If you know how to read, shouldn't you do fine in the Verbal section?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by JulianCrane, Jul 13, 2002.

  1. JulianCrane

    JulianCrane The Power of Intention
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    I dunno about anyone else, but I think that "studying" for the Verbal section of the MCAT is rather ill-founded. I mean, if you know how to critically read and understand information and can draw conclusions (which should be a skill developed in college course work), you should do fine on the MCAT. Sure, I bought a verbal book so I can simulate the conditions of the exam, but I think that going to extremes of reading newspapers and other materials just as prep is not wise. Does anyone agree with me?? That's just my 2 cents.:love:
     
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  3. Darth Vader

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    Doing well in the verbal section isn't all about reading, it's more about doing a lot of practice problems in verbal. I more then doubled my original verbal practice MCAT score when it came time to take my MCAT, and I can assure you that my reading skills did not change in those 4 months. It is about practicing your timing, how to skim those questions, and learning how to pick the "best" answer (since the right answer is often arguable).
     
  4. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    If you had an infinite amount of time, then yes, I believe that anyone can ace the verbal section. However, you only have a certain amount of time to do it and that is what makes it hard.
     
  5. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    The only thing I would recommend doing is trying out different methods of doing the passages a long time before the test so you know what works best for you. For me, I didn't have a time problem. So what I did, was I would read each passage fully through once, then did the questions. If necessary, I would reread the parts related to the question. I would just circle the answers in the book, not worrying about the scantron.
    I would continue this way until I got to a passage that I just didn't like and would get stuck on. I would then take a break, go back and bubble in all of my answers up to that point. That gave me a chance to regroup. Then when I started rereading that passage I got stuck again on, it seemed a TON easier. Then at the end I would bubble in the rest of my answers and start double checking my answers from the beginning.
     
  6. tBw

    tBw totally deluded
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    The problem is the time is short and you are not asked just to make re-statements of the contents of the passage but often interpret. This is somewhat more difficult. Let me give you and example using the following "passage" and example MCAT question:

    Example MCAT questions based on the passage:

    1. According to the author:

    a) Preparation for the verbal section is largely unnecessary as the skills tested are developed in college
    b) People should not read newspapers
    c) Even utter geniuses in the verbal section need to buy a book
    d) He knows better than everyone else and is going to breeze the section everyone else finds hardest

    Analysis:

    Answer (b) is a standard MCAT trick. it takes something from the passage "reading newspapers and other materials just as prep is not wise" and turns this into a more generalised statement "People should not read newspapers". Answer (b) is therefore wrong. Answer (c) is similar, except it goes beyond what the passage tells us - at no point does the author actually state he is a genius. We are therefore left with answers (a) and (d). Which one is correct depends on ones reading of the above passage and it may take several re-readings to decide which most accurately reflects the authors point of view.

    So you see, as it is often interpretation or inference, rather than just re-statement of the passage MCAT verbal is a bit trickier than it seems....at least for most of us. Hope that helps explain it
     
  7. none

    none 1K Member
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    I do think the verbal section is the most difficult to study for because it actually measures a skill, not memorization. I believe that one can develop that skill, although actually studying for the MCAT in specific may not be the best way. Regardless, it's clearly the most important section and one's performance in it should be of great concern.
     
  8. Mr. H

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    Crane, I felt your post was inflammatory and ego-centric. Many people didn't do well on the verbal, and saying that "if you can read you should do well" is both a simplistic and a childish way of looking at this complex issue. For many people, thinking critically and understanding complex passages is not second-nature, so before you go throwing around these remarks, realize everyone is different.
    I hope that didn't sound too harsh, but I really deplore this type of rhetoric.
     
  9. Dr/\/\om

    Dr/\/\om Senior Member
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    If all it took to score well on the verbal section were reading skills there wouldn't be any curve for them to score it from.:rolleyes:

    You can certainly read well without being able to analyze in the manner they expect you to on the MCAT.
     
  10. yaoming

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    u also have to know how to bubble in answers, not just read.
     
  11. Dr/\/\om

    Dr/\/\om Senior Member
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    Sadly, this does affect the scores of some. :rolleyes: :eek: :( :oops:
     
  12. JulianCrane

    JulianCrane The Power of Intention
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    I was not trying to be inflammatory or ego-centric by my post. I was just stating that compared to the science sections, the verbal section is one for which you can least study.
     
  13. Street Philosopher

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  14. dr kevin40

    dr kevin40 Senior Member
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    oh definitely. verbal is so easy cuz u r right man!all u gotta know is how to read!

    everyone should be getting 13-15s, 12s at the least! anyone who gets anything less should file for disability
     
  15. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member
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    verbal is difficult for many reasons. one of them is that it is the first exam of the day and you have to get yourself together for it.
     
  16. Doctor Octopus

    Doctor Octopus Hospitalist
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    You cannot study for Verbal, you can only practice. Practice is the only way to improve your score.
     
  17. Explosivo

    Explosivo blah!
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    Well Julian I think you're wrong. First of all you are falling right into the hands of the MCAT writers. The biggest trap for first time takers of the MCAT is that the verbal section needs little preparation; you either can read or you can't. Here's my experience, I scored a 35 on the ACT reading subsection several years ago and considered my self to be an excellent reader. When I took the MCAT the first time 2 years ago I approached the verbal just like you and I came out with an "impressive" 8.

    There is a lot more to the verbal than reading comprehension. The biggest factor is time and I don't care how well you can read and analyze information, if you are not careful of time it will kill you on this section more than any other.

    B/c of the time factor the verbal requires extensive practice. No, there is no need to study anything per se, but you must practice and get a technique for that section down. Your technique must be second nature on the day of the MCAT so you can minimize the significance of the time factor. With no technique you are risking a lot. Remember, the MCAT writers want to standardize you and will try every trick in the book. They know that most premeds are excellent readers and analyzers of information to begin with and create the verbal section with this in mind. A simple glance at several posts by SDNers with double-digit science scores and piss poor verbal scores provides ample evidence of the MCAT writers' success.

    You have about a month left. I strongly suggest that you start prepping for the verbal by doing as many passages as possible under timed conditions. Get a technique down that works and follow it each time. Don't make the same mistake I and many others have made.
     
  18. GuitarMan

    GuitarMan Guitarman for President
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    I didn't study for the verbal section aside from taking practice tests, which I was really taking to measure my preparedness for the bio and phys. On the practice tests (out of four) my average V score was 12. On the real test I scored 11. The problem I faced was as follows. As soon as the verbal section started, the idiot sitting next to me started flipping through every page at breakneck speed scratching things out with his pencil on the hard wood table. All I could think was. . . "what's this idiot doing? What in the world could he be doing? Is he just trying to psych everyone out? This is unbelievable!"

    I thought I was well prepared because during my practice tests there were all kinds of car alarms screaming and dogs barking etc. But that page flipping and loud pencil scratching was unbearable. It took me several minutes to gain my composure.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you're going to read the NY Times as practice for the MCAT, make sure you're sitting next to an idiot at the time.
     
  19. JulianCrane

    JulianCrane The Power of Intention
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    OK, I fully understand that timing is an issue when it comes to the verbal test, but that something that one has to deal with with all standardized exams. I did buy a book to practice verbal passages so I know how to deal with the time. My point still remains that many people here are talking about "studying" for the verbal section when you can not study for this section at all. At the most, you can use practice passages to gauge your abilities. Hence, if you are capable of thinking logically and critically within the alloted time, you should be fine. I think I'll be ok when I take the April 2003 MCAT. And since it will be the 2nd test of the day with 5 fewer questions and the same amount of time, I'll have a little less stress to deal with. :)
     
  20. Dr/\/\om

    Dr/\/\om Senior Member
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    Not a bad suggestion in general for preparing for the MCAT! Seriously, there can be so many distractions on test day and you need to be able to test well despite them. In my test we had someone coughing throughout the entire exam and proctors that whispered to each other mush of the time.

    As to verbal specifically, I agree that you can't really study for it, although reading boring material will help. Timing is essential. When I took the real thing, there was a woman behind me who only completed 3 passages!! :eek:
     
  21. jot

    jot

    hah julian - i don't know if 5 less questions is going to substantially reduce any stress - if any at all. i wouldn't even consider that a comfort, because curves normalize most things. you're technically right, you can't "study" for the verbal section in the same manner as bio or phys. but the practice you do is more than a mere gauge - but perhaps this is a semantic issue. i suggest you keep on "gauging" your performance, and i'm sure you'll find you will do better the more you "gauge" yourself. you may havea great baseline verbal score - but you should optimize that per your abilities - and unless your basal score is a 15, then there is always room to do better. whatever works - regardless, in order to get the best score possible, you need to put some work/practice/gauging time in there.
    -jot
     
  22. JulianCrane

    JulianCrane The Power of Intention
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    Hey Jot: You sure do like that word gauge, don't ya?
     
  23. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    I've got one I think few will be able to top. So, I'm taking the test at GA State University. Well, maybe halfway through the verbal section as I'm just cruising along, a mariachi band (you read that right) walks by outside the auditorium window at roughly 9:30 am, playing loudly with a bunch of students whooping and yelling on the street. I'm swear, I have friends who can verify this actually happened. I know my Spanish isn't too keen, but cinco de mayo does mean may 5th right?, and the test day was april 20th so that couldn't have been it.

    With all the nervous pre meds there I saw a couple veins about to burst on other people's foreheads, but I thought it was so funny I lost five minutes just laughing at the situation. To this day I think AAMC planted that band there, for what reason I dont know. My verbal (10)was a little lower than my sciences (b13, p12), should I have worked that into my personal statement somehow?:laugh:
     
  24. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    I haven't read this whole thread because I don't want to waste my time doing so, but here's my response to the original poster, and especially the thread title: NO.

    I wouldn't waste my time studying for the Verbal section (or any section for that matter) but just knowing how to read is not enough to do well. After all, not everybody does well on this section yet I can pretty much gaurantee that there are not any illiterate or many semi-literate people taking this test. Given that virtually everyone who takes the MCAT knows how to read pretty darn well, it is a matter of being able to understand what you've read, make inferences, draw conclusions, synthesize new ideas, etc.
     
  25. Dr/\/\om

    Dr/\/\om Senior Member
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    ROFLMAO :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

    I think you really reinforced my "be able to test well with distractions" recommendation!:laugh:
     
  26. nero

    nero Senior Member
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    Actually with 5 less questions, this makes scoring high much harder.........because so many people are going to get all of the answers right, if you miss like 3 or 4 you are down to an 11 from the beginning..........right now you can miss 3 or 4 and still get the top score.........after the curve you can usually miss 10 q's and get an 11 and miss 15 q's and get a 10........you have much less room for error, and more people than usual are going to be getting perfect because with less questions there is less chance for error.....and more people will miss just 1 or 2.......so if you miss more than 2 you're down....so i actually think scoring 11 + will be harder starting in april 2003.......plus, with it second, you have been worn down by the ps, which is not exactly the easiest section either.........verbal at 9 am isn't great, but atleast you are some what fresh.............................anywya, dont' make the mistake of not practicing for it, practice for each section, practice is more important than studying............once you have a basic background........i saw more improvemtn from practice tests than i did from studying...................good luck

    nero
     
  27. Dr/\/\om

    Dr/\/\om Senior Member
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    I've been wondering how AAMC thinks that shortening the section will spread out the curve--this is the explanation I heard for why they are doing this. It just doesn't make sense (as you have illustrated).
     
  28. GuitarMan

    GuitarMan Guitarman for President
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    Are these numbers accurate for the old exam? On several of the practice exams that I took (which were old exams distributed by AAMC) missing just two questions was enough to drop you to a 12. I don't think any of us have had the luxury of missing as many questions as the above post suggests. Also, some previous posters on this thread have talked about getting a 15 on the verbal. To my knowledge 13 is the highest score possible.
     
  29. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    Well damn, I also scored a 35 on the reading section of the ACT and was hoping it would make me a good enough reader to breeze through the Verbal Section:(
     
  30. Dr/\/\om

    Dr/\/\om Senior Member
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    I may be totally wrong on this, but I thought that the last April MCAT actually had 14s & 15s (anyone out there who took that one?)

    I do believe that you can't miss as many questions as nero listed to get the scores mentioned, but his (?) explanation is still reasonable.
     
  31. Doctor Octopus

    Doctor Octopus Hospitalist
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    I took April 2002 and 13-15 is the highest attainable score. Starting April 2003 they are shortening verbal by 5 questions because few people were finishing, but they will also make some of the questions much more difficult. It will be possible to get a 13, 14, or 15 as of April 2003
     
  32. nero

    nero Senior Member
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    I got the #s from the scaled used for AAMC, which I assumed to be the scale they actually used. Here's the conversion I used:

    AAMC #4-6

    15: Perfect
    14: 1-2 wrongs
    13: 3-6
    12: 7-10
    11: 11-14
    10: 15-17
    9: 18-21
    8: 22-25
    7: 26-28
    6: 29-33
    5: 34-36

    I did not hear of any score greater than a 13 on the verbal on April 2002.

    Nero
     
  33. Dr/\/\om

    Dr/\/\om Senior Member
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    Thanks...I stand corrected!
     
  34. silvercholla

    silvercholla Smarter than the avg bear
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    This is to the original poster... Did you take the MCAT yet and if so then what did you get on the verbal? If you did not, take it, digest the experience, get your scores back and let's see how you do... then you and everyone else will have the answer to this post.
     

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