PanRoasted

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While my verbal score is not astronomically high, I think it's pretty good compared to what it was when I started studying (started around a 7, now 11/12). Also, since I've gotten some PMs based on just one comment I made in a thread a while ago, I've decided that maybe other people in MCAT Discussions would at the very least be interested in reading something for 5 minutes if there was even the slightest chance it would increase their VR.

One of the biggest things I've realized in all my time studying VR is that the #1 reason that I'll flop on a passage (like getting 75%...wrong) is because I just didn't understand the passage as a whole. Not that any particular questions "got me," or "seemed confusing". Those are all secondary to not understanding the entire passage and internalizing it. That led me to perusing the MCAT forums or the EK book for guidance, but these sources mostly failed me because the only advice I would get for better reading comprehension was "read a lot" or "act like you're interested in the material" or some other vague, unhelpful drivel. After some experimentation, this is what I came up with (and I quote this from a PM I sent).



Here's how I break it down:

Spend 1~ minute reading and internalizing the first paragraph of a passage. Understand it as if it were an idea that you came up with on your own. Every passage is written so that it follows a logical progression of ideas. Starting out I realized that I would read an entire passage and not really get the gist of it because I didn't fully understand the first paragraph and couldn't connect each subsequent paragraph to the entire passage as a whole. That's the first thing.

After you understand that first paragraph, read the next one carefully, but don't spend as much time on it. I like to take a 5 second scan of a paragraph to get the general idea of what it's going to be talking about. Then I do a closer read for about 30-35 seconds, connect the idea of that paragraph to what was said in the previous one, then I move on. And by connecting, I mean asking yourself the question "what does this paragraph add to the last, or how does it support the last paragraph, or if the idea in this paragraph conflicts the last one, what does this imply about where the author is taking his train of thought". Etc. Paragraph-by-paragraph. Once I'm done with the passage, I have a very clear picture of what the author said, why he was saying it, what was the purpose of each paragraph, and I also have a good idea of where to go look for something that comes up in a question. The brain is a lot better (well my brain is anyway) at internalizing ideas and concepts if they are attached or correlated to something else. The "something else" has to be rock solid though, which is why understanding that first part of the logical train of thought the author is on is so important. If you read each paragraph in relation to the previous one, you *should* find that you have a much easier time recalling and whatnot when you're doing the questions. I also find that it's easier to do something like this, where I concretely know what I have to accomplish when I'm reading a passage, than to blindly follow some vague strategy like "pretend a friend is telling you a story" or "just act like you're really interested and somehow you will be."

As far as the questions go, that's something you have to learn to do on your own. Just do a lot of practice tests, get familiar with what kinds of questions AAMC likes to ask on VR, and come up with a strategy for doing them that makes the most sense to you.
After adopting this strategy, I've used it on ek101 with a huge amount of success. I literally just kind of "discovered" this strategy a few days ago, and before I had a big problem with finishing a passage on time, now for some reason I'm just zooming through questions and finishing passages with 1-2 minutes to spare (with 100% accuracy). Now this is starting to sound like an infomercial, but I'm not trying to sell anyone anything, I'm not asking for money, or offering any guarantees. I'm mostly just kind of excited and was hoping to validate this method by seeing if anyone else could get anything from it. I also realize this has probably been stated by someone elsewhere in MCAT discussion at some point in time in one form or another. Well, here it is again!

Cheers.

EDIT: Edited to address some of the questions brought up in the topic, as well as some things that I have realized about this method. Also, some comments to address common problems/questions are found below.

Also, as far as TIMING goes, yes, you may initially find yourself losing a little time with this method. It is not unlikely that you will spend 4 minutes just reading the passage. However, this is offset by being able to complete questions much faster (Say about 15 seconds to read through each answer and pick out the right one just off the top of your head, and maybe another 15 seconds to confirm it by looking at the corresponding paragraph in the passage). Getting used to reading like this combined with getting used to answering questions with less reliance on digging through the passage for clues will contribute to faster times.

It WILL still be difficult to tackle those hard artsy passages with crappy language, because lets face it, nobody in real life writes like that and it's a little unreasonable for AAMC to ask a bunch of science majors to read an article about the cubism movement written by the author equivalent of a hipster.

A common problem a significant number of people seem to encounter with this method is that it can be very mentally draining. I don't know exactly why this is, though I theorize that having to read for complete comprehension of ideas is much more taxing on your brain than is doing a superficial reading and painfully making your way through each question. You might find yourself running out of steam midway through a VR test. Be aware of when this happens, take a quick 5-10 second breather and try to empty your brain, then go back to the questions/passage. It's better to recognize when you've begun to lose focus and take a step back than to just keep trying to push through it, then finishing the entire passage while realizing that you have not 1) actually understood any of the words you just read and/or 2) did not focus on connecting the ideas.
 
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NuttyEngDude

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Thank you for writing this. Did you use any other materials or just EK101? I've noticed that my scores vary widely depending on which materials I am currently using.
 
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I approve of this strategy :D

It's basically what I did before taking a MCAT course, and I scored around an 11 at that time. Then I tried all those random EK/Kaplan/etc. strategies and went down to ~7... and now I've started just doing what I was doing before - reading and really understanding the passage before anything else, and am back in the 11 range :)
 
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PanRoasted

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Yes, I've only used EK101 for this strategy. I would imagine it would be a bit harder on AAMC, just because those passages are so difficult to read, but I think having my mind set on answering specific questions about the passage for each paragraph might help me. I'll try it out on my next practice test and publish the results.
 

bored

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While my verbal score is not astronomically high, I think it's pretty good compared to what it was when I started studying (started around a 7, now 11/12). Also, since I've gotten some PMs based on just one comment I made in a thread a while ago, I've decided that maybe other people in MCAT Discussions would at the very least be interested in reading something for 5 minutes if there was even the slightest chance it would increase their VR.

One of the biggest things I've realized in all my time studying VR is that the #1 reason that I'll flop on a passage (like getting 75%...wrong) is because I just didn't understand the passage as a whole. Not that any particular questions "got me," or "seemed confusing". Those are all secondary to not understanding the entire passage and internalizing it. That led me to perusing the MCAT forums or the EK book for guidance, but these sources mostly failed me because the only advice I would get for better reading comprehension was "read a lot" or "act like you're interested in the material" or some other vague, unhelpful drivel. After some experimentation, this is what I came up with (and I quote this from a PM I sent).

Quote:
Here's how I break it down:

Spend 1~ minute reading and internalizing the first paragraph of a passage. Understand it as if it were an idea that you came up with on your own. Every passage is written so that it follows a logical progression of ideas. Starting out I realized that I would read an entire passage and not really get the gist of it because I didn't fully understand the first paragraph and couldn't connect each subsequent paragraph to the entire passage as a whole. That's the first thing.

After you understand that first paragraph, read the next one carefully, but don't spend as much time on it. I like to take a 5-10 second scan of a paragraph to get the general idea of what it's going to be talking about. Then I do a closer read for about 20-25 seconds, connect the idea of that paragraph to what was said in the previous one, then I move on. And by connecting, I mean asking yourself the question "what does this paragraph add to the last, or how does it support the last paragraph, or if the idea in this paragraph conflicts the last one, what does this imply about where the author is taking his train of thought". Etc. Paragraph-by-paragraph. Once I'm done with the passage, I have a very clear picture of what the author said, why he was saying it, what was the purpose of each paragraph, and I also have a good idea of where to go look for something that comes up in a question. The brain is a lot better (well my brain is anyway) at internalizing ideas and concepts if they are attached or correlated to something else. The "something else" has to be rock solid though, which is why understanding that first part of the logical train of thought the author is on is so important. If you read each paragraph in relation to the previous ones, you *should* find that you have a much easier time recalling and whatnot when you're doing the questions. I also find that it's easier to do something like this, where I concretely know what I have to accomplish when I'm reading a passage, than to blindly follow some vague strategy like "pretend a friend is telling you a story" or "just act like you're really interested and somehow you will be."

As far as the questions go, that's something you have to learn to do on your own. Just do a lot of practice tests, get familiar with what kinds of questions AAMC likes to ask on VR, and come up with a strategy for doing them that makes the most sense to you.

After adopting this strategy, I've used it on ek101 with a huge amount of success. I literally just kind of "discovered" this strategy a few days ago, and before I had a big problem with finishing a passage on time, now for some reason I'm just zooming through questions and finishing passages with 1-2 minutes to spare (with 100% accuracy). Now this is starting to sound like an infomercial, but I'm not trying to sell anyone anything, I'm not asking for money, or offering any guarantees. I'm mostly just kind of excited and was hoping to validate this method by seeing if anyone else could get anything from it. I also realize this has probably been stated by someone elsewhere in MCAT discussion at some point in time in one form or another. Well, here it is again!

Cheers.
Thanks a lot for posting this mate. I agree with the whole taking time to read the passage and understanding it and then zooming through the questions.
 
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i just applied the technique about how to read the paragraphs to my own technique on the first 2 passages in Ek 101 test 13 and am at a 9/11. this is still small sample but reading in this way actually will help i think in the shortest amount of time.
 

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Tried it on official AAMC FL #5

Still got 11.... But it definitely just *felt* better. I didn't have to dig through the passage for the majority of the questions, and they just seemed much easier. Also, I completely messed up the interpretation on a passage and got 4 of them wrong (the picasso passage if anyone recalls), which is entirely my own shortcoming and not because of the method. Still finished with time to spare, however, so it was an overall less stressful ordeal.

I'll keep chugging through VR with this method to see if I can get any tangible results out.
 
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PanRoasted

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First off, thank you so much for sharing this with everyone.. For people like me(ESL) VR is coming in my way of becoming a doctor. I tried this today with TPR verbal passages and got 6/7, 3/5 and 6/6.. I think it works well so far!:xf: Thank you so much once again! Really appreciate it!
That's great news! I'm really glad this is starting to reveal itself as, at the very least, not harming anyone's scores, haha.
 

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I used this strategy but my reading speed is just too slow to do anything with this strategy. so if I read a paragraph in 20 seconds like yo say, than I don't get anything out of and not end up understanding anything in that paragraph. This just screwes up my passage score like you suggest. but If I take a longer time (4+ minutes), I can zoom past the questions because main idea is still fresh in my mind.

Op, can you elaborate on average how long it took you to read passage and how long it took you to do the questions? I am taking 4+ minutes to read.
 
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I used this strategy but my reading speed is just too slow to do anything with this strategy. so if I read a paragraph in 20 seconds like yo say, than I don't get anything out of and not end up understanding anything in that paragraph. This just screwes up my passage score like you suggest. but If I take a longer time (4+ minutes), I can zoom past the questions because main idea is still fresh in my mind.

Op, can you elaborate on average how long it took you to read passage and how long it took you to do the questions? I am taking 4+ minutes to read.
dont count just reading the passage, count taking 2 passages at once in 16 min.
 

PanRoasted

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I used this strategy but my reading speed is just too slow to do anything with this strategy. so if I read a paragraph in 20 seconds like yo say, than I don't get anything out of and not end up understanding anything in that paragraph. This just screwes up my passage score like you suggest. but If I take a longer time (4+ minutes), I can zoom past the questions because main idea is still fresh in my mind.

Op, can you elaborate on average how long it took you to read passage and how long it took you to do the questions? I am taking 4+ minutes to read.
I would say I average about 3.5 minutes per passage. I think it's fine to take up to 4 minutes, sometimes I will take a little more than 4 if it's either a long passage or a particularly hard one. I generally having more time than if I tried to read a passage straight through and comprehend everything, because the questions become much easier and I can answer them a lot faster. EX: before I'd spend about 1 minute frantically searching the passage for each question, now I can basically pick out the correct answer in 10~ seconds and ponder for another 15 for your average difficulty question. Maybe taking 20 seconds for a paragraph is a bit too short, I'd say about 30 seconds is around what I actually take to read a paragraph.

I think if you put your MAIN focus on reading the passage thoroughly in the systematic way I described, you shouldn't have to worry too much about how much time you'll have left for each question. I would say you want to leave yourself at least 25 seconds per question in case a really tricky one comes up. Even doing 5 minutes of reading would leave about 30 seconds per question (for the average 6 question long passage), and 5 minutes is really a rather extreme amount of time to spend on just reading. Also, just because it takes you a long time to answer one passage doesn't mean that you've fallen behind in time. No test is going to have all hard passages, you can certainly make up time on an easier natural sciences passage or something.
 
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I tried this on random EK passages (N=4) with three passages from the harder tests. Starting out it was a weird transition to make so I got 2/5(Koran one). The next two passages I miss one question in each but it was because I failed to look for a detail. I find myself running over 8 min sometimes. The last passage I got 3/6 but I didn't do a good job with handling questions (Freud and Nietzche??). Overall, I think it is a good strategy because I understood what was going on much better. Instead of asking Why?? I would explain to myself how each paragrah related. I started out with 5 VR and had just got it to a 6 VR (20/40) by reading questions first and reading Economist, NY Times, etc for humanities passages. A small achievement considering my test is this Saturday and I voided my 7/6 tests because of VR. I will try this out on AAMC 11 and let you know. If I can get all but 1 question right for each passage on an AAMC/Real MCAT and maybe rush on the last one due to timing (which I will work on), I am guaranteed a 9/10 minimum, which is much better than my current score. That was long-winded but thanks for the strategy. It's just what I needed for this upcoming Saturday.

Also, do you think this strategy can be applied to PS/BS theory/info passages?
 
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This strategy isn't too far off from what I have been doing (I read for understanding, no highlighting, etc.) however, I just followed your strategy more closely and so far, the results have been great. Thanks!
 
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PanRoasted

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I tried this on random EK passages (N=4) with three passages from the harder tests. Starting out it was a weird transition to make so I got 2/5(Koran one). The next two passages I miss one question in each but it was because I failed to look for a detail. I find myself running over 8 min sometimes. The last passage I got 3/6 but I didn't do a good job with handling questions (Freud and Nietzche??). Overall, I think it is a good strategy because I understood what was going on much better. Instead of asking Why?? I would explain to myself how each paragrah related. I started out with 5 VR and had just got it to a 6 VR (20/40) by reading questions first and reading Economist, NY Times, etc for humanities passages. A small achievement considering my test is this Saturday and I voided my 7/6 tests because of VR. I will try this out on AAMC 11 and let you know. If I can get all but 1 question right for each passage on an AAMC/Real MCAT and maybe rush on the last one due to timing (which I will work on), I am guaranteed a 9/10 minimum, which is much better than my current score. That was long-winded but thanks for the strategy. It's just what I needed for this upcoming Saturday.

Also, do you think this strategy can be applied to PS/BS theory/info passages?
Yes, you're meant to really just boil down each paragraph after the first to how it is related to both the paragraph previous to it, as well as the passage in general. I added the questions as a supplement to those who needed a more concrete way of connecting the paragraphs.

I'm really glad this helped you :D unfortunately you won't get more time to practice with it, but I hope you do well on your test Saturday.

I really think this strategy is a bit superfluous for PS/BS. If you want to try it, go right ahead.

EDIT: I'm glad it's been a help to you, Blown Away. More evidence this might not all just be in my head, heh.
 
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aspiringdoc09

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Yes, you're meant to really just boil down each paragraph after the first to how it is related to both the paragraph previous to it, as well as the passage in general. I added the questions as a supplement to those who needed a more concrete way of connecting the paragraphs.

I'm really glad this helped you :D unfortunately you won't get more time to practice with it, but I hope you do well on your test Saturday.

I really think this strategy is a bit superfluous for PS/BS. If you want to try it, go right ahead.

EDIT: I'm glad it's been a help to you, Blown Away. More evidence this might not all just be in my head, heh.
I usually try to read in a whisper to myself; otherwise, I loose focus when reading in my head. It'll work out. :xf::xf:Also, I plan to take my TPRH ICC book with me, so I can read a passage on my break before VR. That way, my brain would have already switched gears before starting and screwing up the first passage.
 

PanRoasted

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I usually try to read in a whisper to myself; otherwise, I loose focus when reading in my head. It'll work out. :xf::xf:Also, I plan to take my TPRH ICC book with me, so I can read a passage on my break before VR. That way, my brain would have already switched gears before starting and screwing up the first passage.
Haha, I would never have thought of doing that... maybe I'll steal your idea for my eventual test date.
 

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I usually try to read in a whisper to myself; otherwise, I loose focus when reading in my head. It'll work out. :xf::xf:Also, I plan to take my TPRH ICC book with me, so I can read a passage on my break before VR. That way, my brain would have already switched gears before starting and screwing up the first passage.
Haha. Don't get caught.
 

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Are we not allowed to read between breaks? Is this against the rules? I have no intentions on taking notes. They can't control me reading in my car. I hope not anyway! LOL!
 
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Are we not allowed to read between breaks? Is this against the rules? I have no intentions on taking notes. They can't control me reading in my car. I hope not anyway! LOL!
It is against the rules to read study material during breaks.
 

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Didn't think reading a passage was study material. Would a newspaper be ok?
 
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I like to think of myself as a good reader. However, when I took the Kaplan class and tried their method and got a row of 6s on practice tests, I really lost confidence in my own reading comprehension skills. One day I said f-it let me just read these passages the way I would read anything else new to me- for understanding and for harder passages I just highlight key words that keep repeating in the passage. Next thing you know I'm pulling 10-12 on verbal (most questions I missed were because I missed key words like 'except' and 'not'). Just b/c you pay $2000 for a prep class doesn't mean their methods are tailored for your learning. At the end of it all you have to understand the way you learn- something that I've heard from many people in medical school.
 
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Thank you for your advice! When utilizing your strategy, did you find yourself going back to the passage less to find an answer?
 

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Tried it on official AAMC FL #5

Still got 11.... But it definitely just *felt* better. I didn't have to dig through the passage for the majority of the questions, and they just seemed much easier. Also, I completely messed up the interpretation on a passage and got 4 of them wrong (the picasso passage if anyone recalls), which is entirely my own shortcoming and not because of the method. Still finished with time to spare, however, so it was an overall less stressful ordeal.

I'll keep chugging through VR with this method to see if I can get any tangible results out.
I also just finished aamc #5 (well almost finished, stopped because I was feeling sleepy and starting to make too many mistakes.)

I started out great. I even got a perfect on the first passage, and then went away for like 30 minutes and then came back and totally started failing it. Idk what happened. maybe it was luck? though I really think focusing on the passage and than zooming pass the question is definately the way to go rather then going back for each question.

I am going to try out what you suggested on some more ek101 tests and more tpr passages and then come back to having a go at aamc #6
 

PanRoasted

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Thank you for your advice! When utilizing your strategy, did you find yourself going back to the passage less to find an answer?
Yes, I definitely had to go back to the passage less. I think before I started reading this way, I would probably go back to the passage for almost every question and frantically search for the answer or clues about the answer. Now, I can do almost all of the questions fairly quickly without having to go back for clues, but just for the sake of being thorough, I do go back to the passage just to confirm my answer. Both answering the question and going back to the passage to confirm take less time than before, though.

@bored: do you think it was an overall improvement or not? I know my numerical score didn't appear to go up, but I finished with far more time to spare than any of my other verbal tests (and by far more time, I mean with about 5 minutes left to check over everything as opposed to having to answer the last 3 questions in under a minute), and I feel like it made everything much less stressful. Also, at the time of doing FL #5, I had only been using this strategy for a few days, so I think I've definitely worked out some of the "kinks" by now.

EDIT: though I wouldn't say i didn't make any improvement on FL#5... I believe for the previous FL, I just barely made an 11, whereas in FL #5 I got two more questions correct than previously.
 

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Yes, I definitely had to go back to the passage less. I think before I started reading this way, I would probably go back to the passage for almost every question and frantically search for the answer or clues about the answer. Now, I can do almost all of the questions fairly quickly without having to go back for clues, but just for the sake of being thorough, I do go back to the passage just to confirm my answer. Both answering the question and going back to the passage to confirm take less time than before, though.

@bored: do you think it was an overall improvement or not? I know my numerical score didn't appear to go up, but I finished with far more time to spare than any of my other verbal tests (and by far more time, I mean with about 5 minutes left to check over everything as opposed to having to answer the last 3 questions in under a minute), and I feel like it made everything much less stressful. Also, at the time of doing FL #5, I had only been using this strategy for a few days, so I think I've definitely worked out some of the "kinks" by now.

EDIT: though I wouldn't say i didn't make any improvement on FL#5... I believe for the previous FL, I just barely made an 11, whereas in FL #5 I got two more questions correct than previously.
Well Its hard in your case to get improvement becuase its pretty hard to go up from an 11 or even 10.
I think I need to work with it on afew passages from ek. It definitely keeps me more focused while reading and that I think is key to understanding the passage.
 

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Great post. Thank you! I tested it on an EK section 4 and I scored a 11 (which is a huge improvement from my usual 8/9 on VR). I don't know if EK 4 is easier than other sections, but i really hope its the strategy working.

I actually noticed that I had extra time after I finished the section (around 5 minutes). I used to always go back to the passage a lot because I flew over my initial passage reading. Who knew that a good VR strategy made this much difference. thanks again.
 

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Great post. Thank you! I tested it on an EK section 4 and I scored a 11 (which is a huge improvement from my usual 8/9 on VR). I don't know if EK 4 is easier than other sections, but i really hope its the strategy working.

I actually noticed that I had extra time after I finished the section (around 5 minutes). I used to always go back to the passage a lot because I flew over my initial passage reading. Who knew that a good VR strategy made this much difference. thanks again.
Woo, the best results in this thread yet. Congrats! Hope the strategy keeps working for you.
 

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I have a question. Are the answer choices on the real MCAT long? I was doing EK verbal and I found it annoying when each answer choice is like a paragraph long.
 

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I have a question. Are the answer choices on the real MCAT long? I was doing EK verbal and I found it annoying when each answer choice is like a paragraph long.
I'm not seeing any EK verbal answers that are "like a paragraph long," but I would say that the answer choice lengths in EK101 mirror the ones you'll find on AAMC.
 

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I completed AAMC 11 VR and used this strategy and got a 7. I started off great but find myself tiring out towards the end. Also, I took it at work with people constantly talking and moving about the halls. I looked at the score report and see that I got Humanities: 10/12, Natural Science 5/10 and Social science 8/18. I need to get my Natural Sciences and social sciences back up. I feel I am getting tricked up on answer choices, so I will look at it thoroughly. Also, I'm not sure of the difficulty of AAMC 11 VR. It is still an increase over a short time compared to all my prior efforts. I will continue to practice with old AAMC VR sections.
 

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I completed AAMC 11 VR and used this strategy and got a 7. I started off great but find myself tiring out towards the end. Also, I took it at work with people constantly talking and moving about the halls. I looked at the score report and see that I got Humanities: 10/12, Natural Science 5/10 and Social science 8/18. I need to get my Natural Sciences and social sciences back up. I feel I am getting tricked up on answer choices, so I will look at it thoroughly. Also, I'm not sure of the difficulty of AAMC 11 VR. It is still an increase over a short time compared to all my prior efforts. I will continue to practice with old AAMC VR sections.
Good to hear that you've improved. Hopefully your test date will have better conditions, lol. I think after doing a lot of passages with this method, it's still important to mentally picture the broad ideas formed throughout the passage after you're finished reading to try to determine which ideas/themes were major throughout, and which ones were minor.

I've tried this method on TPRH verbal now and I seem to be getting the same or slightly worse results than with EK101, but definitely not wildly different result. The timing is a little messed up though, because there are more questions per passage than there would be on the AAMC.
 
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OP, I have been doing this but one thing scares me. Yes my scores have improved but... I finish with like 3-4 minutes left tops now. I seriously take 4 minutes to read the passage doing this. I hear the actual MCAT has longer passages... will I dun goof and run out of time?
 

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OP, I have been doing this but one thing scares me. Yes my scores have improved but... I finish with like 3-4 minutes left tops now. I seriously take 4 minutes to read the passage doing this. I hear the actual MCAT has longer passages... will I dun goof and run out of time?
I think the best way to test this would be to try using the method on an AAMC FL verbal reasoning section. Depending on what practice you've been using, the AAMC VR passages may or may not be longer. My timing is only a guideline, if you find that you can increase your speed while still retaining the same understanding of the passage as a whole, then by all means, read a little faster. However, I would say that it's better to fully utilize the time you have available than to finish early and either nap or try to go back to questions you thought were difficult. Your accuracy is almost never better than when you answer a question right after reading the passage (from my own experience). Also, 4 minutes is really not too much time to take reading a passage. I sometimes take 4 minutes to read a passage, and my timings have so far been under the 8~ minute maximum time limit generally agreed upon by most people. Also, 3-4 minutes left at the end of your VR section is fairly safe...I wouldn't worry about it unless you find yourself running out of time on the VR from AAMC FLs.
 

Godric

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@PanRoasted I tried your method, but I am having trouble connecting the paragraphs, I start out fine (most of the time) I am able to see/understand what the author is presenting in the first paragraph but afterwards other paragraphs sometimes I am unable to connect them to the first paragraph. Any pointers?

I just got done taking EK Test 6, and I my score was a 7 (past info about me, I got a 4 on AAMC#3, and Ive been getting around 6-8 on EK 1-5, and on AAMC#4 I got an 8) I did just around my average but I am trying to improve. A positive out of this was that I got 1 whole passage correct/ 1 passage with 1 wrong. I usually make mistakes in all my passages.

I think a large part of my mistakes stem from the fact that I was rushed for time, I tried using your strategy under timed conditions, I gave my self 55 mins, and ended up taking 56 and had to rush (is an understatement) the last passage.

Any pointer would be awesome! and congrats on raising your score so high! Gives me hope.
 

PanRoasted

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@PanRoasted I tried your method, but I am having trouble connecting the paragraphs, I start out fine (most of the time) I am able to see/understand what the author is presenting in the first paragraph but afterwards other paragraphs sometimes I am unable to connect them to the first paragraph. Any pointers?

I just got done taking EK Test 6, and I my score was a 7 (past info about me, I got a 4 on AAMC#3, and Ive been getting around 6-8 on EK 1-5, and on AAMC#4 I got an 8) I did just around my average but I am trying to improve. A positive out of this was that I got 1 whole passage correct/ 1 passage with 1 wrong. I usually make mistakes in all my passages.

I think a large part of my mistakes stem from the fact that I was rushed for time, I tried using your strategy under timed conditions, I gave my self 55 mins, and ended up taking 56 and had to rush (is an understatement) the last passage.

Any pointer would be awesome! and congrats on raising your score so high! Gives me hope.
It's sometimes easier for me to connect the paragraphs together if I talk to myself while I'm reading. I will read a sentence, briefly talk myself through what I thought the sentence meant, and then at the end of a paragraph briefly do all the things I mentioned in the OP (ask myself how this paragraph connected to the last one, etc). Also, when you move on to the second paragraph after internalizing the first one, you have to read it with the idea of the first paragraph still kind of in the back of your immediate consciousness. For example, take this sample first paragraph from a TPRH verbal workbook (I don't know if posting this is against the rules....sorry if it is):

In the United States the per capita costs of schooling have risen almost as fast as the cost of medical treatment. But increased treatment by both doctors and teachers has shown steadily declining results. Medical expenses concentrated on those above forty-five have doubled several times over a period of forty years with a resulting 3 percent increase in life expectancy in men. The increase in educational expenditures has produced even stranger results; otherwise President Nixon could not have moved this spring to promise that every child shall soon have the "Right to Read" before leaving school.
This first paragraph basically compares the diminishing returns of both the healthcare system and the educational system. The last part indicates that education is in an even worse condition than healthcare. I would summarize this paragraph to myself as "education/medicine in america is costing a lot more, and are still bad."

Now, at this point it's slightly hazy as to whether to author will move on to discuss more about healthcare or more about education. I would lean more toward education because medicine here is more in the background, and seems to be used only as a comparison. Moving on to the next paragraph:

In the US it would take $80 billion per year to provide what educators regard as equal treatment for all in grammar and high school. This is well over twice the $36 billion now being spent. Independent cost projections prepared at HEW and at the University of Florida indicate that by 1974 the comparable figures will be $107 billion as against the $45 billion now projected....[more stuff about spending and how the US doesn't have the money to adequately fund education in its current form]
Here, I would try to connect this paragraph to the last by saying to myself "this paragraph elaborates on the issue presented in the first paragraph by talking about how the costs of schooling in america at present is unfeasible." It's possible that the author could have steered it in a different direction, such as noting that there are conflicting opinions about the state of our education; etc. There are also some smaller details that are important for the questions throughout the paragraph. It shouldn't be necessary to make a conscious effort to remember all the details. Just reading them and connecting the ideas of the second paragraph to the first should make them just kind of stick in your mind. If a question brings up a topic from the second paragraph, just briefly skim it again to refresh the smaller details of the argument.

Also! I may not have been too clear about this, but it's more important to connect any given paragraph to the one immediately previous to it, not necessarily just the first paragraph. I mentioned that each passage follows a logical flow of ideas, so you should just follow each of the ideas sequentially, not try to connect the third and fourth paragraphs to the every paragraph previously (not consciously, anyway). If done right, I believe the entire idea should become one cohesive unit in your brain by the end of the passage. To solidify that thought, recap the entire logical flow of ideas briefly at the very end of your reading.

Timing I have already made some mentions of, and I'm beginning to realize that there can really be no steadfast rules about timing that can be applied to everyone. I will say that while my timing improved after starting to use this method, I can see how it would be more difficult to switch from something else entirely to this, and that the timing might suffer initially. My only suggestion is to keep going at it, and if you see that your times are still not good enough and your scores are decreasing or not moving, maybe this strategy is not for you. I wouldn't want anyone to keep going with this strategy if there was no detectable improvement. I have mentioned elsewhere that I personally can take around 3.5-4 minutes just reading, and still make it through the questions with time to spare. It could take some getting used to answering questions based on what your remember rather than digging through the passage for clues.

I admit that it is a bit harder to focus throughout an entire VR test with this method for some reason... I'm not quite sure why. It could be that it takes more brainpower to fully understand a passage than to do a superficial reading and refer back to the passage heavily for questions. "Mental stamina" is a real thing, and I would say that if this method requires more effort, "running out of steam" would be one of the major drawbacks.

Hope this helps!
 

Godric

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@PanRoasted, first of thanks for taking the time to write out such a detailed post, I really appreciate it.
I am going to be more proactive about figuring out the main idea/what the author is presenting and then connecting it to the next paragraph, I'll sort of question my self after I get done reading each paragraph and make sure I am able to answer how is this related to the previous paragraph. Sometimes I presented with a tough passage or something I deem tough and I am just terrible at comprehending it, I am hoping with enough practice I improve on those and I am able to use this technique to do well!

As for timing, I am sure with enough practice and conditioning everyone can improve. I give my self 5 minutes less on each exam just in case the VR passages are really long. And before I read your post I really had no technique for VR, all I did was just read, try my best to understand/know where certain details were presented and answer the questions, but with this strategy I have a plan of action to follow, and I feel because I am being engaged It'll force me to keep a well organized head.

Thanks! I'll update later today with a new test score.
 

aspiringdoc09

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I admit that it is a bit harder to focus throughout an entire VR test with this method for some reason... I'm not quite sure why. It could be that it takes more brainpower to fully understand a passage than to do a superficial reading and refer back to the passage heavily for questions. "Mental stamina" is a real thing, and I would say that if this method requires more effort, "running out of steam" would be one of the major drawbacks.

Hope this helps!
I agree with this statement. When I tried it out on AAMC 11 VR, I found myself losing stamina at the end when I had two passages left. I didn't think much of it because I have felt that way when using other strategies, so I figured it was me.
 

Vertwous

A Vertwous Life.
Apr 22, 2012
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I was never able to grasp the EK method of ripping through VR passages that was said from their little VR&math book, so I've been looking for other ways to get through these problems. I stumbled onto this, and thought I should give it a go.

Past EK101 scores:
EK1: 6
EK2: 7
EK3: 9
EK4: 8
EK5: 7
EK6: 6
From this point onward, I applied your strategy.
EK7: 10
EK8: 7

I don't know if I got a 10 because EK 7 was one of the easier of the bunch, or I had better composure throughout the test, or I just had fluke, or if the strategy actually worked. Right now it seems like my scores are all over the place, so I'll keep going with the strategy to see if I'll reach a consistency or signs of improvement. 'Tis a great idea though!
 

PanRoasted

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Thanks for the replies everyone.

Didn't realize you were purposely giving yourself 5 minutes less Godric, heh. I try to cut right down to the wire so I can spend all my time most efficiently (which for me is answering questions right after reading, when the ideas are freshest in my mind).

@aspiringdoc,
Maybe taking a 5 second breather in between passages might help with the fatigue. It's one of the things from EK that I actually do still use. I'm not sure if it really helps, but I feel a little less overwhelmed when I take the 5 seconds to relax and empty my brain to tackle another passage.

@Vertwous:
Thanks! Hopefully you can get some good results back. Glad to see that you finally broke a point barrier in EK, at least. I find that even making a milestone as small as a 1 point increase is a hard earned victory in VR... Hope to see your results with AAMC VR.
 

Godric

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Dec 30, 2010
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I was never able to grasp the EK method of ripping through VR passages that was said from their little VR&math book, so I've been looking for other ways to get through these problems. I stumbled onto this, and thought I should give it a go.

Past EK101 scores:
EK1: 6
EK2: 7
EK3: 9
EK4: 8
EK5: 7
EK6: 6
From this point onward, I applied your strategy.
EK7: 10
EK8: 7

I don't know if I got a 10 because EK 7 was one of the easier of the bunch, or I had better composure throughout the test, or I just had fluke, or if the strategy actually worked. Right now it seems like my scores are all over the place, so I'll keep going with the strategy to see if I'll reach a consistency or signs of improvement. 'Tis a great idea though!
Update: I took Ek# 7, and as Vertwous points out maybe its an eaiser test than the other ones, so I should take this score with a grain of salt, but I just got a 10 on EK 7!

My score trends been going like this,
AAMC 3 (at the start of studying): 4
EK 1: 6
EK 2: 8
EK 3: Lost Paper
EK 4: 6
AAMC #4 (pretty much done with content): 8
EK 5: 7
EK 6: 7
------Tried PanRoasted VR Strategy---------------
EK 7: 10 :)

At first when I started out on the first passage it took me longer to read the passage, and figure out what the paragraphs presented, but soon after I wasn't taking as long, and I felt I had a better pace. It was almost like a warm up passage to get the engine going. And I did get tripped up near the end from a weird passage, but asking my self questions as I went along definitely helped me retain ideas and understand the passage as a whole.

As for time again, pretty much the same deal, I gave my self 55 minutes, but I ended up using a total of 64 minutes to complete the last whole test. I am sure timing will become better as I keep practicing. I still treated the last passage when I ran out of time as if I were under timed conditions.
 

PanRoasted

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Update: I took Ek# 7, and as Vertwous points out maybe its an eaiser test than the other ones, so I should take this score with a grain of salt, but I just got a 10 on EK 7!

My score trends been going like this,
AAMC 3 (at the start of studying): 4
EK 1: 6
EK 2: 8
EK 3: Lost Paper
EK 4: 6
AAMC #4 (pretty much done with content): 8
EK 5: 7
EK 6: 7
------Tried PanRoasted VR Strategy---------------
EK 7: 10 :)

At first when I started out on the first passage it took me longer to read the passage, and figure out what the paragraphs presented, but soon after I wasn't taking as long, and I felt I had a better pace. It was almost like a warm up passage to get the engine going. And I did get tripped up near the end from a weird passage, but asking my self questions as I went along definitely helped me retain ideas and understand the passage as a whole.

As for time again, pretty much the same deal, I gave my self 55 minutes, but I ended up using a total of 64 minutes to complete the last whole test. I am sure timing will become better as I keep practicing. I still treated the last passage when I ran out of time as if I were under timed conditions.
Wow, awesome news :D Too bad about going over, but I definitely do think after getting used to reading the passages in this way for a while, the process gets a little faster. After you're able to just read the passages without having to look at the clock for timing, it gets smoother.

I think at this point I might just take EK 7 to see whether it's really just an easy test or not, heh.
 

Bamfu

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Jun 30, 2012
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The key to this strategy is the building upon something concrete and very solid.

I was an education major, so I'm going about this a non-traditional way. However, the biggest thing I took out of my education courses was the idea of scaffolding - build upon ideas that your students are already aware of and comfortable with.

It takes a lot of focus to put something into your long-term memory, and it takes a longer time to recall it if you haven't done it in a while.

Think of your mind as an empty room with thousands of playing cards dumped face down on the floor. If you're looking for a card and know it's glued to like 100 other cards, it is much easier to dig through the mess until you find a mass of cards stuck together than it is to locate just one particular card.

Learning something in relation to something you already know is at least 800 times easier.

Great strategy! I spend a lot of time on the beginning for mastery as well before moving on. I make up the time I "waste" on the first paragraph or two because I can read the others so well because they make sense and are what I expect to read. As a result, I'm 11+ 90% of the time on these tests.
 
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argama

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Hmm I used to do well in VR and from EK 1-8 I used to score 10s and a couple 9's and 11's. But then I started doing my passages a little less frequently and started scoring 7/8's. I just tried this method and I still got an 8......do you think my problem is not enough practice?

I first tried it on AAMC 5 a few days ago and well I thought I was doing well but I ended up with an 8 :( I dunno why my VR scores keep going down........

With this method, I find it a little hard to connect previous paragraphs with the one I am currently reading, is that simply practice?
 

PanRoasted

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@bamfu

Yes, thats exactly what I was thinking when I thought of this method. Great to know it has some support from the science of education.

I would say connecting the paragraphs does take some practice getting used to. You have to remain completely engaged while you're reading, and constantly asking yourself the relevance of the paragraph you are reading with respect to the last paragraph you read. Keep going at it. If you don't get any results read through the rest of this thread to see if anyone else's problems match yours and go from there.

Sent from my SGH-T989 using SDN Mobile
 

Vertwous

A Vertwous Life.
Apr 22, 2012
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I'm doing AAMC 3 fully under timed conditions tomorrow, and I shall report back to what I got for the VR section.

I forgot to mention that when I used this strategy with EK 8, I was short on time on the last two passages, and the last passage I basically skimmed, so the questions for that passage I pretty much messed up. This further proves that EK 7 was more lenient.

I dislike passages regarding artsy stuff...
 

PlasmodiumVivax

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Sep 6, 2011
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Tried this method out for 3 passages and I did a slight improvement with a lot of time left over! I used to spend 8 min per passage and dropped to 6 while keeping a solid score. I'm hoping to break a 10 in my EK test 4 as the first three were all 9's.

Thanks for sharing your method PanRoasted!
 

PanRoasted

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I'm doing AAMC 3 fully under timed conditions tomorrow, and I shall report back to what I got for the VR section.

I forgot to mention that when I used this strategy with EK 8, I was short on time on the last two passages, and the last passage I basically skimmed, so the questions for that passage I pretty much messed up. This further proves that EK 7 was more lenient.

I dislike passages regarding artsy stuff...
Yeah, the artsy stuff I think can be very difficult no matter what strategy you use. For those types of passages it comes down to whether I can understand all the archaic and "snooty" language that's thrown at me. Hope your AAMC 3 goes well.

Tried this method out for 3 passages and I did a slight improvement with a lot of time left over! I used to spend 8 min per passage and dropped to 6 while keeping a solid score. I'm hoping to break a 10 in my EK test 4 as the first three were all 9's.

Thanks for sharing your method PanRoasted!
Great to hear that it's helped your timing! Seems like most people suffer a bit with timing after trying this method, which is contrary to my own experience.

In other news... just did AAMC 7 today. Finally broke the 11 barrier!!! Ahhhhh!! Got a 36/40 on VR, which translates to...12! I've been working on this milestone for a WHILE now, feels so good to finally reach it. I finished basically right on time with about 30 seconds left (took 5 minutes on the last passage, which was thankfully very simple. Would've been a disaster if I'd gotten something on 18th century abstract art, haha).

Gonna try to keep up this momentum, and try to not let these results get to my head so I can keep working. :)
 

Godric

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In other news... just did AAMC 7 today. Finally broke the 11 barrier!!! Ahhhhh!! Got a 36/40 on VR, which translates to...12! I've been working on this milestone for a WHILE now, feels so good to finally reach it. I finished basically right on time with about 30 seconds left (took 5 minutes on the last passage, which was thankfully very simple. Would've been a disaster if I'd gotten something on 18th century abstract art, haha).

Gonna try to keep up this momentum, and try to not let these results get to my head so I can keep working. :)
WOHOO, nice to hear that. And thats a phenomenal score :D

The super artsy/horrible philosophical passages get me, I have to read them even slower than usual but I am hoping to increase my reading time without loosing comprehension, and overall decrease time usage.

I took EK #8 today, I got a 9, 1 question away from a 10! So badly want that 10 :xf: Edit- I was going over the test and the answer key was wrong but the explations had the answer I choose SO I got a 10 :) I know its only by 1 question but still!
(watch out for #15 on EK8 the answer in the answer box is incorrect!)
Timing, about the same around 65 minutes, checked my time 3 times, I am going to give myself 30 seconds back, I had to unlock my phone, that took up time ;) !
 
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