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Anyone have any verbal tips for remembering specific parts of the passage? Preview the questions?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by manohman, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. manohman

    manohman 2+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2014
    One trend (among many) i'v noticed is that I often miss questions that ask about something directly stated in the passage. For example, a question may read "According to the passage all of the following are methods to put out a fire except..." (of course the question is a bit more convoluted than that haha)

    and i'll go back and waste time looking for those specific examples, wasting valuable time, and then i end up getting the question wrong because i missed the sentence somewhere in the passage that said "Ways to put out a fire include _____ ,_____, and _____".

    Anyone have any tip for catching/getting these questions right? It seems impossible to remember every sentence. I'm debating previewing the questions, anyone tried that?
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  3. John Buster

    John Buster 2+ Year Member

    Sep 2, 2014
    It's definitely impossible to remember every single detail, and it's something you shouldn't do anyway. Memorizing facts will only deter your progress and slow you down a lot, so definitely don't waste any mental energy on trying to memorize stuff that was said.

    Questions that ask you to retrieve a certain piece of information from the passage--TPR classifies them as 'retrieval' questions--usually involve you either finding or remembering a particular, targeted detail. I suggest trying different things to see what helps these sorts of things click. ExamKrakers will tell you that if you read a passage as if you were listening to a friend tell a story where you mindfully listen to what they say, you hear the arch and their voice as you go along, you will naturally remember facts about the passage. This takes some conditioning and may not work for everyone, so YMMV. Try it out.

    What has worked for me is actively reading and creating a concrete mental map of the entire passage as I go along. When I do this, it makes it easy for me to remember where a specific targeted detail is. Phrases like 'according to the passage' or 'according to the author' or 'the passage says that...' signal for me to go and find the targeted detail. Again, this will take practice. See if it works for you.

    Another thing some people have success with is going immediately to the questions, skimming the questions for questions that ask about a specific word or phrase, and jotting down said word or phrase on your scratch paper so when you read the passage, you highlight and pay special attention to it so you know where to find it. You only want to do this for questions that do not tell you where the specific targeted detail is though. For questions that say "What does the author mean when he says 'The Norwegian Blue is Dead (line 52)"? you don't want to jot down because it's easy to look back and find what you are looking for.

    Just be cautious with previewing questions--it's tough to juggle 4-7 questions in your head while you have a whole passage to read and absorb ahead of you. I advise against putting any effort into remembering what each of the questions said. If you have the mental capacity for that, then by all means.

    Good luck :)
  4. makingthejump


    Dec 16, 2013
    Read every word in the passage, never go back to the passage (too time consuming), answer questions based on the main idea. This method works, make sure when reading the passage you are in the zone fully concentrated, never skip a word. Also, for answer choices, always choose the "softer" answer when guessing...so if the choice says "probably" and another says "definite", always choose the one with "probably." Good luck!

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