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good books to read?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by gravity falls, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. gravity falls

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    Hi, I'm going to retake the mcat in January [even though my real mcat is on the 10th and im averaging around 6-8 on verbal]...

    So I was thinking of starting to read some books to improve verbal overall...

    Is Game of Thrones a good book to 'improve' verbal? Is it to easy of a read? I have read a sample page and was quite delighted but seemed a little easy - however I think if i read a book a truly enjoy over a complicated boring book it will help my verbal score ..... and also ofc im going to be doing practice passages

    I have read a few pages from the economist, but I found it extremely boring...lol....
     
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  3. Czarcasm

    Czarcasm Hakuna matata, no worries.
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    I tried reading GoT after watching the series and well... I just felt like it was a replica of the series. I know that's kinda expected, but sometimes certain books have extra things to maintain your interests. I guess it might be true for the later GoT books though. As far as for MCAT verbal, I don't think it'll help you at all but then again, that's not really my department so I can't really comment on that. Best thing to do though is to do as many practice passages as possible. I think at this point, it's pointless for you to attempt to try to improve your verbal skills by reading. I think it's far more beneficial for you to get your hands on as much verbal material as possible, including AAMC's SA's and very carefully analyzing passages after you do them - looking for trends on questions you get wrong, the style of certain questions, and how to approach the passage when reading. It's almost a unique way that must be taught specifically for the MCAT that you sort of just adapt to with practice over time. I guess it'll make sense to you in a few weeks once you start practicin'.
     
  4. Dreamstoo

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    Cat in the hat by dr. suess.
     
  5. lazyindy

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  6. HinduHammer

    HinduHammer Righteous in Wrath
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    I LOVE game of thrones, but it is quite possibly the worst book to read for MCAT verbal. 1. The vocabulary is all gibberish and non-sensical, "sers" "gaolers" and "smallfolk" will not appear, and you will "mislike" that MCAT verbage is so dissimilar to GOT 2. The literary construction is actually pretty straight forward and not complex at all. The ideas and themes presented are just straight forward, the story telling is amazing but from the perspective of an English professor, GOT is very flawed. Reading poetry and stuff by like James Joyce or Herman Mehlville or whatever, or better yet the New Yorker literature or literary reviews, will prepare you a LOT better.

    You should def read GOT though...just after your MCAT :)


    PS @lazyindy not sure if your joking about the mahabarrata but thats awesome if you've read it, I've been meaning to get around to it at some point
     
  7. lazyindy

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    haha took me a few months to finish it as it was extremely long. To me, it's one of those classics you can read over and over again. Karna is my idol :p
     
    HinduHammer likes this.
  8. HinduHammer

    HinduHammer Righteous in Wrath
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    Is there a particular edition you can suggest? (I can't read sanskrit or devangari script btw)
     
  9. kraskadva

    kraskadva ...
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    You think the MCAT passages are going to be interesting? :eyebrow:
    Go read stuff you find amazingly, mind-numbingly boring and dense- just like the economist, or really dense philosophy passages. Make sure you understand them such that you can outline main points and clearly explain the author's bias.
    GoT is fine for downtime, but no, it won't help you improve.
    If you want a dense, complicated novel, then try Umberto Eco on for size.

    Also, why would you sit with the intention of retaking? The whole point is to do the best you can, the first time. Why not just postpone?
     
  10. lazyindy

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    the edition with translation by krishna dharma (one I read) is by far one of the best according to many people.

    A shorter version is the translation by Rajagopalachari but imo it doesn't have the power to hook you like the krishna dharma version.
     
  11. Janus_Kinase

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    I am gonna have to disagree with most people here. I am currently reading GoT. I never actually read books other than my science text books, so my speed and overall comprehension was not the best. Ever since I started reading GoT my scores have been improving (of course I still do my practice passages). Yes it may contain many words and phrases that you may not see on the morrow, but I like to think of it as I am reading a passage picking out the important details. The book gives many details, so I just try to read fast through, pick out the important stuff, and make sure I comprehend everything. This is the same strategy I utilize when doing practice problems. My first EK 101 verbal test was a 6 and my latest was a 9. I am not saying just reading GoT will improve verbal but it can definitely help.
     
  12. itsthat1guy

    itsthat1guy Not that other guy
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    Read finnegans wake automatic 15
     
  13. lumberjack89

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    @kraskadva I'll throw my hat into the ring by saying I've really enjoyed MCAT VR passages - the breadth and depth of each topic explored is fascinating to me, but I guess that puts me squarely in the "weirdo" category.

    To the OP, verbal reasoning is my only real strength on the MCAT: my AAMC average is 12.5, scores ranging from 10 to 15. The absolute number one thing I would do is read history of philosophy, with the two below being my top recommendations:

    http://www.amazon.com/Unity-Philosophical-Experience-Etienne-Gilson/dp/089870748X
    http://www.amazon.com/Short-History-Modern-Philosophy-Wittgenstein/dp/0415267633

    I just finished a masters in philosophy and that prepared me for the VR is ways that I could have never anticipated. One of the MCAT test-writers' favorite things to do is pick topics that they assume the typical MCAT test taker doesn't know anything about, and they are extremely fond of drawing on philosophy/ethics. The thing is, with even a rudimentary exposure to the big names, themes, and philosophical systems, you can answer a surprising amount of VR questions without even reading the passage. What the MCAT writers may think are obscure topics in philosophy are often laughably basic, and if you're familiar with the "big ideas", as soon as you recognize a philosopher's name you can basically predict what the passage will be about, which frees you up to skim certain paragraphs, and so on.

    Not only will reading those books prepare you to answer questions in the fashion described above, but exposure to classical logic, metaphysical enquiry, and such will sharpen your ability to dissect and understand non-philosophically based texts. Other than the above, I would recommend classical literature to keep your mind engaged in excellent writing and syntax manipulation. Dostoyevsky, Dickens, and Tolstoy are all superb novelists, and almost anything by them will increase your vocabulary and expose you to complex sentence construction and so on. If you prefer poetry I'd suggest T.S. Elliot and Gerard Manly Hopkins.
     
  14. kraskadva

    kraskadva ...
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    I found some of the passages interesting as well. That's not the point though...you'll do better on the ones you enjoy, because it's easy to focus and dig into the. It's the ones you don't find interesting that will hurt your score though. Best to practice with the hardest thing you can lay your hands on.
     

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