Day 21 – CARS Question Format: Roman Numeral Questions

Yesterday, we looked at the negation question format. Today, we take up the one remaining question format that tends to throw MCATers off, the Roman numeral format. Once you get the hang of these question formats, you’ll look forward to seeing them on your practice tests. Let’s get to it!

Roman Numeral Questions:

It isn’t necessary to spend too much time on Roman numeral questions in particular because they can be any one of the previous question types we’ve reviewed. It’s just another way to ask a question, but Roman numeral questions in and of themselves aren’t associated with any one particular question type. What makes these questions hard is that you can understand and know most of the correct answer, but if you aren’t completely certain, the question can trick you be including an incorrect statement or by leaving out a correct one.  While there isn’t one associated question type, there are some tricks you can use to make this particular format easier. So we’ll review a few different strategies you can use to your benefit. Let’s take a look at an example question below.

1) According to the passage, the value of subjective measures are:

I – Their ability to measure QOL more accurately.
II – Their ability to show which factors are actually important.
III – Their use of self-reflective reporting.

A) I Only
B) II Only
C) I and II Only
D) II and III Only

With Roman numeral questions, the hardest part is finding the information you need to evaluate the individual statements. It is not uncommon for these sorts of questions to require you to synthesize different parts of the passage in order to decide whether one or more of the statements are true. Questions like these lend themselves to the global approach of a main idea question, even if the question is asking about something in particular. Look to see which parts of the passage connect with which statement. If you cannot find a connection between the two, regardless of what type of question it is, then the statement cannot be correct.

Let’s take a look at the best approach for dealing with this format:

– Which statement do you start with? Always evaluate statements in the order of frequency that they appear in the answer choices. This way you get the most bang for your buck.

– You don’t have to evaluate every statement. For example, if you determined that statements I and II are correct, you don’t even need to read statement III, let alone determine if it’s correct or not, because there is no answer choice that allows I, II, and III to be correct. Don’t waste time!

– If you’re stuck between picking an answer choice that has all statements being correct and only two of the three being correct and you’ve decided to guess, pick the latter, as it is a more difficult question if two out of the three statements are correct than one where all three are correct.

That’s it! Great job! You made it through all the different question types and formats! We’re going to spend the next few days looking at what makes wrong answers wrong, and how the MCAT writers come up with their trickster answer choices. I’ll explain more about it tomorrow. Today’s a break day, so get out and go for a walk or meet up with a friend. No practice passages today, but tomorrow we ramp up to 4 passages a day!

Today’s Assignment: Take a break! Don’t do any practice passages today.

“When you feel like quitting, think of your opponents. Are they quitting? To win, you have to be willing to do what they won’t. What they can’t.”
– Anonymous

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