chweasel

7+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2010
46
0
141
Status
i have taken every single aamc test except 10 (that's for tomorrow) and i can't seem to break 13, i consistently score 11-12, how does one take it to the next level where you miss less than 4?

right now, the way i am taking the test is reading the passage thoroughly (about 3 minutes exactly) and then doing the questions, referring back if i need to, it takes me about 7-8 minutes per passage, more or less depending on how interested i am in the passage, i usually end up with about 15 minutes left by the end, although for aamc 8 i only had 5 because those passages were boring as hell

p.s. i realize there is probably nothing i can do at this point since my test is saturday except do more practice and refine my technique, but any help or tips would be good. im freaking out.

thanks!
 

g8orlife

chomp
7+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2009
885
27
161
A quagmire
Status
Resident [Any Field]
i have taken every single aamc test except 10 (that's for tomorrow) and i can't seem to break 13, i consistently score 11-12, how does one take it to the next level where you miss less than 4?

right now, the way i am taking the test is reading the passage thoroughly (about 3 minutes exactly) and then doing the questions, referring back if i need to, it takes me about 7-8 minutes per passage, more or less depending on how interested i am in the passage, i usually end up with about 15 minutes left by the end, although for aamc 8 i only had 5 because those passages were boring as hell

p.s. i realize there is probably nothing i can do at this point since my test is saturday except do more practice and refine my technique, but any help or tips would be good. im freaking out.

thanks!
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showpost.php?p=2902529&postcount=4

Good luck :thumbup:
 
Last edited:

bigballer27

That's what she said
Nov 2, 2009
1,840
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
i wish there was a magic formula....i would be on that in a hurrry hahaha

can YOU give me some advice on how you even get to an 11-12??? im sitting at a 8 and its killing my score!
 

plsfoldthx

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Mar 9, 2009
450
3
91
Status
Medical Student
I just hit an 11 today on verbal on kaplan full length 3. I found what helps is just doing practice passages. As you do more, you will hone in while you're reading on what's important. When I began doing the passages at first... i'd just be reading the passage and enjoying it not knowing exactly what I'm looking for... ALWAYS keep in mind about the author's intention and the main idea of the passage.

Another thing I have learned is do not try to skim over the reading at all. Immerse yourself in the reading and don't worry too much about how long it's taking you... chances are it's not taking you as long as you think. Try to get absorbed in the passage in one pass and try not to re-read anything.

Also, I find that the kaplan method of writing down a summary after each paragraph really hinders my ability to understand the main idea so I have stopped doing that altogether.

My only problem so far is that I get confused at highly technical passages in which I have to quickly understand technical terms to continue with the passage. The kaplan method of quickly summarizing a paragraph, I think, might help for these type of passages and I will try it tomorrow.
 

erskine

hit it, H
10+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2008
240
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
honestly, though it might seem harsh, i think the only people who get high scores on verbal are those who have read all their life. The curve for verbal is tough and unlike the sciences where you can miss 1-3 questions and still get a perfect score, missing 1-3 in verbal will likely drop you to the 12-14 range already.

i think this is mostly because all these mcat verbal strategies floating around are superseded by how we process information and our reading comprehension, which are generally innate to most of us since we've crafted them over 2 decades of use. I think i've seen 1 guy who's scored a 13 here on SDN, and a handful of 12s. Its slightly interesting, though, since there's people here with perfect science scores, but not any perfect verbal scores.

Be proud of your 11s and 12s. I'm ecstatic over my 11, and would've been damn happy to get a 10. Good luck on your saturday test and freaking destroy that thing.
 

Untraditional

Making bad career decisions since 2003
5+ Year Member
Nov 23, 2009
459
22
101
Status
Resident [Any Field]
High scores on Verbal are a total crapshoot TBH. Consider that the difference between an 11 and a 15 is getting 35 vs 40 correct on most versions. Misread one passage and you're dead. I put up 14s regularly on the AAMC MCATs in practice and rolled a 9 on test day. Go figure.

The best thing I found to do was to drill practice sessions and review the reasoning behind the correct answers. The various "methods" from the MCAT prep books never worked for me.
 
Last edited:

JustAGuy

7+ Year Member
Oct 9, 2009
225
52
171
Status
There is a very high correlation between reading comprehension and scores on intelligence tests, so the best way to score high is to be born smart. :)
 

Oncoloman

Member
Mar 29, 2010
212
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I just hit an 11 today on verbal on kaplan full length 3. I found what helps is just doing practice passages. As you do more, you will hone in while you're reading on what's important. When I began doing the passages at first... i'd just be reading the passage and enjoying it not knowing exactly what I'm looking for... ALWAYS keep in mind about the author's intention and the main idea of the passage.

Another thing I have learned is do not try to skim over the reading at all. Immerse yourself in the reading and don't worry too much about how long it's taking you... chances are it's not taking you as long as you think. Try to get absorbed in the passage in one pass and try not to re-read anything.

Also, I find that the kaplan method of writing down a summary after each paragraph really hinders my ability to understand the main idea so I have stopped doing that altogether.

My only problem so far is that I get confused at highly technical passages in which I have to quickly understand technical terms to continue with the passage. The kaplan method of quickly summarizing a paragraph, I think, might help for these type of passages and I will try it tomorrow.

Yes. The Kaplan VR method is awesome but the book says only summarize this way untill you are ok with doing it in your head. This saves time. When I read the passages I completely look past the details, because their usage is just the authors way of trying to convince the reader-after already stating his/her main idea or opinion. Most questions are based upon main ideas,opinions, comparing similar ideas, or word usage...and most dont involve the technical details. If it does the question always refers you back to that paragraph.
 

g8orlife

chomp
7+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2009
885
27
161
A quagmire
Status
Resident [Any Field]
i think this is mostly because all these mcat verbal strategies floating around are superseded by how we process information and our reading comprehension, which are generally innate to most of us since we've crafted them over 2 decades of use. I think i've seen 1 guy who's scored a 13 here on SDN, and a handful of 12s. Its slightly interesting, though, since there's people here with perfect science scores, but not any perfect verbal scores.
Here are the highest I've seen:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showpost.php?p=3346163&postcount=17

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showpost.php?p=6347528&postcount=99

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showpost.php?p=6733606&postcount=282

:thumbup:
 

MNIkid87

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jul 25, 2007
135
0
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
I scored a 14 on verbal, so here is how I prepared (in case it helps anyone). What I did was that I studied for both the LSAT and the MCAT. More specifically, aside from studying Bio, Chem, Physics from MCAT books + university textbooks, I used Kaplan's big fat LSAT textbooks. From there, I used the reading comprehension and logical reasoning section. Both of them give you good prep for MCAT verbal, and imho the questios and paragraphs there are sig. harder than the stuff on the MCAT. Don't bother doing the LSAT logic games section though.

My $.02
 

catswym

MS-4
7+ Year Member
May 6, 2009
215
3
141
Status
Non-Student
honestly, though it might seem harsh, i think the only people who get high scores on verbal are those who have read all their life. The curve for verbal is tough and unlike the sciences where you can miss 1-3 questions and still get a perfect score, missing 1-3 in verbal will likely drop you to the 12-14 range already.

i think this is mostly because all these mcat verbal strategies floating around are superseded by how we process information and our reading comprehension, which are generally innate to most of us since we've crafted them over 2 decades of use. I think i've seen 1 guy who's scored a 13 here on SDN, and a handful of 12s. Its slightly interesting, though, since there's people here with perfect science scores, but not any perfect verbal scores.

Be proud of your 11s and 12s. I'm ecstatic over my 11, and would've been damn happy to get a 10. Good luck on your saturday test and freaking destroy that thing.
I agree with this. I got a 13 on verbal and I didn't practice for the verbal section at all. I'm not saying that to make myself sound awesome ( I really crapped out on the PS section) but just to say I think that is true for a lot of people who do well on verbal and that verbal seems to be one of the toughest scores to move. It also means I have NO advice for how to get 13-15. I couldn't even move my score up--I consistently got 2 questions wrong on verbal giving me a 13 on all my practice tests as well.
 

chweasel

7+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2010
46
0
141
Status
hey i just found out there is a function for aamc tests that let you see what questions you missed based on difficulty, how accurate is this? because i just checked all my tests and i only miss easy and some moderate questions, i've missed one hard question out of all the tests, what am i doing wrong here?

and to bigballer, the only advice i have is to read fast haha
 

addo

7+ Year Member
Mar 4, 2010
3,587
6
151
Texas
Status
If you are finishing with 15 minutes left on the clock, why dont you spend more time going over the questions?
 

chweasel

7+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2010
46
0
141
Status
i do, but all my answer choices look great to me, i think i should just spend more time per passage
 

erskine

hit it, H
10+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2008
240
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
i forgot about Q- she (i think the pronoun is a she) put together all those excellent mcat tips and study guides. And i retract my previous statement that there IS an elusive 15 floating around in verbal. They definitely do seem like a rare breed on here, though.

hey i just found out there is a function for aamc tests that let you see what questions you missed based on difficulty, how accurate is this? because i just checked all my tests and i only miss easy and some moderate questions, i've missed one hard question out of all the tests, what am i doing wrong here?

and to bigballer, the only advice i have is to read fast haha
are they all of one subject matter- ie economics or philosophy? And what type of question are they- descriptive, author's argument, application, etc.... I think those will help you more than the question's difficulty.
 

boaz

shanah alef
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 31, 2007
1,373
25
151
bachelor pad
Status
Medical Student
11-12 is already a very high score. On my MCAT 11 was ~90th percentile. It's much harder (if at all possible) to improve from 12->14 on VR than it is on the PS or BS. I think it's just luck from 12 and up.
 

g8orlife

chomp
7+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2009
885
27
161
A quagmire
Status
Resident [Any Field]

apumic

Oracle of the Sheet
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 1, 2007
3,924
7
141
Denver, CO
Status
Medical Student
11-12 is already a very high score. On my MCAT 11 was ~90th percentile. It's much harder (if at all possible) to improve from 12->14 on VR than it is on the PS or BS. I think it's just luck from 12 and up.
Highly unlikely it's a matter of "luck." The truth is that verbal sections on standardized tests are the closest correlate of general intelligence generally used. In other words, you should reach a plateau in your practice from which it is almost impossible to improve further. If verbal is measuring what it is measuring, no amount of practice beyond simply familiarizing yourself w/ the questions, their format, passage types, "techniques," etc., ought to significantly boost your score. This is by design. It's not a crapshoot. You (not your preparation) are being evaluated.

So... yes, the best way (really the only way short of cheating in some way) to get a 13-15 is to be born with the right genetic makeup combined with growing up in the right environment to foster the development of the necessary intelligence level to receive a 13+ on the VR section.
 

boaz

shanah alef
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 31, 2007
1,373
25
151
bachelor pad
Status
Medical Student
Highly unlikely it's a matter of "luck." The truth is that verbal sections on standardized tests are the closest correlate of general intelligence generally used. In other words, you should reach a plateau in your practice from which it is almost impossible to improve further. If verbal is measuring what it is measuring, no amount of practice beyond simply familiarizing yourself w/ the questions, their format, passage types, "techniques," etc., ought to significantly boost your score. This is by design. It's not a crapshoot. You (not your preparation) are being evaluated.

So... yes, the best way (really the only way short of cheating in some way) to get a 13-15 is to be born with the right genetic makeup combined with growing up in the right environment to foster the development of the necessary intelligence level to receive a 13+ on the VR section.
My reasoning comes from the experience I and others have had with the official AAMC practice VR sections. There are always a few questions on every test for which the official answers and explanations are perfectly debatable. In order for a question to be a measure of intelligence, the explanation should be satisfactory. It should elicit a response like "oh, yes! I should have chosen B not C." Contrast that with PS and BS where there's always (almost, at least) just one correct answer.
 

apumic

Oracle of the Sheet
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 1, 2007
3,924
7
141
Denver, CO
Status
Medical Student
My reasoning comes from the experience I and others have had with the official AAMC practice VR sections. There are always a few questions on every test for which the official answers and explanations are perfectly debatable. In order for a question to be a measure of intelligence, the explanation should be satisfactory. It should elicit a response like "oh, yes! I should have chosen B not C." Contrast that with PS and BS where there's always (almost, at least) just one correct answer.
There is definitely some truth to that. In some cases, the individual section may not be the best written. At the same time, though, in many cases part of that could be a lack of understanding as to what the question is answering. There are often fine details to take into account and sometimes explanations of an answer don't really do a good job of explaining why B was better than C. These "most correct" questions are true of any standardized test. More advanced questions become more abstract and more difficult to satisfactorily explain.
 

wanderer

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 14, 2008
1,979
28
111
Status
Medical Student
It's been awhile since I've looked at verbal, but there seemed to always be at least 2 questions (or maybe even 3 or 4) that could have been rationally answered in two different ways. Getting those wrong automatically drops you to a 13, and that's if you're perfect everywhere else. 14's and 15's are extremely rare for this reason. This is also why 13 used to be the highest score in VR (i.e. it was reported as 13-15).
 

Beren

10+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2009
217
0
0
Status
Medical Student
It's been awhile since I've looked at verbal, but there seemed to always be at least 2 questions (or maybe even 3 or 4) that could have been rationally answered in two different ways. Getting those wrong automatically drops you to a 13, and that's if you're perfect everywhere else. 14's and 15's are extremely rare for this reason. This is also why 13 used to be the highest score in VR (i.e. it was reported as 13-15).
This is a trap many test-takers fall into. Essentially you really can "make a case" for almost any choice, but the key is to pick the most correct one. And here's what you can do while studying to avoid guessing on these types of questions:

- Perfecting your overall timing so you have enough time to refer to the passage when you are stumped. Knowing when to move on, so you don't screw up your overall score for one question.

- Training yourself to make a mental map of the passage and constantly asking yourself what the bigger picture is. This helps immeasurably when looking for examples or counterexamples.

- Optimizing the brevity and depth of your reading. Read quickly enough while retaining just enough.

- Knowing that there can only be one right answer that can be arrived by a rational thought process - don't panic and guess.