The Seminal, Innovative, Step-by-Step Course to Your Max Score
My name is Michael Egenthal and I don’t know a damned thing about science.
No I can’t tell you about the width of the sound waves beneath a symphony’s performance, but I can, with your help, transform you into a well-oiled Critical Analysis and Reasoning (CARS) machine. I am a California attorney and graduate exam tutor living in cozy beach town in San Diego, CA. I have written this manual after ten years as an MCAT Verbal coach. Growing up I had always been two things: a writer and a teacher. In my teenage years, a brooding poet and an English tutor to my classmates, in my undergraduate work a collegiate reporter and founder of an English and SAT tutoring company, in my early twenties a staff writer and a newbie graduate tutor, and now a legal writer and a grizzled graduate exam tutor with something to say. I had always loved writing as a means of expression and have long been fascinated with the arduous process of deciphering the best way to articulate one’s thoughts. I had always loved teaching because it is rewarding to see a student’s efforts come to fruition and the impact our process in a positive way.
Over the years I honed my craft and with each new student saw the effect a meticulous instructor can have upon a student’s ability to absorb and apply given material. In my law school years, I would sit beneath esteemed professor after esteemed professor, most of whom who likely had received zero instruction on how to educate. An inability or an unwillingness to simplify. An underrated skill and perhaps a lost art. I see this failing in many of the country’s traditional commercial MCAT (and other graduate exam) prep courses. Many prep classes are taught by undeniably smart people, but they don’t have the slightest clue how to explain the material in a way that everyone can understand. Just as important, they are armed with largely flawed strategies. And erroneous techniques are indeed weapons that rob students of valuable time they could be spending applying smart, proven methods. I have minimal talents in this world, but I confidently recognize my ability to do the following two very important things:
dissect the elements of an exam in such detail that enable me to construct the Formula fusing accuracy and efficiency while playing upon the tried and true predictable tendencies of the AAMC
simplify seemingly complex material in a way that a child can understand
Teaching is an underrated skill and I believe while we’re all a work in progress, I’ve come to the point where my students are having a tremendous amount of success. And while I will likely not be physically be present with you while you undertake your CARS overhaul, I’ve drafted this manual to guide you through the Formula as if we were in the throws of intense weekly tutoring sessions.
Why does an attorney have credibility to teach for the MCAT?
In order to answer this question, a (very) quick discussion of the true function of an attorney will be helpful. One of the reasons society dislikes lawyers so much is that many fundamentally misunderstand the role of the profession. Lawyers are, in their purest form, zealous advocates for their clients’ position. They are cogs in the system, a system with the goal of using parties’ adversarial nature to ensure substantial justice for the largest number of people. The theory is that equitable results are most commonly reaped when either side of a dispute is armed with a fierce representative to convince the court of the correctness of their position. As such, to be effective, an attorney must craft persuasive arguments in appropriate situations. This is a talent. Understanding how arguments are formulated, structured, and focused is a skill that needs to be honed over many years. The reason I believe a mind trained in the law is so helpful for this medical exam is that I view the passages in the CARS section as distinct arguments. Each passage, some admittedly more descriptive and less persuasive, is an author’s attempt to convey an idea. And the manner in which they construct that piece, the words they’ve chosen to use, the order they’ve chosen to present the material, the areas they’ve selected for particular emphasis, are all conscious choices. An attorney’s mind then, in theory, has an enhanced ability to see through the words and into the motivations and objectives of the author. As well, lawyers are trained in language dissection, interpretation, and comprehension of seemingly dense material. These are the types of things that they are testing on the CARS section. Most CARS questions can be answered by developing an ability to read through the lines and unveil the myriad aims of the author.
Strangely, I am passionate about MCAT CARS. Call me a nerd, most of students do. Pile on, it’s ok. I am passionate about the score growth that can come from this exam. I have tremendous respect for the medical profession (much more than for the legal profession, the above comments notwithstanding) and I consider it an honor to help very bright people achieve their life goal of becoming a physician. The majority of my students come to me as adept scientific minds, but befuddled by the CARS section. In fact, for many, the CARS section is the very first academic hurdle they have encountered. I value the bonding process that I have with students in helping them over this hurdle and the satisfaction we eventually both receive out of finally achieving our target score.
I have studied the evolution of the AAMC exam from its inception and have intricately dissected its goals, structure, content, and tendencies. In crafting this Formula I was mindful of all that and also of the fact that different minds work in different ways. And while the exam does change a bit year to year (and has now changed considerably), thankfully it remains considerably predictable and highly susceptible to the strategies I have devised. In short, I like beating this test. I have enjoyed having a student come to me scoring several points beneath their potential and then having a glass of wine with them while they tell me they feel they performed to their maximum capability. I like working with a student for whom English is a second language scoring in the 15th percentile range and eventually approaching the 75th percentile, enabling them to get into medical school. I like having students in the Ivy League who came to me with a great score and enabling them to reach heights they hadn’t yet seen. I don’t tell these stories to toot my own horn. Personal prowess is insignificant. Your success is all that matters.
The Point: I have a Formula that I’ve written for CARS that works incredibly well and to this point it is has been confined to tiny meeting rooms in San Diego and to the bandwidth on my Skype sessions. This manual presents it to the world.
Purchase the seminal guide to CARS preparation in a hard copy (printed) format.
About private coaching
Despite popular opinion, this test is predictable and you can beat it. This approach has been honed over the years to where students have become very successful at picking apart the decoys of the Reading Comprehension section and the most common and attractive wrong answers. One particular area of pride is students’ progress in Reading Comp, where immense improvement has been seen. The approach in this area has been proven time and again.
MCAT Verbal preparation process can be frustrating. Usually, commercial courses don’t deliver on their promises or enable you to understand the concepts at the level needed to ace this exam. There is a reason for this and as such, this approach is tailored to the intricate reasons students are getting questions wrong. This is a method you seldom, if ever, will receive from a commercial tutoring service. Frankly, you don’t often get it from other tutors either, as there have been many students over the years who have defected from another tutor to come use this approach. The reality is many commercial courses simply don’t have a viable approach to CARS or, if they do put forth an approach, many of the strategies are convoluted and unnecessary.
Students always have success, if they work hard, that is. You will pinpoint what it is that is tripping you up and will hone in on the exact areas that need serious scrutinizing. My satisfaction truly comes from your growth.
The MCAT is a large portion of the admissions process for med school — do not skimp on the preparation.
If CARS is your pet peeve area, it is recommended to select a tutor that specializes only in CARS prep, rather than one who tutors for various exams and portions of this exam. Select a tutor who knows the MCAT inside and out; a tutor whose sole focus is on these portions of the exam.
As you can see in the graph, commercial course private tutors’ prices are consistently TWICE as costly. The reason for this is not because you’ll get inferior preparation — it’s obscene to charge that much for MCAT prep. You should get exactly what you need at a reasonable price so you can be on your way to apply your talents.
Additionally, you are not anchored to the clock. If it’s five minutes over, students will not be rushed out the door — you finish the strategy you’re learning. This is not generic, canned test prep as it is with the aforementioned courses — the prep is friendly, it utilizes intuitive, simplified strategies, and it works upon only the areas proven to be of importance to the graders of the exam. There is no filler or fluff to add duration to your sessions and pages to your materials like you will find in the commercial courses.
Fill out the form below to setup a meeting to get started with private coaching.
We’ll discuss all the details of the actual strategies you need to learn via the phone, if you’d like to call, or in our first session together. Looking forward to hearing from you! Located in San Diego.
Michael’s approach differed from the myriad commercial approaches I waded through. He finally presented something that was new and fresh. Most importantly, there was actual upward movement in my score which I had not experienced from any other method. I’m now in my third year of med school and we’re still in contact. — Joshua Goldstein, UCSD
I wanted to thank you for your assistance and contribution to my recent MCAT success. Your consistent methodology and mentorship was clearly effective in beating this portion of the exam. — Matt D., San Diego, CA
I am a bit nervous for this section so having a systematic approach to every minute of the section is incredibly helpful…and thankfully it’s an approach that actually is improving my score. — Arthur C.
It seems as if the other commercial approaches just tack on CARS prep to their Sciences prep, but Formula One truly seems to have logic behind it. — Angie B.
The best facet of the method is how it takes the predictability of the test and uses it against the examiners. Love it! — Heather E.
Someone finally took the time to actually break down what it takes to do well on this section. — Jeison J.