For those who struggled badly with Verbal and succeeded at the end

Stlblues17

2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2014
232
200
Missouri
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
When you read passages are you actively reading the passage, ie reading and understanding the passage, or are you reading and trying to remember what you are reading while reading? If you are doing the latter, you are shooting yourself in the foot (at least in my experience). What I did was read through the passage, didnt retread the passage the first time through. If you feel tempted to reread, don't keep going, try to take in the major points and themes, highlight very sparingly. Doing this helped me soak in the passages as it were.

Obviously everyone is different, my method may not work well for you, but it sounds like what you are doing currently is not working either. Practice makes perfect. Also try reading outside of MCAT passages, the Atlantic has nice dense articles. Best of luck to you.

My VR was 10 on the real thing
 
Dec 31, 2013
321
128
Status
Pre-Medical
You really shouldn't be reading to understand the whole passage. There is no way you will have time for that on the MCAT. You should be able to get just a gist of it. Try to skim the whole thing and summarize each paragraph into one short sentence or blurb (remember you will have scratch paper during the test) and then once you have a question related to it, you can guide your reading and comprehension.

So skim and summarize then go to a question and use your map summary that you just made to find which paragraph the relevant info will be in and then go back to that paragraph and try to read it with the goal of answering the question. That way you won't waste time trying to understand parts that will not even have specific questions tied to them.

I hope this helps a little big. Good luck.
 

feeling-dizzy

5+ Year Member
Aug 12, 2014
347
200
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Agree with active reading. Basically, you try gauge the author's main ideas as you read each sentence. In a way, you try to predict his next paragraph gonna be. Do not pay attention too much to little details; it is like you listen to a person rambling for 10 mins, of course you dont remember every detail he talking about but rather what he really pissed off or angry about.
 

cdistel

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Aug 10, 2008
202
42
Asheville
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
If you are desperate try Leonardo radomile with Cambridge learning center. He costs an arm, leg and probably a foot but definitely worth it. I saw a huge jump in my reading ability. To be successful I would probably allow for 6-8 months studying his techniques. It is by no way a quick fix.
 

cdistel

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Aug 10, 2008
202
42
Asheville
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I would add try what the others in this thread have suggested first before you shell out 3k
 

kabead

5+ Year Member
Nov 6, 2012
149
42
Status
I went from a 5 on my first MCAT to a 10 on my most recent one.
First of all, replace EK101 with TPRH Verbal...and also, i took the kaplan course, and the verbal strategy did not work for me so I honestly can't recommend it.
Like others have suggested, ACTIVE READING is the most important part...(so do what is right for you....such as highlighting or writing...whichever one stops you from getting distracted/uninterested in taking information from the passage)
I could be wrong but after reading the passage and looking at the question, almost 85% of the time, there was an answer choice that was related in some way or form to the main point of the essay (i always chose that answer rather than other relevant information). It also helps to notice keywords such as "but, although, however, etc."
If you have anymore questions PM me....i hope this helps in some way though though.
 
OP
D
Sep 11, 2014
142
104
Status
Pre-Medical
Agree with active reading. Basically, you try gauge the author's main ideas as you read each sentence. In a way, you try to predict his next paragraph gonna be. Do not pay attention too much to little details; it is like you listen to a person rambling for 10 mins, of course you dont remember every detail he talking about but rather what he really pissed off or angry about.
I think my prob is that I fret over the details sometimes, so Im learning to just highlight the words/names/phrases that might show up in questions and just skim over them
 
OP
D
Sep 11, 2014
142
104
Status
Pre-Medical
I went from a 5 on my first MCAT to a 10 on my most recent one.
First of all, replace EK101 with TPRH Verbal...and also, i took the kaplan course, and the verbal strategy did not work for me so I honestly can't recommend it.
Like others have suggested, ACTIVE READING is the most important part...(so do what is right for you....such as highlighting or writing...whichever one stops you from getting distracted/uninterested in taking information from the passage)
I could be wrong but after reading the passage and looking at the question, almost 85% of the time, there was an answer choice that was related in some way or form to the main point of the essay (i always chose that answer rather than other relevant information). It also helps to notice keywords such as "but, although, however, etc."
If you have anymore questions PM me....i hope this helps in some way though though.
I've found myself noticing the contrast words much more often now than before, I almost get the main idea questions correct 90% of the time so I think I can understand the main idea but I bomb the rest of the questions. I will pm you tonight for more questions. Thank you!
 
OP
D
Sep 11, 2014
142
104
Status
Pre-Medical
I really appreciate those of you who took their time to respond and help me out. It really means alot to me thank you!
 

yanks26dmb

10+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2008
1,875
880
Status
Medical Student
I succeeded with verbal (avg 11-12) and struggled in the end (9)...oh wait...thats not what you asked...
 

Stlblues17

2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2014
232
200
Missouri
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
the only difference in my reading now is that I focus and spend more time on the first passage and I highlight the key words that determine the main theme of the author, doing this, I feel like I do understand the passage much better but its a bit time consuming. I dont reread, just in cases I dont understand the main idea I just glance over those key words and it tends to help me to see where the passage is directed
Try not to over focus and spend too much time. I know this sounds counter intuitive, but don't spend a lot of time and focus. Actively read, immerse yourself in the passage and you will be surprised at what you retain w/o wasting valuable time. It definitely takes practice, if you do this you will notice you'll finish with ample time to spare, and you won't be nervous about not finishing, which will allow you to focus on the section at hand.
 

karling

5+ Year Member
Aug 6, 2014
218
144
Status
Pre-Medical
I don't know if this is actually a viable strategy of if I'm just an outlier, but I found that reading the questions first before reading the passage helped me immensely. And, in addition, it saved time because some of the questions they ask deal with specific words/sentences/paragraphs, and once I came across those, I could answer the question real quick and then return to the passage. Otherwise, I'd finish the passage, read the question about that specific word/sentence/paragraph mentioned, have to find it in the passage all over again, and only then be able to analyze what it meant. Wastes precious time. And I'm a slow reader too, so every second saved was necessary for me.
 
OP
D
Sep 11, 2014
142
104
Status
Pre-Medical
I don't know if this is actually a viable strategy of if I'm just an outlier, but I found that reading the questions first before reading the passage helped me immensely. And, in addition, it saved time because some of the questions they ask deal with specific words/sentences/paragraphs, and once I came across those, I could answer the question real quick and then return to the passage. Otherwise, I'd finish the passage, read the question about that specific word/sentence/paragraph mentioned, have to find it in the passage all over again, and only then be able to analyze what it meant. Wastes precious time. And I'm a slow reader too, so every second saved was necessary for me.
I've heard it has helped few people, the only worry that I have about this strategy is that I might waste valuable time which you say its the opposite. so I might give it a try. thank you.
 

karling

5+ Year Member
Aug 6, 2014
218
144
Status
Pre-Medical
Another advantage is that you know what to pay attention to before you read the passage. For example, there actually might not be a question asking what was the main topic of the article. So if you read the passage first and spend so much time/effort analyzing what the overall message of the writer is and then there's no question on it, that's time wasted. Maybe there's a question about a specific person (professor/philosopher/whatever) mentioned in the article that seems relatively insignificant compared to other information in the passage, but for whatever reason that's who they chose to focus a question on. If you read the questions first, you know specifically what to pay more attention to (and what you can pay less attention to) while reading the passage. That's how I felt, anyway. I struggled with the time limit for this section more than the other two, but I found that this saved me time on the AAMC practice tests and on the real test.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DanniD