Module 8 - Types of CARS questions

  • CARS questions

    In this module, we apply a basic categorical model to CARS questions. According to our admittedly imperfect model, the categories of CARS questions are Main Idea, Author's Tone, Thematic Extension, Specific Inference, and Facts & Information. All questions won't fit the model perfectly. Some CARS questions will defy categorization, and some will seem to have a foot in more than one category. Nevertheless, it's useful to abstract CARS questions into categories. Firstly, it helps you gain awareness of the question-writer's art. This is their toolbox. Secondly, it can help you improve your CARS score. Look for the kinds of questions that are giving you particular trouble to help you focus on how to improve.

    It's important to see that the different types of CARS questions correspond to different modes of reading comprehension. A Facts & Information question is directed towards the referential dimension of the writing, the plain meaning. It gets at your ability to organize and rehearse information and encode memories of information presented to you in written form. An Author's Tone question though, is directed towards the expressive dimension of the writing. How well are you tuning into the voice of the writer? A Main Idea question gets at your ability to see the overall structure of an argument, and a Specific Inference question often goes towards your ability to interrogate an argument for implied premises or to judge the quality of a piece of evidence.

Suggested Assignments

Module 8 CARS Lesson Types of CARS questions.

Perform the final 7 passages (questions 81-120) from CARS Question Pack, Vol. 2. Give yourself 65 minutes to complete the passages. Before scoring them, perform a blind review.

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