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Hey guys, although this is my first time I posted on student-doctor forums, I've been following this website and reading everything on here for a while.

I'm a freshman in Queens College, NY and I did my research on the MCATS. I didn't do very well on the verbal part of my SATs and i'm wondering what I can do to start studying for the verbal part of the MCATs? I can tell that the Verbal section of the MCATs will give me the most trouble and I am really worried about it.

So please any recommendations, tips, advice will be appreciated. Thank you in advance.
 

Isoprop

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Take some extra English or philosophy classes. Read more (New Yorker, Economist, etc.). Try to build your vocabulary.

Don't study for the MCAT now. It'll be a waste. Just concentrate on your classes.
 
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thanks a lot for responding. and yea I take a english writing class 110 and philosophy 101. What scares me is that the philosophy class grade will be based on a exam at the end of the semester and its only going to be essay writing. I also am terrible in writing essays. Can anybody please give me tips on improving essay writing and also advice for the verbal part of the mcats?
 

Longshanks

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Basically do reading throughout your college years, both recreational and for your school work. The passages in VR tend to be critical or scholarly, so if you're reading analytical articles or something with some form of argument or critique you should be fine. Reading research articles will also help for passages during the science section.

What will help you the most though is when it comes time for prepping for the mcat: practice, practice, practice. And do a lot of "post-game analysis". Break everything down. Why did you pick that answer (whether it is right or wrong)? What was the topic of this passage? How did the argument/narrative go progress? How did the author present their opinion? Why are the wrong answers the wrong answers, and how can you rule them out quicker during test taking conditions? Eventually you'll start to pick up on some patterns for answer choices.

There's no need to study now for the MCAT. If you give yourself 3-4 months, and put a lot of effort into it, you'll be fine. For now though, focus on doing well in your classes and getting involved in extracurriculars that are meaningful to you. Read here and there to expand your knowledge and give you new insights or keep you up to date with current events. If you're reading that type of material, it will make you more aware, a better conversationalist, and help get you ready for the type of slow (and often dull) material presented in VR.

Good luck!
 

Isoprop

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Your English composition class should teach you proper essay writing. It's pretty formularic. You probably learned it in high school ("5 paragraph essay")

Come up with an argument (thesis) in your introduction. The rest of your essay pretty much supports your argument.

Each paragraph is a "sub-argument" that supports your main thesis. You support your sub-argument with evidence.

Make sure to use good transitions: furthermore, moreover, additionally are good ways to make the essay flow from one topic to another. However, nevertheless, on the other hand are used to make an opposing point. Consequently and thus are used to come up with a conclusion.

Use gerunds every once in a while to connect ideas and make sentences flow. For example:

A 1997 study reveals that second-hand smoke causes cancer underscoring the importance of banning smoking in public spaces.

Here, the word "underscoring" connects concrete evidence to support an argument. Other words you can use are highlighting, showing, underlining, and demonstrating.

As for the MCAT, like I said, you need to critically read more. There are no shortcuts. If there were, everyone would be doing it.
 

CougarMD

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Hey Neil, welcome to the world of posting!:)

I'm going to move this thread to the MCAT forum; you will get better responses there. Good luck!
 
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thank you guys, I will definitely start reading more. Do you guys recommend any websites for me to go to so I can read their material? or should I just read anything?

and another question, I worked in Armani Exchange for the last 2 months but I don't work there anymore. Will that count as a EC and will med school like that?
 

Longshanks

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thank you guys, I will definitely start reading more. Do you guys recommend any websites for me to go to so I can read their material? or should I just read anything?

and another question, I worked in Armani Exchange for the last 2 months but I don't work there anymore. Will that count as a EC and will med school like that?
I think you should list your employment during or since college. There are 15 spaces in AMCAS to put in ECs, work, or other achievements. Most people don't use all of those spaces, but if you get to the point where you have more than you can list, then you'll need to figure out what isn't as important as the rest. However, I think its important to show you have worked and what skills or experience you gained from your time of employment. IMHO, it also shows some self-reliance and ability to work in the real world outside of academia.
 
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ohhh ok thank you. i'll make sure I put armani exchange in one of those 15 slots. btw do you have any websites you can recommened to me so I can improve my reading and vocab?
 

theacks1

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Your English composition class should teach you proper essay writing. It's pretty formularic. You probably learned it in high school ("5 paragraph essay")

Come up with an argument (thesis) in your introduction. The rest of your essay pretty much supports your argument.

Each paragraph is a "sub-argument" that supports your main thesis. You support your sub-argument with evidence.

Make sure to use good transitions: furthermore, moreover, additionally are good ways to make the essay flow from one topic to another. However, nevertheless, on the other hand are used to make an opposing point. Consequently and thus are used to come up with a conclusion.

Use gerunds every once in a while to connect ideas and make sentences flow. For example:

A 1997 study reveals that second-hand smoke causes cancer underscoring the importance of banning smoking in public spaces.

Here, the word "underscoring" connects concrete evidence to support an argument. Other words you can use are highlighting, showing, underlining, and demonstrating.

As for the MCAT, like I said, you need to critically read more. There are no shortcuts. If there were, everyone would be doing it.
Really? I placed out expository writing, but I always assumed that the whole point of 100 level writing classes was to get students away from using the formula driven writing styles taught in high school. Certainly, that is what people who have taken those classes tell me. Personally, I stopped writing five paragraph essays early on in high school after observing that they were never used in real life. Likewise, I got A's on every college essay I wrote including several upper level English classes. In fact, I would argue that the point of an essay is not so much to support a thesis but develop it; by pushing your essay beyond proof of the thesis itself toward areas such as implications and implementations, you tend to support it in a more complete and natural way anyway.

As for the OP, the first thing I will say is relax. After that, there is not much more to say beyond the advice already given. I'd recommend mainly reading for enjoyment for now, though certainly throwing in articles from the New Yorker or Economist every so often will help as well. As time passes, you can then begin to learn to parse those types of articles in greater depth, but I wouldn't worry about that too much for now. For your classes, try speaking to the Philosophy professor during office hours or after class. Voice your concerns about essay writing and see if he can give you advice both in how to approach essay writing in general and on what he is specifically looking for. If the essays are not written in class, he will likely be willing to critique an outline or a small piece of the assignment. It may even turn into a decent recommendation. And of course, IANAL and YMMV.
 

Isoprop

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Really? I placed out expository writing, but I always assumed that the whole point of 100 level writing classes was to get students away from using the formula driven writing styles taught in high school. Certainly, that is what people who have taken those classes tell me. Personally, I stopped writing five paragraph essays early on in high school after observing that they were never used in real life. Likewise, I got A's on every college essay I wrote including several upper level English classes. In fact, I would argue that the point of an essay is not so much to support a thesis but develop it; by pushing your essay beyond proof of the thesis itself toward areas such as implications and implementations, you tend to support it in a more complete and natural way anyway.
This was not my experience in college. Many of my humanities "writing" courses was content with a well-structured, formularic essay because it was easy for beginners to write a decent paper. It's not strictly the "5 paragraph" model, but it was certainly adapted from it.

And I wouldn't call these papers "expository writing" because properly supporting and defending a thesis requires more than exposition.

Of course, all excellent writing breaks or bends the rules. But it's pretty overwhelming to teach the nuances of excellent paper writing to a complete newbie. You have to teach the rules before you show how to break them.
 

theacks1

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This was not my experience in college. Many of my humanities "writing" courses was content with a well-structured, formularic essay because it was easy for beginners to write a decent paper. It's not strictly the "5 paragraph" model, but it was certainly adapted from it.

And I wouldn't call these papers "expository writing" because properly supporting and defending a thesis requires more than exposition.

Of course, all excellent writing breaks or bends the rules. But it's pretty overwhelming to teach the nuances of excellent paper writing to a complete newbie. You have to teach the rules before you show how to break them.
Fair enough. I'm probably overestimating the average college freshman based on my own experiences and the small subset of college educated people I know.