Sep 2, 2010
Podiatry Student
TL;DR: I score much higher on verbal practice tests when I do not even read the passage and jus t use the stems versus reading the whole thing and trying to figure out the main idea/point and was wondering if anyone else feels the same way.

I cant believe it.

I, like many other people on these boards (or rather people who are taking the mcat for their first time) are having a bit of trouble with the verbal.

I am not a good reader, (atleast now... still got 3 months till the mcat) and as is such my verbal practice tests that I have taken thus far have been scoring rather low (not at super concern now because I still have 3 months).

Anywho, I am taking kaplan class. And after reading this board, everybody has recommended EK for verbal. So I got the book.

Read about their "question stem" method as to how sometimes you do not even need to read the passage to get the right answer.

Just took a Kaplan verbal subject timed test.

Tried using the whole "main point" and "know the author " stuff that both kaplan and EK write about at first (i know that mapping is crap).

Anywho was runnign out of time and was like screw it. This is just a practice test I am not even going to read the passages. The last two passages I soley used the question stems.

Long story short. I did significantly better on the passages where I did not read a single thing and only utilized the stems than on those passage where I actually read and tried to figure out the main idea.

I dont really know what to think. A part of me feels like I am too scared on the actual mcat to soley rely on the question stems... yet on these practice tests I do better when I dont even read the paragraph and just focus on the stems!

Anyone else feel like this?
Dec 27, 2010
Medical Student
I know just what you are talking about. I was going to post this question but just found this thread. So far on the EK in-class tests I have got two 7's. I took my first EK 101 exam on Saturday and got a 6. This morning, after going through Lecture 2-Answering the Questions, I got a 9. Hopefully I can keep improving until mid-April. Given it was only a mini-test, I still feel like giving the question stems and answer choices much more importance in investigating than I was initially was helped a significant amount.

Would any verbal masters out there recommend to keep focusing primarily on the questions/question stems and answer choices? Although it was only a 9, a two or three point increase makes me wonder if I'm falling into the trap of relying too much on specific statements and information in the passage and/or going back too frequently. Has anyone used the method of reading the passage, then reading every question before answering the questions in order? Just wondering what the best way to incorporate this method into my verbal test-taking. Thanks for any advice!