MCAT CARS Practice Test 2024 (53 Questions Answers)

MCAT CARS Practice Test 2024 (53 Questions Answers): Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills practice test questions answers. In addition, you can download a printable copy of the PDF for better MCAT Test Prep & Review.

On the real MCAT, there is no penalty for wrong answers, so it makes sense to answer every question, even if you have to guess. If you don’t
know an answer, see if you can eliminate one or more of the answer choices. The more choices you can eliminate, the better your chance of guessing correctly.

MCAT CARS Practice Test 2024

Test Name MCAT Practice Test 2024
Subjects Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Printable PDF N/A
Questions Format Multiple Choice Question
Total passage-based sets of questions  8 sets 4-6 questions per set
Total independent questions N/A
Total Questions 53 Questions
Time Limit: 95 Minutes

Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

Directions: This section includes eight reading passages. Each passage is followed by a group of questions. Read each passage, and then select the one best answer to each question based on what you have read.

Passage 1

    According to Professor John MacKinnon, certain places are more likely than others to house new or rediscovered species. First, scientists should look in areas that are geologically stable. Areas with regular earthquakes or volcanic eruptions are less likely to contain species that go back thousands of years because, obviously, the frequent upheavals are not conducive to steady growth or a comfortable way of life. Second, scientists are most likely to find undiscovered or rediscovered species in remote, isolated areas. Cultivated areas are inhospitable to many animals. Often, cultivation eliminates the trees or shrubs that house and protect animal life. A stable climate is a third thing to look for. Stability of climate ensures that the animals that live in the region have had no reason to leave for warmer or wetter environments.

Although most of the recent discoveries and rediscoveries of animal species have taken place in tropical, humid regions, some have occurred in rarely explored mountain habitats. A fourth key thing scientists should look for, according to MacKinnon, is an area with a variety of unusual species that are specific to that area. Of course, this requirement refers back to requirement number two, isolation. An area that is very isolated or difficult to access will naturally have species that cannot be found anywhere else.

In 1994 American biologist Peter Zahler took his second trip to the isolated valleys of the Diamer region in northern Pakistan. He was searching for the woolly flying squirrel, a dog-sized squirrel last seen in 1924. As he describes it, he had narrowed down his search to two animals, using the criteria mammal, not too small, relatively unknown, and in need of conservation intervention. Because he did not wish to spend time in the steamy environment of the Congo basin, he eliminated the aquatic gene from his list and decided to concentrate on the woolly flying squirrel, which lived in the high Himalayas where there were fewer bugs and no tropical diseases. Working with a guide, Zahler moved from valley to valley. He quizzed the local residents about the squirrel. Many recalled hearing tales about the strange animal, but all insisted it was extinct.

Zahler continued to set traps, listen to squirrel legends, and ask questions. He dodged avalanches, skirted valleys patrolled by armed warlords, and crossed mountains on narrow goat paths. Policemen told him that the squirrels indeed existed in caves above the valley, and that they excreted a substance, salajit, that was used as an aphrodisiac. One day, two large, machine gun–toting men entered his camp. After some small talk, one asked whether he would be willing to pay for a live squirrel. The pair claimed to be salajit collectors. Zahler agreed to pay top dollar, never envisioning that 2 hours later, he would be presented with a woolly flying squirrel in a bag. Following that surprise, Zahler located evidence of live squirrels throughout the region. The squirrel certainly obeyed all of MacKinnon’s regulations. Despite frequent avalanches, the Himalayas are a geologically stable area with a harsh but stable climate and a number of rare species. Not only were the squirrels’ caves remote and isolated, it was often necessary to rappel down or climb up sheer cliffs to reach them.

Each rediscovery gives scientists a vital second chance to protect and preserve our rarest, most fragile species. With scientists and students from Pakistan, Zahler began work on a program to protect the squirrel’s habitat. Only the advent of war in Afghanistan forced him to abandon the area, and he remains connected to scientists in Pakistan who are continuing the effort.

Q1. According to the passage, all of these are true EXCEPT:

  • A. Woolly flying squirrels excrete an unusual substance.
  • B. The Himalayas contain a variety of unique species.
  • C. Animals in a drought may leave for a wetter habitat.
  • D. The woolly flying squirrel vanished for 70 years.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: D  

Q2. The discussion of the aquatic genet shows primarily that:

  • A. Some mammals are unlikely ever to be rediscovered.
  • B. Large mammals are more easily tracked and rediscovered.
  • C. Endangered mammals are found in many different biomes.
  • D. Tropical diseases affect a variety of endangered species.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q3. Which of MacKinnon’s requirements does the home of the woolly flying squirrel meet?

I. isolation
II. geographic stability
III. climatic stability

  • A. I only
  • B. II only
  • C. I and III only
  • D. I, II, and III
View Correct Answer
Answer Key: D  

Q4. The author suggests that Zahler decided to search for the woolly flying squirrel
because it:

  • A. lived in an area that was easily accessible
  • B. was neither too small nor too tropical
  • C. had been spotted recently by salajit collectors
  • D. was a legendary creature of great renown
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: B  

Q5. According to the passage, which of these locations would be likely to house a new species?

I. the jungles of Borneo
II. the mountains of western Iran
III. the edges of the eastern Sahara

  • A. I only
  • B. II only
  • C. I and II only
  • D. II and III only
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: A  

Q6. According to the author, rediscovery gives scientists a second chance to protect and preserve rare species. Which of the following information, if true, would most WEAKEN this argument?

  • A. Ornithologists hoping for a second sighting of the long-lost ivory-billed woodpecker have triggered a stampede of cameras and news media to the fragile forests where it was recently spotted.
  • B. The Audubon Society has set aside part of a forest on Oahu as a potential breeding ground for an endangered warbler once common on several of the Hawaiian islands.
  • C. The northern hairy-nosed wombat lives only in one known area, a protected section of Epping Forest National Park in central Queensland, Australia.
  • D. Rodent control programs on the Galapagos Islands have managed to stem a threat to endangered petrels, and now 90 percent of their nests result in a successful hatching out of eggs.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: A  

Passage 2

Beaten down, the world against them, exhausted—such was the self-assessment of the Beat Generation, as defined by Jack Kerouac in a 1948 conversation that became part of a 1952 New York Times article. At that time, the Beats were in their infancy. In the early ’40s, Kerouac attended Columbia University on a football scholarship, but a leg injury ended his football career and forced him to drop out of school. His brief sojourn with the Merchant Marine and the Navy ended badly, and Kerouac limped back to New York to rejoin friends at Columbia, where he met student Allen Ginsberg and the older William S. Burroughs. Most of Kerouac’s friends had come of age during World War II, just as Ernest Hemingway and his friends had done during World War I. Just as Hemingway’s generation was “Lost,” the new generation was “Beat.” They found it impossible to find a place in the new, postwar economy. They lived in toxic, brutal poverty and moved constantly, and many of them struggled to find publishers for their oddly constructed, turbulent writings.

Kerouac would be the first of his friends to find a publisher, for his first novel, the rather pedestrian The Town and the City published in 1950. The following year, he traveled cross-country with his friend Neal Cassady, a trip that would inspire his most famous work, On the Road. Perhaps as much as any Beat work, this frenetic work illustrated the Beat dislike of conformity and desire for movement and new experiences.

Kerouac would continue to write prolifically in the 7 years it took to get On the Road published. Meanwhile, Burroughs published Junkie, an autobiographical tome on addiction, and Ginsberg published his seminal work, the stream-of-consciousness poem “Howl.” “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness . . . ” cried the poet, summing up again the powerlessness of the Beat Generation. Ginsberg used street vernacular and rhythms inspired by the jazz scene of the ’50s.

The Beat scene was peripatetic, moving from New York to San Francisco (where “Howl” was published) and later to the left bank in Paris, where Hemingway’s Lost scene had emigrated many years earlier. Ginsberg left San Francisco for Paris when his poem “Howl” became the subject of an obscenity trial for its use of colloquial speech and its openness about drugs and homosexuality. He traveled from Paris to Tangier, where Burroughs was living, and helped Burroughs assemble the manuscript of his most famous and infamous work, Naked Lunch. Burroughs’s book would be published in Paris in 1959 and then in the United States in 1962; again, it would be the center of a long obscenity trial. Both “Howl” and Naked Lunch emerged from their trials unscathed; the obscenity charges were determined to be unfounded, and the trials loosened some of the definitions that had bound American literature. In addition, of course, the publicity put the Beats on the front pages of newspapers nationwide.

The Beats were of their time, and they transcended their time. The highway system that crisscrossed the United States in the 1950s gave them the power to move. Suburbia and the man in the gray flannel suit gave them something to despise. The cold war gave them angst and disillusionment. Jazz and the drug culture gave them a way out. Without the Beats to pave the way, sixties culture would have looked quite different, and the gay liberation movement of the 1970s might never have come to pass.

Q7. The author compares the Beat Generation to the Lost Generation in terms of their:

  • A. poverty
  • B. openness
  • C. prolific output
  • D. alienation
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: D  

Q8. In the context of the passage, the word culture is used primarily to mean:

  • A. nation
  • B. sophistication
  • C. way of life
  • D. ethnicity
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q9. The discussion of Burroughs’s obscenity trial best illustrates the author’s point that:

  • A. The Beat scene was peripatetic.
  • B. The Beats affected definitions of literature.
  • C. The Beats were inspired by jazz and angst.
  • D. The Beats transcended their time.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: B  

Q10. Which of the following assertions does the author support with an example?

I. Kerouac continued to write prior to the publication of On the Road.
II. The drug culture affected the lives and writings of some Beats.
III. Sixties culture was influenced by the work of the Beats.

  • A. I only
  • B. II only
  • C. I and III only
  • D. II and III only
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: B  

Q11. Gregory Corso, another important figure in the Beat crowd, once wrote a poem in the shape of a mushroom cloud entitled “Bomb.” If the author included this information in the passage, it would probably be used to:

  • A. contrast with Ginsberg’s description of “the best minds of my generation”
  • B. represent an example of colloquial speech in Beat poetry and prose
  • C. support the notion that the cold war colored the Beats’ work with angst
  • D. illustrate the Beats’ dislike for conformity and the postwar economy
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q12. Suppose the Beat writers were omitted from a major anthology of American literature. This would challenge the author’s assertion that:

  • A. The Beats affected the gay liberation movement.
  • B. The Beats’ writing was turbulent and difficult.
  • C. The Beats often struggled to find publishers.
  • D. The Beats transcended their time.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: D  

Passage 3

Aluminum is the most abundant metallic element in the Earth’s crust, but it is never found naturally as an element. Instead, it always appears naturally in its oxidized form as a hydroxide we call bauxite.

Bauxite occurs in three main forms. The forms vary in the number of molecules of water it takes for hydration and in the crystalline structure of the molecule. Gibbsite is a trihydrate form [AI(OH)3]. Bohmite and diaspore are monohydrates [AIO(OH)]. Of the three, the main form that is mined is gibbsite. Bauxite may be hard or soft, and it comes in a variety of colors that range from white to red.

Bauxite is formed due to the weathering of alumina-bearing rocks. It often appears as an extensive blanket of ore and is usually mined using surface-mining techniques. By far the largest consumers of aluminum are the United States, Japan, and Germany, but except for a little in Texas and Arkansas, bauxite is nearly nonexistent there. The major producers of bauxite are Australia, which produces around 40 percent of theworld’s supply, and Guinea, in West Africa. The United States gets much of its supply from Brazil and Jamaica.

The extraction of aluminum from bauxite requires three stages. First, the ore is mined. Then it is refined to recover alumina. Finally, the alumina is smelted to produce aluminum.

The mining is done via the open-cut method. Bulldozers remove the topsoil, and excavators or other types of power machinery are used to remove the underlying layer of bauxite. The bauxite may be washed to remove clay and other detritus.

Refining is done via the Bayer refining process, named after its inventor, Karl Bayer. Ground bauxite is fed into a digester, where it is mixed with a caustic soda. The aluminum oxide reacts with the soda to form a solution of sodium aluminate and a precipitate of sodium aluminum silicate. The solution is separated from the silicate through washing and pumping, and the alumina is precipitated from the solution, where it appears as crystals of alumina hydrate. The crystals are washed again to remove any remaining solution. Then they are heated to remove water, leaving the gritty alumina.

Smelting is done via the Hall-Heroult smelting process. An electric current is passed through a molten solution of alumina and cryolite, which is in a cell lined at the bottom and top with carbon. This forces the oxygen to combine with the carbon at the top of the cell, making carbon dioxide, while the molten metallic aluminum collects at the bottom of the cell, where it is siphoned off, cleaned up, and cast into bars, sheets, or whatever form is needed.

As with all mining of metals, bauxite mining presents certain hazards. Along with the usual mining issues of degraded soil and polluted runoff, chief among them is the omnipresent bauxite dust, which clogs machinery and lungs, sometimes for miles around the mining site. Jamaica and Brazil have seen widespread protests recently against the major bauxite mining companies, which continue to insist that no link between bauxite dust and pervasive lung problems has been proved.

Q13. In the context of the passage, the word refined means:

  • A. superior
  • B. polished
  • C. processed
  • D. restricted
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q14. The discussion of protests shows primarily that:

  • A. Bauxite mining takes place in the Third World.
  • B. Workers are starting to fight back against the dangers of mining.
  • C. Mining companies have misled people for decades.
  • D. The government of Brazil works with the mining companies.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: B  

Q15. The passage suggests that the author would MOST likely believe that:

  • A. Bauxite mining poses health problems.
  • B. The United States should use less aluminum.
  • C. Australian bauxite is the best quality.
  • D. Karl Bayer was something of a genius.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: A  

Q16. All of these are produced by the Bayer process EXCEPT:

  • A. sodium aluminum silicate
  • B. sodium aluminate
  • C. aluminum manganese
  • D. alumina hydrate
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q17. According to the passage, the most commonly mined form of bauxite contains:

  • A. carbon dioxide
  • B. iron by-products
  • C. caustic soda
  • D. three molecules of water
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: D  

Q18. The process by which aluminum is extracted from bauxite is most similar to:

  • A. the building of steel bridges
  • B. the making of copper tubing
  • C. the manufacturing of glass
  • D. the mixing of cement
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: B  

Passage 4

“I acknowledge Shakespeare to be the world’s greatest dramatic poet, but regret that no parent could place the uncorrected book in the hands of his daughter, and therefore I have prepared the Family Shakespeare.”

Thus did Thomas Bowdler, a self-appointed editor trained as a physician, explain his creation of a children’s edition of Shakespeare that omitted some characters completely, toned down language he considered objectionable, and euphemized such shocking situations as Ophelia’s suicide—an accident in Bowdler’s version. Bowdler was hardly the first to tone down the Bard. Poet laureate Nahum Tate rewrote King Lear, banishing the Fool entirely and giving the play a happy ending. His version was staged regularly from the 1680s through the 18th century.

Thomas Bowdler was, from all the evidence, a less likely editor. He was born in 1754 near Bath, England, to a wealthy family. He studiedmedicine but never really practiced, preferring to exercise philanthropy and to play chess, at which he was a master. In his retirement, he decided to try his hand at editorial work. Shakespeare’s dramas were his first project. He added nothing to the texts, but by cutting and paraphrasing strove to remove anything that “could give just offense to the religious and virtuous mind.”

The result was a 10-volume expurgated version that was criticized widely, although hardly universally. The famed British poet Algernon Swinburne remarked that “no man ever did better service to Shakespeare than the man who made it possible to put him into the hands of intelligent and imaginative children.”

There is some indication that Bowdler’s sister Harriet did the actual editing of Shakespeare’s text. She was a poet and editor in her own right, and clearly more qualified than her brother to lay hands on the Bard of Avon. She may have published the expurgated edition anonymously before allowing her brother to take over the rights. If this is so, it is unsurprising that Harriet would not have wanted her name on the book. If the original Shakespeare were truly objectionable, then it would have been doubly so for a well-bred, unmarried Englishwoman of the day.

Bowdler went on to create children’s versions of the Old Testament and of Edward Gibbons’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, although neither achieved either the success or ridicule of his Shakespeare. Today, of course, we know Bowdler not for his good works, but instead for the eponym derived from his good name. To bowdlerize is to censor or amend a written work, often with a connotation of prudishness. The process for which Bowdler is known is one that continues to the present day, as texts deemed too difficult for today’s high schoolers are “dumbed-down,” library editions of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn have the “n-word” blacked out, and middle-school productions of popular Broadway plays have all expletives deleted. We would be hard-pressed to say that we live in a prudish era, but some of the same impulses that drove Thomas and Harriet Bowdler still exist today.

Q19. The main argument of the final paragraph is that:

  • A. Bowdler did a disservice to the readers of his works.
  • B. Bowdler’s edited texts have long since vanished into history.
  • C. We continue to bowdlerize texts to the present day.
  • D. Today we look at Bowdler as a negative influence on writing.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q20. The passage implies that Bowdler’s sister was a more likely editor than he because:

  • A. She would have been truly offended by Shakespeare’s plots.
  • B. Unlike her brother, she was a published writer and editor.
  • C. Bowdler was known for his misuse of the English language.
  • D. Women of the time were more likely to read Shakespeare.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: B  

Q21. The passage suggests that Bowdler was influenced by:

  • A. prudery
  • B. erudition
  • C. a poet laureate
  • D. a dream
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: A  

Q22. The mention of Nahum Tate shows primarily that:

  • A. Few dared to change Shakespeare’s works during his lifetime.
  • B. Actors and directors often changed Shakespeare’s words to suit their talents.
  • C. Different versions of King Lear were used depending on the audience.
  • D. The Bowdlers were not the first to alter Shakespeare’s texts.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: D  

Q23. Based on the information in this passage, which of these would NOT be bowdlerization?

I. translating a Japanese folktale into English
II. eliminating references to witches from a fairy tale
III. burning copies of The Satanic Verses

  • A. I only
  • B. II only
  • C. I and III only
  • D. II and III only
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q24. The author’s claim that Bowdler’s Shakespeare was not unanimously criticized is supported by:

  • A. a quotation from Algernon Swinburne
  • B. reference to later children’s works by Bowdler
  • C. the definition of the eponym formed from his name
  • D. the example of Ophelia’s revised “suicide”
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: A  

Q25. Given the information in the passage, if a bowdlerized version of Shakespeare were available to parents today, which of the following outcomes would MOST likely occur?

  • A. Some would ridicule it, and others would buy it.
  • B. No one would take it or its author seriously.
  • C. Most students would find it too difficult to read.
  • D. It would be a dismal failure and be taken off the market.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: A  

Passage V

The Nobel Peace Prize has often engendered controversy. The Red Cross, yes, but Henry Kissinger? Mother Teresa, perhaps, but Yasser Arafat? Surprisingly, a loud and ongoing controversy surrounds a choice that at first look seems most benign—that of the Guatemalan freedom fighter, Rigoberta Mench ´u Tum.

Rigoberta Mench ´u was born in 1959 to a poor Mayan family in Guatemala. At the time of her birth, General Yd´ıgoras Fuentes had just seized power, following the assassination of Colonel Castillo Armas. The year she turned one, there was a failed coup by a military group, many of whom fled to the countryside and would return to lead the rebellion that would wax and wane for the next 36 years.

Guatemala was divided into factions for that entire period, asmilitary governments controlled the nation and guerilla groups controlled the countryside. At the same time, right-wing vigilantes led a campaign of torture and assassination, eliminating students and peasants they deemed to be allied with the guerillas.

In the countryside where Rigoberta lived, the battles were largely over control of farmland. Rigoberta’s father was taken into custody and tortured when the army believed he had assisted in the assassination of a plantation owner. Following a rout of the guerillas by the army, the guerillas regrouped and began to take their fight to the capital, beginning a long series of assassinations of government figures.

Rigoberta, her father, and some of her siblings joined the Committee of the Peasant Union (CUC). In rapid succession, Rigoberta lost her brother, father, and mother to the army’s own assassination squads. Rigoberta, though only in her early 20s, became a key figure in the resistance, traveling from village to village to educate the Mayan peasants in overcoming oppression, and leading demonstrations in Guatemala City.

Soon Rigoberta was herself a target. She fled to Mexico and continued her life as an organizer, concentrating her focus on peasants’ rights. She participated in the founding of the United Representation of the Guatemalan Opposition (RUOG). This period was the most violent of the entire Guatemalan civil war. Under the new president, General Efrain R´ıos Montt, massacres of civilians became an everyday occurrence.

Rigoberta traveled to Paris, where she sat down and dictated her life story to anthropologist Elisabeth Burgos Debray. This story, titled I, Rigoberta Mench´u, an Indian Woman in Guatemala, would galvanize world attention to the plight of Guatemala. Shortly thereafter, R´ıos Montt was overthrown in a coup, and the slow work of democratizing Guatemala began. In 1992, Rigoberta would win the Nobel Peace Prize for her life and work.

The controversy is all about the book. It began when anthropologist David Stoll began independent research on the same era about which Rigoberta dictated and discovered discrepancies in her recall of events. Massacres she described were not remembered by the locals; one of her brothers died by shooting rather than by fire, dates were incorrect, and so on. Stoll’s discoveries were enough to roil up conservative historians and columnists, who declared Rigoberta’s book the grossest propaganda and her career, therefore, unworthy of the Nobel Prize. Not surprisingly, this brought forth charges of racism, sexism, and cultural ignorance from the other side.

The Nobel Committee maintained a stiff upper lip throughout the political backand-forth and still insists that Rigoberta’s prize had to do with her documented good works and not with her personal recorded history. Rigoberta’s bookis still widely taught, and her place in the history of Central American peasant revolutions seems assured.

Q26. Which choice(s) by the Nobel Committee does the author seem to indicate was undeserved?

I. Rigoberta Mench ´u
II. Henry Kissinger
III. The Red Cross

  • A. I only
  • B. II only
  • C. I and III only
  • D. II and III only
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: B  

Q27. In the context of the passage, the word custody means:

  • A. fortification
  • B. safekeeping
  • C. incarceration
  • D. supervision
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q28. Which of the following statements is/are NOT presented as evidence that Rigoberta may have falsified her autobiography?

I. Massacres she described were not remembered by the locals.
II. One of her brothers died by shooting rather than by fire.
III. Rigoberta dictated her life story to anthropologist Debray.

  • A. I only
  • B. I and II only
  • C. III only
  • D. II and III only
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q29. According to the passage, why did Rigoberta leave Guatemala?

  • A. She wanted to alert the world to the problems of the peasants.
  • B. She was under fire from the army’s assassination squads.
  • C. She was invited to Paris to dictate her personal memoirs.
  • D. She no longer cared to stay after her family was murdered.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: B  

Q30. The author’s claim that Rigoberta’s book is still widely taught could BEST be supported by the inclusion of:

  • A. two students’ comments on the ongoing controversy
  • B. data on the sales for her book from publication until the present day
  • C. a record of bookstores that continue to carry her autobiography
  • D. a list of universities that include her book in their required reading lists
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: D  

Q31. Which new information, if true, would BEST support conservatives’ claims that Rigoberta was a fraud?

  • A. the discovery that Rigoberta was really born in early 1960
  • B. findings that show Rigoberta educated thousands of Mayan peasants
  • C. the discovery that neither Rigoberta nor her parents were part of CUC
  • D. findings that show R´ıos Montt was overthrown by a peasant army
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q32. If David Stoll is to be believed, Rigoberta’s autobiography seems to be an example of:

  • A. “truthiness,” the quality of preferring facts one wishes were true to those that are true
  • B. “epic,” a narrative unified by a legendary hero who reflects the aspirations of a nation or race
  • C. “folktale,” a story of cumulative authorship from the oral tradition
  • D. “manifesto,” a credo or position paper in which the leader of a political movement sets forth tenets and beliefs
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: A  

Q33. The author of the passage would probably support:

  • A. an inquiry that led to the removal of Rigoberta’s Nobel Prize
  • B. the removal of Rigoberta’s autobiography from college curricula
  • C. keeping Rigoberta’s name in the history books as a freedom fighter
  • D. granting the Nobel Prize exclusively to groups, not individuals
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Passage 6

        If our knowledge of the world occurs through the weaving of narratives, as postmodernists would have us believe, then we must judge the truth of each narrative by comparing it with what we value and what we already accept as true. Any metanarrative, or overarching “big story,” must be rejected because it attempts to explain away too many individual narratives.

The traditional metanarrative of American history, for example, might posit that the country was forged and tamed by white men who arrived by ship from a continent (Europe) that did not allow them the freedoms they desired. Viewing all of American history through that metanarrative, postmodernists would argue, does not allow us to consider the contributions of other groups to the country we live in today. So constructing a metanarrative can often be exclusionary.

Of course, constructing a series of smaller narratives is just as exclusionary because it frames experience in a limited way. It is easy to see this occurring if you look at any university course list today. How is it possible for American History 4111, “Imperialism and Amerindians, 1600–1840” to coexist alongside American History 4546, “American Military History and Policy”? Does English 340X, “Survey of Women’s Literature,” subsume or incorporate elements of English 342X, “American Indian Women Writers”? Perhaps we should pity the undergraduate student today. Lacking any overarching metanarrative to provide perspective, how can the poor student wade through the often contradictory mini-narratives being thrown his or her way?

There is no question that the old way was wrongheaded and elitist. Survey courses that emphasized the white male perspective were removed from the curriculum in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, and for good reason. But replacing them with a smorgasbord of mini-narratives risks eliminating any sense of a big picture. Can students connect the dots to define a coherent reality, or must their reality be a series of frames with no links among them?

Revising the canon was about ridding our perspective of those racist, sexist, or classist notions that insisted on a single Truth with a capital T . Of course there is no overriding Truth that applies to everyone. For everyone who believes that Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant reformer, there is someone who thinks he was a two-faced slaveholder. Yet, where does it leave us if everyone we know is approaching history, science, literature, or what have you from a slightly different angle? It’s bad enough when partisan politics divides us into red states and blue states. How much worse is it to imagine ourselves clad in thousands upon thousands of shades of purple?

The clearest sign that we are not ready to abandon our metanarratives comes in the current and ongoing clash between those who accept evolutionary theory and those who accept the Bible as the written word of God. The latter grant the Earth 6000 years of life, the former give it several million more, and never the twain shall meet. Each of these viewpoints is a metanarrative, a big story that governs people’s understanding of the world. Like many metanarratives, each of these completely negates the other.

So on the one hand, metanarratives don’t work well because they are too exclusionary. And on the other hand, mini-narratives don’t work well because they are too narrow. It will be fascinating to watch the canon evolve over the next few decades and to see whether this dichotomy can ever be resolved.

Q34. The main argument of the passage is that:

  • A. Metanarratives provide the best way to view the world.
  • B. Metanarratives are usually more restrictive than mini-narratives.
  • C. Mininarratives are racist, sexist, and classist.
  • D. Neither metanarratives nor mini-narratives offer a flawless perspective.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: D  

Q35. The passage suggests that the author would MOST likely believe that:

  • A. Colleges should offer more courses in American history.
  • B. Revising the canon in the late 20th century was a bad idea.
  • C. Students today need amore global perspective than their coursework provides.
  • D. Divisiveness in politics is preferable to conformity or unilateralism.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q36. Which of the following assertions does the author support with an example?

I. Constructing mini-narratives frames experience in a limited way.
II. We are not ready to abandon our metanarratives.
III. Constructing a metanarrative may be exclusionary.

  • A. I only
  • B. III only
  • C. I and II only
  • D. I, II, and III
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: D 

Q37. The ideas in this passage would be MOST useful to:

  • A. authors of novels in the postmodern tradition
  • B. committees responsible for establishing college curricula
  • C. students of ancient Roman or Greek philosophy
  • D. journalists, detectives, and other seekers of truth
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: B  

Q38. The author states that metanarratives have been replaced on campuses by a “smorgasbord” of mini-narratives. The word smorgasbord is used to indicate:

  • A. freshness
  • B. choice
  • C. flavor
  • D. foreignness
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: B  

Q39. Based on the information in the passage, which of these might be considered a metanarrative?

I. Marxism
II. rationalism
III. libertarianism

  • A. I only
  • B. II only
  • C. II and III only
  • D. I, II, and III
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: D  

Q40. A comparison of a mini-narrative to a metanarrative would be MOST similar to a comparison of:

  • A. a cropped photograph to a wide-angle photograph
  • B. a globe to a world map
  • C. a ranch-style house to a palace
  • D. a single domestic turkey to a flock of wild turkeys
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: A  

Passage 7

         What began as an online personal diary of sorts about a decade ago has become a multimillion-dollar-a-year business that is reshaping the nature of the media, publishing, and marketing. It has the power to catapult unknowns into celebrities, affect political careers, and even influence language. They were known first as “web logs,” which evolved into “weblogs” and finally “blogs.” In 2004, Merriam-Webster declared blog its Word of the Year.

It is estimated that more than 50 million people are blogging, and every second two new blogs are created. Most bloggers use the tool for its original purpose: periodically posting their thoughts on subjects of their choosing for others to read and comment on. But what sounds on the surface to be merely a public display of ideas is in effect changing the nature of media. Print newspapers and magazines have a staff of writers, researchers, and editors who find what they deem to be appropriate (often defined as “nonoffense”) material, shape it, and present it to an audience of passive consumers. When those passive consumers use simple websites to disseminate facts and ideas of their choosing, they evolve from passive consumers to active participants, effectively blurring the line between the media and its audience.

Many bloggers choose to focus on news stories that receive little attention from traditional media outlets. They research, report, and comment on information that the public might otherwise not have easy access to. Traditional media companies have stockholders to answer to, and sometimes edit content to eliminate or reduce possible controversial material. Blogs, in comparison, thrive on controversy. Indeed, that is where they most often make their mark. Talking Points Memo, which debuted in 2000, is a left-wing political site whose staff has grown to include eight employees, including five research interns. In December 2002, the blog focused on Senator Trent Lott’s comments at a political function that many deemed bigoted, a story that was virtually ignored by print, radio, and television media sources. In less than two weeks, the public outcry grew, and Lott resigned from his post as Senate majority leader.

In addition to their influence, popular bloggers are able to turn their sleuthing and private rants into dollars. Marketers looking for new and more effective ways to reach consumers are increasingly spending money on online advertising. By 2005,it was estimated that $100 million dollars’ worth of blogs ads were sold. One blogger in Kentucky uses his site,, to spread his brand of humor and is earning millions of dollars in ad revenue this year, thanks to the support of theme parks, shampoos, and nutrition bars. But this is predicted to be just the tip of the blogs profitability iceberg. Overall web advertising is expected to grow by 50 percent to $23.6 billion in 2010; much of that will make its way on to blogs.

Q41. The central thesis of the passage is that:

  • A. Blogging was once a solitary activity, but popular blogs now have readership in the millions.
  • B. Advertisers are spending more money on blogs and less on traditional print and broadcasting outlets.
  • C. Blogs are not only becoming profitable, but they are also influencing the media and the business of publishing and advertising.
  • D. Some bloggers have become millionaires as their popular websites are replete with advertising.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q42. The passage implies that bloggers who want to receive, or increase current levels of, advertising revenue must:

  • A. strive to be more controversial
  • B. build their readership
  • C. include more content concerning celebrities and politicians
  • D. appeal directly to marketers
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: B  

Q43. Suppose evidence was presented to show that traditional media sources were becoming successful in their attempts to compete for blogs’ advertising revenue. This new information would MOST challenge the implication that:

  • A. Advertisers are spending money on blogs because they present a more effective way to reach consumers.
  • B. People choose to read blogs because they don’t have to appeal to stockholders.
  • C. Popular blogs are better at disseminating information than traditional media sources.
  • D. Active participants blur the line between the media and its audience.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: A  

Q44. Which of the following assertions does the author support with an example?

I. Blogs influence language.
II. Blogs are used by politicians to shape public discourse.
III. Blogs disseminate information that traditional media sources neglect.

  • A. I only
  • B. II only
  • C. I and III only
  • D. I, II, and III
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q45. According to the passage, what is one way in which blogs are changing the nature of media?

  • A. They are siphoning advertising revenue from traditional news sources.
  • B. They are able to affect political careers.
  • C. They allow consumers to become active participants in the dissemination of ideas.
  • D. They are a public display of ideas.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q46. The passage suggests that Talking Points Memo’s coverage of a senator’s inappropriate comments was:

  • A. helpful in attracting advertisers, and therefore revenue-producing
  • B. designed to increase readership
  • C. an ineffective way to end the senator’s career
  • D. at odds with news coverage provided by traditional media sources
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: D  

Passage 8

         It is perhaps too easy to think of mathematical truths as objective entities existing in the universe, simply waiting to be “discovered” by brilliant minds such as Pythagoras, Newton, and Descartes. Indeed, such a mentality may be cemented in Western minds raised in the Platonic tradition of a world of ideals that exists outside of the material world we reside in.

But new research in the fields of cognitive science and developmental psychology may be challenging this long-held belief in mathematics as a truth outside of human experience, and recasting mathematics as a product of the brain, an entity that is not discovered by man but rather created by him.

Such a radical paradigm shift has predictably met with stiff resistance, but the evidence in favor of a created mathematics rather than a discovered mathematics is compelling. Study after study has shown that all people possess an innate arithmetic. Babies as young as three or four days old can differentiate between groups of two and three items. And by the age of four months or so, an infant can see that one plus one is two and two minus one is one. Researchers discovered this startling fact by means of a simple experiment, following what is known as the violation of expectation model in developmental psychology. An infant was presented with a scenario in which a researcher held a puppet before the baby’s eyes. Then a screen was moved in front of the puppet and another researcher placed a second puppet behind it. The screen was removed and if there were two puppets now visible, the infant registered no surprise (as measured by both the direction of the child’s gaze and the duration of her stare). But if the screen was removed and only one puppet appeared, the infant registered perplexity at the situation.

This experiment and others like it strongly suggest that all individuals are born with certain mathematical concepts hardwired into their brains. The ability to quickly and accurately count a small number of items, called subitizing by psychologists, is also found in animals. Researchers using experiments similar to the violation of expectation setup described previously have found an innate mathematical ability not just in primates, our closest evolutionary cousins, but in raccoons, rats, parrots, and pigeons. These findings are consistent with the belief that mathematical thinking is a function of the structures in the brain and not a product of the outside world.

Anomalous cases involving brain injuries and disorders also support the idea that mathematical thinking arises from the organization of the brain. There is a documented case of a subject with a PhD in chemistry who suffers from acalculia, the inability to perform basic arithmetic functions. Strangely, this patient is unable to perform simple calculations such as five plus three or eight minus two, but has no problem manipulating abstract algebraic operations. This curious fact has led psychologists to conclude that the part of the brain that handles abstract algebraic operations must be different from the part of the brain that works with more concrete arithmetic functions.

Q47. The author probably mentions the “Platonic tradition” in order to:

  • A. explain why some people may be less accepting of certain conclusions
  • B. demonstrate the philosophical and historical underpinnings of mathematical studies
  • C. highlight another influential Western figure in mathematical thought
  • D. argue that followers of non-Western philosophical traditions are more likely to agree with the author’s thesis
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: A  

Q48. The author supports the passage’s main thesis with all of the following types of evidence EXCEPT:

  • A. experiments
  • B. case studies
  • C. testimonials
  • D. comparisons
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q49. The passage implies that:

  • A. Structures for arithmetic calculations are hardwired into the brain, but those for algebraic manipulations are not.
  • B. Most animals are able to perform simple arithmetic operations.
  • C. Infants at the age of three or four days can already perform simple calculations.
  • D. Mathematical concepts are arbitrary.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: D  

Q50. In the context of the passage, the word curious means:

  • A. marvelous
  • B. exotic
  • C. odd
  • D. novel
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q51. In the discussion of the violation of expectation experiment, the author assumes that:

  • A. Certain observable behaviors accurately indicate inner mental states.
  • B. The infants in the study did not know what happened to the puppets behind the screen.
  • C. Researchers used the same types of puppets in all of the experiments.
  • D. Animals and infants performed at similar levels of competency in the experiments.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: A  

Q52. The central thesis of the passage is that:

  • A. Western philosophers were mistaken in their belief in mathematics as an objective truth.
  • B. Research in cognitive science and developmental psychology indicates that some animals may have the same mathematical abilities as humans do.
  • C. A longstanding attitude toward mathematics may need to be reexamined in light of new evidence.
  • D. People create their own mathematical systems based on the structures in their brains.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: C  

Q53. Suppose a team of anthropologists discovered an isolated community of individuals who possessed absolutely no mathematical ability whatsoever. This discovery would have what effect on the author’s argument?

  • A. It would refute it.
  • B. It would support it.
  • C. It would neither support nor refute it.
  • D. It would be necessary to determine the cause of the individuals’ lack of mathematical ability in order to say what effect it would have on the argument.
View Correct Answer
 Answer Key: D  

See also:

MCAT Practice Test 2024 with Study Guide

MCAT Biology Practice Test

MCAT Psychology Test

MCAT Chemistry Test