The questions that you will be asked as part of the reasoning within the text portion of the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section MCAT test vary significantly from those found in the foundations of comprehension portion. Questions found here will require you to integrate separate passage components into a more generalized and complex interpretation of meaning. Specifically, you will be asked to look at an argument, theme or claim laid out in a passage and judge it based on a specific criteria. The criteria may include:
- Passage Logic and Plausibility
- Argument Soundness
- Conclusion Reasonability
- Generalization Appropriateness
- Author Credibility
- Source Credibility
Questions found in this portion will also require you to go deeper into the passage to look at evidence, potential biases, incorrect notions of causality, and unnecessary information to find the significance of and relationships pertaining to parts of a passage. You may also be asked to examine the language, stance and purpose presented by the author’s language.
Though this may all sound daunting, these likely are skills that you already use in your daily life. This portion of the MCAT will do nothing more than generate the same reaction you get when someone is trying to convince or persuade you to think along the same lines.
Though you may disagree with the author’s opinion in some passages found in this portion, you are not asked to provide your own personal opinion. Your responses should only be based on the sources found in the questions. Your overall score in this section is directly based on your ability to complete the aforementioned task.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the reasoning within the text portion makes up 30% of the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section of the MCAT exam. Passage content is split evenly between humanities and social sciences.