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ESL student and verbal, any advice would be appreciated

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Jason12, May 19, 2014.

  1. Jason12

    Jason12 2+ Year Member

    Sep 25, 2013
    Hi everyone,

    I'm a ESL student, and to be honest verbal is shattering my dreams of becoming a doctor... so if you can relate to my situation or if you could advice me in any way, I'd deeply appreciate it.

    last summer I practiced verbal using EK101 and TPR with minimum analysis and so for that reason I consistently scored in the range of 3-4, I also took one AAMC and scored 4 so I decided to postpone my application to this cycle so I could improve my score to at least 7

    this time around I re-used EK101 and TPR, and took one full length test each week under timed conditions, and repeated 2 passages each day the following days and did careful analysis, and I utilized EK101 strategy. By doing so, I've been able to raise my score to 5-6... however, I always run out of time and end up guessing the last passage, because I spent 4-5 mins to read each passage...

    the days that I take 2 passages and take my time to understand the passage and answer questions I get most of the questions right but when I do them under timed conditions I just do awful.

    I've used different techniques for reading the passages such as highlighting important sentences, understanding the main idea of each paragraph and connecting each idea and ask myself WHY author introduced such scenario...

    at this point, I have absolutely NO idea what to do to improve myself... so I would appreciate if anyone could help me out on this frustrating situation.

    by the way, my test is in 2 months
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  3. brood910

    brood910 2+ Year Member

    Jul 21, 2011
    1. Just finish 6, not 7. That means, spend 10 mins on each passage. Many ppl do not trust this strategy because of their ego getting hurt from the fact that they are not finishing the entire thing. But think about it. Let's say you guess all for the last passage and get all wrong, but you get only a few questions wrong for other passages. You will still get 8~10. The slower you go, the higher you score. Note: EK 101 passages are way shorter than AAMC ones.

    2. Vocab. Just make a list of words you do not understand. I am not saying you have to write down every single word that you've never seen before. Rather, there will be words that appear frequently. Write those down.

    3. POST ANALYSIS = success. After taking a ton of practice exams, you will see a pattern. How they ask questions. What kind of questions you often get wrong, et cetera.

    4. Pay attention to first + last sentences of each paragraph. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, IMHO. Even if you do not understand the passage at all, you can still get the main points out from these sentences. Trust me. This works!

    5. Read for main points, not details.
    Ex: There are a lot of problems in the medical field. For example, A, B, C, D, E, F, G.
    Just skim through those examples. However, REMEMBER WHERE THEY ARE.

    I am an ESL student myself, so I know your pain more than anyone.
    I am getting 8~9 now on my verbal practice exams (even though they are not AAMC ones)..
    Also, remember that AAMC verbal resources are the only "GOOD" resources for the real MCAT verbal. TPRH is the closest thing after AAMC.
    Jason12 likes this.
  4. CW 2010

    CW 2010 2+ Year Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    I am also an ESL and agree with the previous poster (especially, #4 & 5). Understanding the main idea is very important. It may come up in several questions after the passage. And if an answer contradicts the main idea (even if the question doesn't specifically ask for it), chances are that it is not the right answer.
    Jason12 likes this.
  5. hylecious

    hylecious 2+ Year Member

    I'm an ESL student and i got 2 on AAMC #3 verbal first time taking diagnosis. I was devasted. So I went on to keep reading, reading as much as possible. Reading MCAT verbals, reading Economists, reading New York Times. Eventually, you will get used to fast-reading and retain some ideas in from what you read. I know this is hard and time-consuming but it is the only way working for ESL students. I'm now constantly scoring at least 30/40 on Ek101 verbals, 9-11 on AAMC verbals. So I think I improve my reading skills though it is not as good as natural-speakers.

    If I can do it, so should you. You have 2 months, that is enough time to improve. Just keep reading dude, read and think about what you just read.
    Jason12 likes this.
  6. Jason12

    Jason12 2+ Year Member

    Sep 25, 2013
    thank you all, you guys are awesome! it feels good to see that I'm not alone!
  7. Jason12

    Jason12 2+ Year Member

    Sep 25, 2013
    thanks alot brood for your detailed explanation! I've never utilized your strategy before, that is focusing on the first and last sentences of each paragraph and connecting them after to get a sense of the main idea. I'm going to try it and see how it goes and I'll keep you updated on that!
    thank you again, you are great!

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