gibbon would quail before it.

It is not by the direct method of a scrupulous narration that the explorer of the past can hope to depict that singular epoch. If he is wise, he will adopt a subtler strategy. He will attack his subject in unexpected places; he will fall upon the flank, or the rear; he will shoot a sudden, revealing searchlight into obscure recesses, hitherto undivined. He will row out over that great ocean of material, and lower down into it, here and there, a little bucket, which will bring up to the light of day some characteristic specimen, from those far depths, to be examined with a careful curiosity.

Guided by these considerations, I have written the ensuing studies. I have attempted, through the medium of biography, to present some Victorian visions to the modern eye. They are, in one sense, haphazard visions—that is to say, my choice of subjects has been determined not by the desire to construct a system or to prove a theory, but by simple motives of convenience and of art. It has been my purpose to illustrate rather than to explain. It would have been futile to hope to tell even a precis of the truth about the Victorian age, for the shortest precis must fill innumerable volumes. But, in the lives of an ecclesiastic, an educational authority, a woman of action, and a man of adventure, I have sought to examine and elucidate certain fragments of the truth which took my fancy and lay to my hand.

I hope, however, that the following pages may prove to be of interest from the strictly biographical, no less than from the historical point of view. Human beings are too important to be treated as mere symptoms of the past. They have a value which is independent of any temporal processes—which is eternal, and must be felt for its own sake. The art of biography seems to have fallen on evil times in England. We have had, it is true, a few masterpieces, but we have never had, like the French, a great biographical tradition; we have had no Fontenelles and Condorcets, with their incomparable eloges, compressing into a few shining pages the manifold existences of men.

With us, the most delicate and humane of all the branches of the art of writing has been relegated to the journeymen of letters; we do not reflect that it is perhaps as difficult to write a good life as to live one. Those two fat volumes, with which it is our custom to commemorate the dead—who does not know them, with their ill-digested masses of material, their slipshod style, their tone of tedious panegyric, their lamentable lack of selection, of detachment, of design? They are as familiar as the cortege of the undertaker, and wear the same air of slow, funereal barbarism. One is tempted to suppose, of some of them, that they were composed by that functionary as the final item of his job. The studies in this book are indebted, in more ways than one, to such works—works which certainly deserve the name of Standard Biographies.

For they have provided me not only with much indispensable information, but with something even more precious—an example. How many lessons are to be learned from them! But it is hardly necessary to particularise. To preserve, for instance, a becoming brevity—a brevity which excludes everything that is redundant and nothing that is significant—that, surely, is the first duty of the biographer. The second, no less surely, is to maintain his own freedom of spirit. It is not his business to be complimentary; it is his business to lay bare the facts of the case, as he understands them. That is what I have aimed at in this book—to lay bare the facts of some cases, as I understand them, dispassionately, impartially, and without ulterior intentions. To quote the words of a Master—“Je n'impose rien; je ne propose rien: j'expose.” [I impose nothing; I propose nothing; I expose.] Wilson, A. N. (1990). Eminent Victorians. New York: W.W. Norton.

MCAT CARS Sample Question 1

According to the passage information, which trait is necessary for a historical biographer?

Correct Answer: B


This is correct. The author references the ability of historians to select and omit the relevant information (Paragraph 1) and in Paragraph 6 explains this necessary trait in detail: “To preserve, for instance, a becoming brevity—a brevity which excludes everything that is redundant and nothing that is significant—that, surely, is the first duty of the biographer.”

This is incorrect. While the author would likely agree that this is a useful trait, it is not expressed as a necessary one.

C. This is incorrect. The author does not mention that an appreciation for the era is required.

D. This is incorrect. This is not mentioned in the passage.

MCAT CARS Sample Question 2

Which of the following statements would the author of the passage most probably agree with?

Correct Answer: C


This is correct. The author’s assertion is that strictly factual, “Standard Biographies” are not useful to provide insight into the designated person’s life.

A and D: These are incorrect. The author is writing that while these may be the public opinion, the reason why this is the prevailing notion is that there is an overabundance of poorly written biographies – not necessarily that the era itself is not worthy of explanation. In fact, the author believes the opposite: that the Victorian era is one which would “fill innumerable volumes”.

B. This is incorrect. The author says in Paragraph 4 that English is lacking in a rich biographical tradition to begin with: “We have had, it is true, a few masterpieces, but we have never had, like the French, a great biographical tradition…”

Access 18 sample MCAT CARS practice questions with helpful explanations through our free MCAT practice test.