futureNeuro3

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Apr 29, 2012
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I have been practicing for CARS- finished most of TPRH- (2 test left)! And 2 test into ek101 and did a few AAMC. The minimum time it takes me to read is 4 mins! Majority of the time, it takes me 5 mins to finish reading the passage! If I try to read faster, I usually end up not understanding the passage. I didn't really get to improve my reading speed while I was in undergrad because most of the time in life sciences they gave us plenty of time to read the questions! And I am use to reading a question multiple times to understand it. Is there anything I could do to improve my reading speed and also comprehend just as much? I think my reading speed is below average :(
 

gothicfoxes

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Jun 17, 2015
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Bodymore Murdaland
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Do you read for fun? Reading fiction, nonfiction, and magazines (esp. Economist & New Yorker) can help build reading comprehension and analysis, and I've heard some people say it's helped boost their reading speed.

Also have you looked at the ExamKrackers CARS book? It doesn't teach you how to read faster, but it does include strategies to help you understand what you're reading so you can answer the passage questions without having to refer back to the passage, which will save you time. x
 
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futureNeuro3

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Apr 29, 2012
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Thank you for your reply, I did read the EK CARS book till chapter 3! They say increasing you reading speed is not gonna affect! However, I feel my reading speed is below normal! It is constantly taking me 5 mins to read; also I don't really get the exercise about looking at the question stems to answer. I feel though it doesn't help me at all!

Since it takes me 5 mins to read, answering w.o looking back to the passage is what I am doing. They also say you can answer question with just the main idea! From my practice, I require through understanding of the authors points and different arguments; not just the "main idea"! But I feel as though I have strong grasp at the main idea; nevertheless it doesn't help me answer most of the questions! I was doing ek101- 9 mins per passage (taking 1 or 2 more mins if its hard); and I got 7 and 8 on test 2 and test 3 respectively! Since it takes me 5 mins to read it leave me with 4 mins to answer the questions. I do not have time to refer back to the passage for most of the questions.

My exam is on 22 of september; and I am spending all of the day remaining to increase my verbal score! I have just started doing 2 fl worth of questions per day!

I am also 20 days into "30 days success for CARS by Testing solutions"!
 
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gothicfoxes

MD & MPH goals
Jun 17, 2015
161
130
Bodymore Murdaland
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Other Health Professions Student
If you think you're reading more slowly than normal, try reading something other than MCAT material and just practice reading. Focus on reading every word and every sentence. Reading aloud might also help with maintaining focus on the words.

This is just a thought, but you might also be reading more slowly because while you're reading you're overly conscious about your reading speed. Even that little nagging thought Am I reading fast enough?! is distracting and will lessen your focus and comprehension. You'll become anxious and self conscious, rather than being relaxed and confident. When you practice, take a deep breath, relax, and focus solely on reading.

I'm no expert on this, but when I was younger I had trouble reading aloud and in front of an audience because I would be so wrapped up with thoughts like What if I mispronounce a word? Crap I just messed up and everyone probably thinks I'm an idiot. I would stutter, skip words, and generally screw up because I was so damn anxious for no reason. While I was by myself I practiced reading aloud and focusing on what I was reading. It took some time, but I noticed a wonderful and confidence-boosting improvement.
 
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futureNeuro3

5+ Year Member
Apr 29, 2012
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I do feel that I am not reading fast enough sometimes; but since I have done 60+ passages, majority of the times, this thought was not in my mind! But I do look at the time while I am reading and I get anxious! Nevertheless, even w.o looking at the time I end up finishing the passage around 5 mins. The problem; if I have enough time to develop my reading speed within this short period of time :( I usually don't read for fun, and didn't even touch novels during my undergrad. I was mainly just reading textbooks and memorizing stuff.
 

GrapesofRath

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May 5, 2015
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Don't waste valuable practice MCAT passages when its clear you still want to refine your reading technique and skills. Focus on reading dense abstract material to get your timing and understanding down for a solid period of time. The Economist and all is fine but you can go a little denser than that; philosophy reading, practicing dense literature, reading about really dry topics like music and art are all types of things that really can make a difference. Find a strategy that works for you, develop it and refine it and only once you have a clear cut plan that's different than what you've been doing should you start using up those valuable MCAT passages. Reading is only half the game here; figuring out how the MCAT tests CARS and developing techniques for it and learning tricks is the other half and you don't want to ruin your opportunity to do that eating away at CARs practice passages when you clearly have some stuff to refine first.
 
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futureNeuro3

5+ Year Member
Apr 29, 2012
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September 23rd is latest I can go to apply for this cycle in Canada! I am spending all most 10 hours per day on CARS and I am planning on keeping that up for the next 22 days! Giving me 220 hours to improve my verbal skills! And I already have spent about a month doing 3-4 passages per day for CARS.

As for wasting passages, I have alot of passages left for verbal; I haven't used up any verbal passages released for the new MCAT (which I got AAMC qpack, 19 fls)! I am planning on doing both ek101 and TPRH b4 doing aamc previous fls (7 fls) and then doing the new materials for MCAT! Do you actually think reading non-mcat materials is efficient? Or will I be able to improve my skills from the mcat verbal passages alone?
 

GrapesofRath

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May 5, 2015
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September 23rd is latest I can go to apply for this cycle in Canada! I am spending all most 10 hours per day on CARS and I am planning on keeping that up for the next 22 days! Giving me 220 hours to improve my verbal skills! And I already have spent about a month doing 3-4 passages per day for CARS.

As for wasting passages, I have alot of passages left for verbal; I haven't used up any verbal passages released for the new MCAT (which I got AAMC qpack, 19 fls)! I am planning on doing both ek101 and TPRH b4 doing aamc previous fls (7 fls) and then doing the new materials for MCAT! Do you actually think reading non-mcat materials is efficient? Or will I be able to improve my skills from the mcat verbal passages alone?
I mean significantly improving verbal in 3 weeks is not a very realistic scenario. Best thing you can do in 3 weeks is hone your strategy and get the best understanding of how the MCAT tests and realize finalize your ultimate strategy. Improving verbal isn't something that really just happens by putting in 10 hour sessions; this isn't like cramming for a bio final.

But given your current situation, its best just to focus on FL's and doing as many as possible to get your timing and strategy down.
 
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futureNeuro3

5+ Year Member
Apr 29, 2012
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Well, can I go from 7 - atleast 11 within this period of time? 11+ is my target; and I am willing to put in as much work as possible!
 

GrapesofRath

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Well, can I go from 7 - atleast 11 within this period of time? 11+ is my target; and I am willing to put in as much work as possible!
Making an improvement from 7 to 11 is very difficult and something the vast majority of people aren't able to do. Those who do certainly need to spend more than 3 weeks working on it. If you really need to get an 11(ie those Canadian schools will screen out for anything less) its probably not in your best interest to apply this cycle. Like I said above you can't cram and try to improve reading skills in a short period of time; you are looking at a much longer term type of commitment here.
 

gothicfoxes

MD & MPH goals
Jun 17, 2015
161
130
Bodymore Murdaland
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Other Health Professions Student
Be realistic and fair to yourself. GrapesofRath brought up some considerable points. Think about taking the MCAT next year, and perhaps earlier in the year so you will have the chance to retake the exam if it isn't the score you need. There's nothing to lose from taking a gap year; it'll give you more time to adequately prepare. See if your local community college offers literature analysis classes to help your reading skills.
 
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