Nitya2284

Nitya Bandla
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Hi

I've been getting 5's on my verbal sections. I recently bought 101 passages by Examkrackers and I wanted to know if that would be of any help. I also wanted to ask someone if they've heard of the examkrackers verbal strategy and if so, what is it? Please let me know, someone please..i need my verbal score to go up higher, I want it to get to a 10 atleast..
 

ttpatel

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Nitya2284 said:
Hi

I have been getting 5's on my verbal sections and I recently bought the 101 passages by Examkrackers. I just wanted to ask someone what the examkrackers verbal strategy. I would really appreciate it if someone told me how to do this and how to approach this. Please let me know..someone please..i need my verbal score to go up higher, I want it to get to a 10 atleast..

Isn't there an intro in the beginning of the book? I bought the Verbal Reasoning and Math version of examkrackers and it helped a lot. It was pretty cheap too off half.com and its really short.
 

NapeSpikes

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It's not really a strategy. In a nutshell, its just focusing on the main idea of the passages. No weird things like skipping around or mapping or whatever. You just read the passages and do the questions all in order. Oh, and read the questions and answers carefully, and that's pretty much it.

It's a very natural way to go about it. Most people who are "naturally" good at VR do it this way.
 
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Scottish Chap

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Nitya2284 said:
Hi

I have been getting 5's on my verbal sections and I recently bought the 101 passages by Examkrackers. I just wanted to ask someone what the examkrackers verbal strategy. I would really appreciate it if someone told me how to do this and how to approach this. Please let me know..someone please..i need my verbal score to go up higher, I want it to get to a 10 atleast..
A physics prof asked me to write a strategy for one of his students who was about to take the MCAT. Most of this is the strategy that worked for me, but there is also a little cutting and pasting from other sources on the internet (you can tell this section gave me trouble....). Overall, using Examcrackers 101 and ACTIVE reading helped me most. Although I did not take the course, I found the Kaplan VR scripts to be nothing like the real MCAT exams at all and their scores lead me into a false sence of security. The Kaplan exams have a different feel to them. In case you need it, I've also included my strategy for the WS; both worked for me, but it's key that you experiment now so that you find what works best for you.

VR gives people the most trouble and I was no exception to that trend. It is curved rather harshly at the top end of the scale and it is the hardest section of the MCAT to improve on if you are weak in this area. Thus, it is no great surprise to learn that, nationally, the VR section yields the lowest average score out of the whole MCAT. However, with practice, it is quite possible to improve on this section – as I discovered. The VR section consists of 9 full-length passages and the general rule is that you cannot spend more than 9 minutes on each passage. The difficulty comes into play when you actually read the passages, realize that they are very awkwardly written and may be on any subject you can possibly imagine. On my MCAT, I had passages as diverse as transcendental meditation in Tibetan monks, limestone formation in underground caves, and effective teaching strategies using psychology in high school poetry classes.

The humanities and arts majors tend to do a little better on this section (and on the entire MCAT for that matter). The statistics show that humanities majors outscore physical and biological scientists – even on the PS and the BS sections!). The reason for this, I believe, is that that humanities and arts majors do a lot more reading and evaluation of written information than scientists, and they are somehow more apt at avoiding the ‘MCAT trickery’. As you can see, the MCAT score without preparation has absolutely nothing to do with scientific aptitude, but rather a lot to do with your ability to identify patterns and knowledge when they are presented in a new situation, and also your ability to avoid the traps that they set out for you. The good news is this: preparation and practice are all that is required; if you spend time practicing the VR section before test day, your score on the other sections will likely also rise (particularly the BS section, which is more verbose). I found this and many of my friends did too.

This section takes practice because it’s so difficult to finish. If you miss an entire passage (say 9-10 questions) you start with an 11-12/15 – assuming all other questions answered are correct - and this is scary (again, the VR section is more harshly graded at the top end then the BS or PS sections). You must, must, must practice this section. After a few practice exams, I started to see where they were tricking me and my score slowly starting climbing until I eventually could consistently get 9-10 out of 15 (around 44/60 correct). A good strategy is to read Time Magazine or the Wall Street Journal every week. I chose Time. The articles in those periodicals are generally more difficult to decipher and I must say that they approximate the MCAT-style VR passages fairly well.

When taking the VR section of the MCAT, I found the following steps very helpful:

1. Read the passage – fairly quickly – but always, always, always ask yourself these two basic questions as you are reading: what is the point or central them of this article? (i.e. the ability of monks who meditate to control the core temperature of their bodies by a mysterious mechanism); and also ask: what is the author’s opinion or their point of view? (i.e. they believe that the studies conducted on meditating monks are poorly-controlled so the data is unreliable). I promise you that 90 % of the questions will rely on you understanding those two basic points in every passage. The remaining questions are usually ones where you will lift information straight from the text (i.e. which regions of Tibet do monks often meditate in this way?).
2. Circle key phrases and key words as you go along – so you can find them quickly. More than any other section of the MCAT, this is pivotal. There is so much excess information that you need to decipher the main point – always keeping in mind that this text was chosen because it may be ambiguous and difficult to obtain the main point so don’t let it intimidate you.
3. Try to make a mental map of what is in each passage in case you really need to return to it for clarification. This will greatly aid you when you read the question stem and need to refer back to the passage.
4. Unless you are really puzzled or unless you need specific information (‘lifting’ directly from the text), try to avoid going back to the passage and reading paragraphs over again because the time is so precious on this section of the MCAT. Experience will give you the confidence to do this, and practice will provide you with the proof that you can do this and still get the correct answer.
5. Be sensitive to ‘double negatives’ in the question stem (i.e. A: the author would most likely not disagree with the following statement). Every MCAT VR section I have seen uses questions like this. Skim the text for the main idea, but read the question stem more closely.
6. If you have no clue to what the passages is getting at, move onto the next passage for now; you have no time to think on this section.
7. Some people skip around for the easy passages and I initially tried this strategy without success. I found it wasted too much time. The way I saw it, you have to complete the entire exam anyway so you might as well do them in order. There are usually two 10-question passages on the real MCAT (if you use only Examcrackers, this will be a nasty surprise to you!). I call them the 10-question killers. Don't be shocked to see one of these around the middle of the exam, then another near the end.
The most important thing one can do to do to prepare for this section is read constantly, widely, and actively practice until the cows come home.

The Written Section
The Writing Sample of the MCAT is designed to test this aspect of your communication skills and physician fitness, requiring you to develop your ideas in two well-organized essays. The instructions for this section require that you complete three tasks for each essay:

1. A thesis (describe elegantly what the prompt means – you agree, and why you agree),
2. The antithesis (describe elegantly what the prompt means – you disagree and why you disagree).
3. Attempt to create a synthesis of the two (last paragraph; balance the argument as well as you possible can).
I personally did not practice this section because I was pushed for time. Even though my score was adequate, it was unwise. I’ve heard of more than one student who scored above a 30 on the MCAT then had to re-take it because they were denied admission and, having obtained the lowest possible score on this section, they wanted to remove any further doubt from their reapplication package the following year. Note: if you’re applying for entry into a Canadian medical school, the WS has a very strict cut-off; if you get lower than an “O” or a “P” (they change the cut-offs annually at different schools - especially Ontario), you will have to retake it – no matter how high you score on the other three sections. U.S. schools tend not to take it this seriously. Again, Time magazine - by its very nature - is balanced. Reading this may allow you to see what a balanced piece of continuous formal prose should look like.
 
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Jon Davis

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Scottish Chap, your advice is very similar to that of MikeS78's infamous verbal guide for those who care to listen. :D :laugh: (Those who have been here a while will get the joke.)

Look up his post if you care to listen.

Jon Davis.
 

Paing

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Scottish Chap said:
A physics prof asked me to write a strategy for one of his students who was about to take the MCAT. Most of this is the strategy that worked for me, but there is also a little cutting and pasting from other sources on the internet (you can tell this section gave me trouble....). Overall, using Examcrackers 101 and ACTIVE reading helped me.

Thank you for writing down your advice on the Verbal section. This is my weakest area, as I got 6 on the real MCAT. Thank you for your advice.
 
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