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Help with verbal!!!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by bentz, Jan 9, 2002.

  1. bentz

    bentz Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Sep 17, 2001
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    I need serious help with verbal and am planing on doing a complete verbal section a day. my question for all of you guys are: How long did spend reading each passage? how many words are in each passage. Please give a reasonnable range (i.e. 1200 to 1300 words). Did you read the passages real careful and so you didn't have to go back to the passage to answer the associated questions? last but not least, how did you practice speed reading? Please guys, keep the posts coming. Thank you very much for you input!!!
  2. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
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    Resident [Any Field]
    I did not speed read through the passages nor did I read them very intently for content. I read them at a normal pace and then went back as I was answering the questions if I had trouble.

    Definitely practice, practice, practice, the verbal section. Use verbal passages from other types of test prep books, not just MCAT. Try GRE, LSAT, GMAT, OAT, VAT, etc. You don't need to buy these if your library has them or buy them used on e-bay.

    It seems that doing well on the verbal section is more than just your ability to read but rather your ability to interpret the questions and answers quickly. That is why practicing on real comprehension tests (timed is best so you get used to the pressure of having to finish) is more important than just improving your reading skills (which is also important).

    Good luck.
  3. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member
    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jun 24, 2001
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    Attending Physician
    Speed reading will do you no good on difficult passages. You need to read and comprehend what the author is saying. Read the passage and highlight important points, most likely these will be where your questions come from. Get an idea of why the author wrote the piece. Then go to your questions and refer back to the notes you took. Do easy passages first. Per passage, do the eaasy questions first - often they can help you to further understand the passage.

    And above all - from now til test day, read everything you can get your hands on.

  4. Keith

    Keith Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Mar 27, 2001
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    I agree w/ practice, practice, practice and can't stress enough to use several sources and take the tests under timed conditions. I did tests from Kaplan, AAMC, and TPR. I was having a lot of problems with timing. My 1st diag.s were in the 5-6 range. (2-3 passages unread that I had to guess on) Wound up with an 11 on test day. You cannot possibly make short notes on every passage like many prep courses suggest you do, you'll run out of time. (unless you are a very gifted and fast reader)
    Some of the best advise I got was what I read in the ExamCracker's verbal book. It was very helpful for timing. (I only read the intro and the parts on timing) Pre-meds are their own worst enemy; we want to be right and hate to guess. So the verbal section will get you if you are unable to use process of elimination and take your best guess, then move on. Is it better to have 93% accuracy and finish only 7 passages? You have to be able to let go a little on accuracy for the sake of finishing more, and often easier questions. I only finished an entire verbal section one time under the time limit. On test day, I read and answered all but one passage, which I guessed on, and still pulled the 11. Good luck.
  5. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2001
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    I think Keith hit the nail on the head. The most important thing on verbal is to get through all the passages. Here's what I did (I got a 13-15 by the way):

    I read each passage faily quickly and underlined important points.

    I also tended to summarize in my head as I went along (it kept me awake). Like at the end of a paragraph, I'd think "ok, that paragraph was about blah, blah, blah". I didn't summarize in the margins like Kaplan suggests because it didn't really help me.

    I tried to remember the structure of the passage - so I could find information when I needed to go back for it in the questions.

    Then I would hit the questions. I crossed out all the answers I knew were wrong. I would refer back to the passage if necessary. If I couldn't decide on an answer, I circled the question and moved on. After the last question for the passage, if I had time left (9 minutes per passage only!), I would consider the circled questions again. If I didn't have time - I guessed. DO NOT get hung up on any one question, it's not worth the time. I usually had about 2 circled questions per passage.

    On my practice tests, I usually had some extra time after the last passage to go back and check circled questions again. On the real test, I finished right at the buzzer.

    Oh, one weird thing I did was to start with passage #9 and work backwards. On the Kaplan practice tests, this helped me because they had a tendency to put the hardest passages up front and then they got easier toward the end. On the real MCAT, the last two passages were absolutely impossible and I was feeling very frustrated by the time I got to #7. Thankfully, they got easier after that, but I'm not sure if my "reverse order system" was helpful or not.

    Oh, one more thing. I bubbled in my sheet at the end of every passage.

    I didn't try to "speed read". I've always been an avid reader, and I can read pretty quickly for content.

    Sorry, this got really long. I hope it's helpful.

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