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How to keep your head up when a low Verbal is keeping you out of med school?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by AOT11, 06.29.12.

  1. AOT11

    AOT11

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    I posted this in the MCAT forums but I think it'd be better here, since many of you are already in med school.

    I have pretty decent stats. I have research, over 1,000 hours in healthcare, good community service, and a 3.72 sGPA. My first MCAT score was a 12/5/11. I got a verbal tutor and have done everything possible but cannot seem to hit 8 (I'm stuck at 6). English is my first language. I'm retaking next week and have realized that a low verbal (a mere 60 minute section) is keeping me out, and it's hard to "keep your head up" in situations like this, especially since I've been practicing verbal for 4 months. What would you guys recommend? I've worked pretty hard and now feel like I'm close to giving up.

    This isn't me venting, by the way. I just don't know what the best steps would be. Should I even bother taking the exam next week? Two low verbal scores would look horrendous.
  2. MedPR

    MedPR

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    Postpone and try a different VR strategy.
  3. SaintJude

    SaintJude

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    If you really want to go to M.D. medical school, this may be something that can't be done with a quick fix?

    Have you considered taking a philosophy class? Or better, auditing a reasoning and logic deduction class at a nearby ivy? At my school a lot of students take a deduction class b/c it gives them the real skills to deal with the verbal or LSAT

    As tough as this sounds, I would consider postponing. You might be an MD with an inspiring story for someone in the future! you can do it!
  4. 572776

    572776

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    If you hit at least a 6 (7 would be better), you would have a pretty decent shot at DO. Good luck next week!:luck:
  5. Gut Shot

    Gut Shot

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    That would be tough. Many adcoms put a lot of credence into verbal.

    If your previous score were borderline I would say risk a retake, but a 5 sucks. And since you haven't been doing much better on practice runs, there is zero evidence to suggest you'll improve.

    This is a bitter pill, but if you're totally committed to med school I would recommend a gap year, during which you spend as much time as humanly possible taking verbal practice tests. The verbal is the hardest section to "overcome," but it's possible with enough practice.
  6. UrshumMurshum

    UrshumMurshum

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    First thing to do is fire the tutor, they're obviously not helping.

    Second, and you might not like to hear this, but it's unlikely you're going to get an 8 if your practice exams never got past a 6. You probably should postpone.

    Third, what are your fundamental problems? Are you reading too slowly and not having enough time to finish all the questions? Are you pacing yourself incorrectly? (How much time is left if you do finish all the questions?) How are you reading? You should be paying attention to main ideas and not necessarily specific details. Details that do seem specific or a word that is asked in a question should just be highlighted for future reference. Process of elimination will allow you to generally eliminate at least one absurd answer choice if not two. You can only use process of elimination if you have the general idea of the passages down.

    Also when you're reading, you should try to create imagery in your mind. Try to picture the story being presented to you, this will allow you to store the memory easier and give you a more clear perspective of the verbal prompt. This should enable you to get the main ideas better which in turn allow you to use process of elimination.

    Fourth, maybe consider DO schools? I don't know for a fact, but someone claimed that a majority of DO schools look at your total MCAT score and not any individual section. Your 28 on your first MCAT would be competitive at every DO school.

    Good luck! Don't give up.
  7. AOT11

    AOT11

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    My verbal tutor is on the board of admissions for one of my state's medical schools. He's an MD and he's been working with me for about a month. He told me yesterday that I show signs of ADHD, although my friends and family suggest that he's just saying that because I haven't improved and he feels partly responsible for it. Nevertheless, I can't really "fire" him. What if one day he's the one interviewing me?

    So you guys are saying skip the test? It's in 7 days so I need to decide pretty quickly.
  8. 235788

    235788 God Complex

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    I feel like 6 is pushing it...
  9. 572776

    572776

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    yes, BUT...everything else looks good. OP, some DO schools (kcumb being one of them) list that they want you to get at least a 7 but will review your app and will consider giving you a secondary if its slightly lower. I think since you will get some secondaries (because your other sections and gpa are great) if you get at least a 6 on vr. If its a 7, then you are in good shape :thumbup:
  10. sliceofbread136

    sliceofbread136

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    Try different strategies. When I stopped doing full reads my average went from 8 to 12.
  11. 235788

    235788 God Complex

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    Stop doing full reads -- What do you even mean? Like skim?
  12. Alejandro

    Alejandro

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    Okay...I've been in your shoes once, actually. I had a 6 on the VR, and aggregate of a 24. I'd encourage you to take some time off and really buckle down, and figure out for yourself, what you're doing wrong, or better yet, how you can improve.

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=773589

    Just one perspective on how things can be turned around. Cheers.
  13. sliceofbread136

    sliceofbread136

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    Read first sentence of a paragraph, if I didn't get the main idea I would read the last sentence. If that still didnt give me main idea I'd read the second sentence, and so on an so on. I could do this because after reading the question, I would identify which paragraph I needed to go back to gather the needed info and details.

    This obviously won't work for everyone, and OP should experiment with different methods.
  14. AOT11

    AOT11

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    I've tried that approach. Didn't work for me :(
  15. BlueLabel

    BlueLabel What a long, strange trip it's been

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    Just curious, how did you feel while/after taking the section? I'm pretty sure a 5 is like missing half the questions. Are you surprised by the result or did you run out of time and scramble to guess on a bunch of questions? I hope you find a technique that works for you because with your other numbers and ECs, you sound like you'll be good to go once you figure out how to beat the verbal.
  16. Chrome19

    Chrome19

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    I don't believe the VR section is necessarily indicative of how good of a med student or doctor you''ll be. But you need to find a way to beat the VR section (7+). It's just another hoop.

    And you should read the entire passage. I also support the other poster's comment on using imagery.

    I remember reading a post here of a philosophy major who scored a 4 or 5, but made an 11 on the retake about 2-3 months after. Don't despair. Continue to work hard and try your best to keep track of primary arguments and contextualize this with imagery. VR sucks.
  17. AOT11

    AOT11

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    Every MCAT is the same for me.
    PS - Gets me hyped up. I love this section (it's my strongest one).
    Then I get to VR, and I'm trying to stay super confident and attack it. And then I begin verbal and it's like a whole new language. Some passages are so dense that I honestly have no idea what they're talking about.

    I'll beat it...one day. Just don't see it happening next week. That's why I'm wondering if I should even bother taking it. I don't want 2 low verbal scores, because that will put a ton of pressure on my 3rd one.
  18. AOT11

    AOT11

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    Yeah, apparently the whole "verbal is the best indicator of your med school performance" was just a myth. It looks like BS > PS > VR > pokemon skills > writing section.
  19. pietachok

    pietachok

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    I understand why working with someone on a med school adcom would seem alluring & like a wise decision. However, I wouldn't necessarily expect an MD in his position to be a good tutor. He may have great verbal skills, but it doesn't mean he knows how to properly teach them to someone else...let alone someone with ADHD. There is obviously nothing in the MCAT verbal section that requires knowledge particular to an MD.

    I strongly suggest postponing your test date & seeking a tutor with an educational background -- they will likely have better techniques. If you re-take the exam & score similarly, it basically confirms that your aptitude is a 5. Given your other section scores, If you re-take it & score significantly better, it will make the 5 look aberrant.
  20. Chrome19

    Chrome19

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    Check your PM OP.
  21. Chrome19

    Chrome19

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    I can understand being great at science and sucking at verbal. But I've never understood VR-inflated scores like PS 8, VR 14, BS, 9.
  22. AOT11

    AOT11

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    I agree. I've seen that quite a bit. I would imagine good verbal = good BS score, at least.
  23. Rumalum

    Rumalum

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    Just make sure you're focusing when you read the passages. Don't let your mind wonder. It really isn't that hard - it's not like they're making you read William Faulkner. Sounds to me like you have yourself beat before even going in
  24. I like meowmix

    I like meowmix

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    I'll help you, if you want, via pm/skype or whatever. No charge, just helping out
  25. AOT11

    AOT11

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    So I guess my ultimate question is this: Should I take the exam next week?
  26. cuculici1

    cuculici1

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    You need to learn how to read properly. Verbal scores (SAT and MCAT included) are always the hardest to improve, however you would be surprised how time can do wonders for your verbal skills. I had a mediocre verbal score on the SAT (640), and after going to a college with a heavy liberal arts curriculum, have improved my verbal skills tremendously. You need to start reading and writing more, at a high level (ex. Economist instead of Time). Over time, your verbal skills will improve.
    Last edited: 06.30.12
  27. Praefectus

    Praefectus MS-0

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    Try going through the EK 101 Verbal Passages book. I would think that looking at similar types of questions over and over would help you learn how to efficiently analyze a passage.
  28. ariyon

    ariyon

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    try speed reading techniques. normally people are slow readers because of eye fixations. so lower the number of eye fixations and you should move more quickly. practice comprehension by when practicing stopping and asking yourself what you just read and summarize it to yourself in your own words. this is very helpful for me in general
  29. pietachok

    pietachok

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    No.
    The chance of benefit doesn't outweigh the risk (unless you are certain all your potential schools will look at best score per section...do any still do that?). If your level of preparedness/knowledge has stayed the same, consider your prior score to indicate a range of potential performance. All other factors the same, you could go re-take & get an 11/6/10 or 13/4/11, etc. Now consider whether you've actually let your science prep slide as you've focused on verbal? For that reason, you don't want to retake it until you're confident your actual potential has increased in verbal.

    If you work at this longer & with more qualified instructors & never feel confident you've improved that's a whole other issue. If 5/6 is your max, you'll obviously need to apply with what you've got, but it is so questionably a deal-breaker that I believe it is definitely worth further prep, even if it requires delaying apps a year or two.

    Also, if you believe you have an actual medical reason why youre doing poorly on verbal, please get it checked out. You're clearly intelligent & can think logically if you can score well in the sciences. Accordingly, it makes me wonder if you have an issue with focus or reading speed that would be a problem primarily in the verbal passages. If it is a legit problem, you'd want it addressed before med school anyhow.
  30. AOT11

    AOT11

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    Aw man, are you sure? I really wanted to apply this cycle :(
    I graduated last year. I really don't want to end up taking 3 years off :/
  31. pietachok

    pietachok

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    Only in my opinion--an opinion based on the way you presented your situation. There's no right or wrong answer anybody can give you.

    There are plenty of threads on SDN by people whose scores went down when they were retaking.

    I know extra years seem painful now, but extra years of maturity & work can add to your app if you use the time wisely.

    ...I just wouldn't consider your prep options exhausted after 1 tutoring experience of questionable efficacy.

    Perhaps the better way for you to solve your dilemma is for me to ask you to explain why you think it'd be beneficial to take it? And what do you think is keeping you from scoring higher? Maybe when you posted the thread you presented things differently than if you answered that question.
    Last edited: 06.30.12
  32. AOT11

    AOT11

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    Well I graduated in May 2011 so I've been out of school for a year already. I know a lot of people take many years off, but I just don't want to take more than 2 years off. If I applied next cycle, I would be starting med school in 2014.

    The biggest issue with all of this is the fact that I'm in Texas, and my GPA is higher than 3 of the med schools for my state. I have over double the average hours for experience, and I have strong rec letters. My science scores are fine. It just seems silly for me to take a year off cause of a low verbal, you know? I feel like I should take my chance. If I do poorly, so be it. I probably wouldn't retake until next March (I need some time off from this damn test!). But I also know that if I take it 3 times, my 3rd score would need to be a 31ish to make make up for my first 2 low scores.

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