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Improve Verbal Score in 3 weeks??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by starplayer, Mar 30, 2002.

  1. starplayer

    starplayer Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 4, 2001
    chicago, il
    Is it possible to make a drastic change in one's verbal reasoning score? What are some suggestions to maximize my score in three weeks?

    Reading the newspaper/magazines just doesn't cut it, some of those passages are just twisted! Also, I've done every verbal passage I was able to get my hands on...the more I practice, the lower my score becomes. HELP!!
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  3. Street Philosopher

    Street Philosopher freebird 10+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2000
    ann arbor
    read for main idea and tone, don't worry about details.

    don't need to remember everything after reading the passage.

    don't be too nervous when reading. be alert but calm.

    sometimes there are answer choices that have nothing to do with the question. eliminate those.

    that is all. oh, by the way, finish at all costs.
  4. Papa Smurf

    Papa Smurf Thug 4 Life 7+ Year Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    1) Focus
    2) Eliminate the wrong answers first.
    3) Be suspicious of any answers that simply restate something said in the passage.
    4) Try to understand how each paragraph ties into the theme of the passage.
    5) DO NOT TRY TO MEMORIZE THE DETAILS. The passages are just too twisted for you to remember much.
    6) If you don't know, use POE to guess and come back to it if you have time.

    Do all of these, and you should be able to get a 10. It's the toughest section to improve.

    Good luck.
  5. CANES2006

    CANES2006 Miami chica 10+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 2002
    Miramar, FL
    This probably won't help too much, but it worked for me. I was taking the Princeton Review course, and they gave us various tips on how to ace the verbal section. I tried all of their tips, but my score on their practice tests just kept on getting lower (scored between a 4-6). Finally, I said screw it, and I did it my own way. I just read the passages and questions calmly, and I put down the answer that first came to me. Hey, it worked. I ended up with an 11 on verbal.
  6. brandonite

    brandonite Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Oct 19, 2001
    Manitoba, Canada
    Do lots and lots and lots of practice tests. I went from a 10 in April to a 13-15 in August after only studying for about 3 weeks. All I did was practice tests (at least, that's all I did for VR). Then you start to get to know how you do these things best. A system is great, but it varies so much from person to person...
  7. Mystique

    Mystique The Procrastinator 7+ Year Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Just keep practicing. I'd read old MCAT passages instead of scholarly magazines. Let's face it...some of those passages are crud (and some are great reading); the best way to prepare IMHO is to get yourself into the "reading crud" mode everyday, and old MCAT passages you've already read are going to be your best bet. Like others have said don't worry about details...get a feel for the "tone" of the passage and use POE to narrow your answer choices.

    **Don't waste time looking at clocks every 4-5 minutes.**
    For every second you look away to check the time, you spend another 10-15 getting your mind back on track. I'd punch some numbers and spit out some figures, but I'm too lazy right now.

    Don't get bogged down on one question...this is what always happened to me. I'm the type of person who can't rest easy if I don't feel "comfortable" w/ my answer. I'll sit there and contemplate for a few...DON'T do that!! I know it's easier said than done.

    BTW, what exactly do you feel is your main problem?? Time management? Understanding the crud?? .........
  8. starplayer

    starplayer Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 4, 2001
    chicago, il
    Thanks everyone! i will definately keep those ideas in mind.
    I'm wondering if I should even concern myself with studying for this section since the first time I took the MCAT, I didn't study at all and got my highest score in VR, then I took it 2 more times, and each time (with tons of studying..practice passages, reading etc) my score went down by one with each testing.
  9. starplayer

    starplayer Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 4, 2001
    chicago, il
    What is POE?
    My problem is understanding the's like reading a bunch of words that make no sense. I've never been much of a "reader" that is one of my problems. I'm sure that if I had more time, I'd be fine. Does anyone know how the VR section of the MCAT has changed? or is it next year that it's changing?
  10. Mystique

    Mystique The Procrastinator 7+ Year Member

    Jul 6, 2001

    I don't think the MCAT is changing until 2003. Try out some of these suggestions and let us know how it goes. :)
  11. Optimistic

    Optimistic Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2001
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by starplayer:
    <strong>Is it possible to make a drastic change in one's verbal reasoning score? What are some suggestions to maximize my score in three weeks?

    Reading the newspaper/magazines just doesn't cut it, some of those passages are just twisted! Also, I've done every verbal passage I was able to get my hands on...the more I practice, the lower my score becomes. HELP!!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Dont feel bad ,you are not alone,Iam in the same boat.
    I just thought it will make you feel better.
  12. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper 7+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2001
    Two words: SPEED READING!

    It only took me about two weeks of unfocused training to bump my VR score from a 7 to a 9.
  13. slim_shanie

    slim_shanie Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 21, 2002

    I really really suck at reading comprehension. I scored a 7 on the verbal in april and bumped it up to a 10 in august. I get bogged down in the wording of the passages and it's hard for me to concentrate.

    Here's what I did:

    1) Skim through all 9 passages and pick the ones you would like to do first. Then look for the ones you know you'll get an aneurism reading through and pick to do those last. In the april one, I had 5 abstract/philosophically based passages so I knew I was screwed.

    2) Take it paragraph by paragraph. Try to find the main idea and scope in a paragraph and underline it. Don't write in the margins; it takes too much time.

    3) IGNORE details... very important. I have lotsa problems with this.

    4) When doing the actual questions, do NOT look at the answers. Read the question and try to formulate an answer from what you read through in the passage. A majority of the time, if you understood the passage correctly, the answer will be right there. I've found that if you read all the answers, you start thinking "Well... that choice COULD be right too..." Avoid this! You'll just trip yourself up this way.

    5) Keep a time schedule and stick to it. With 9 passages and 85 minutes, you should finish each section in 9 minutes. The ones you find easier, shoot for 8 minutes.

    6) Do not bubble in on your sheet after every answer. I'm not sure if you do this or not but it saves a lot of time if you answer everything on the actual test then go back and bubble in your responses. Usually, I get sick of reading the passages (about halfway through), and I bubble in the responses I already have...

    As far as studying goes... when you wake up in the morning every day between now and the 20th, do a verbal reasoning passage before you go about your daily routine. Because the VR test is early in the morning, it's tougher to concentrate. If you get used to this, it will be easier :)

    Hope this stuff helps; I know it helped me! and good luck! :)
  14. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper 7+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2001
    OH YEAH!!! Those fat kindergarten pencils help also! They're slightly on the embarrassing side, but hell...if they help!
  15. Art_Vandelay

    Art_Vandelay Junior Member

    Feb 27, 2002
    Sort of off topic, but... Anyone have an idea how the reading passages of the mcat compare to the reading passages of the GRE in terms of level of difficulty, types of questions etc..?
  16. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2001
    I usually don't feel like typing this out, but I just "upgraded" my windows version, and I'm waiting for some lost downloads to re-download, so here's my ancient chinese verbal secret.

    I improved my verbal by 2 points (on practice tests, I only took the real one once, thank God) in one day by using this technique.

    1. Don't skip around on passages. If you want to do well reliably, you'll have to finish them all anyways. No reason to waste time trying to evaluate the difficulty level since you have to do them all anyways. Also, no reason to chance mixing up the answers on the bubble sheet - I had a friend who did this last year, and he got a 4. Needless to say, he's taking it again.

    2. Read the questions first, and notice the ones that ask for something specific, that has to be explicitly stated in the passage.

    3. Read for facts and strong words. Underline any facts, and draw an arrow in the margin to facts that you know are asked for in the questions (which you were smart enough to read ahead of time). Also underline strong words (always, never, most, least, etc.) and these will give you as good an idea of tone as you need.

    4. Answer the fact questions first. I found that sometimes up to half the questions were specific fact-finding questions and were "gimmes".

    5. Next answer the tone type questions. Usually the underlined words and phrases give you enough info to do this with accuracy.

    6. If in doubt, go with your first, gut instinct. I used to mark all my questions that I doubted my answers, and 6/10 that I changed were right to start with. Hence, I never change an answer. :)


    This won't work for everyone. Heck, I'm not sure it worked for me - I may have just gotten lucky. I'm just offering this idea for anyone who wants to try it (I tried it on a practice test, and my scores which were around 7-8 went to 10-11, and I got an 11 on the real thing). I always had about 30 minutes left after the test, but like I said - I always go with my gut instinct, so I didn't go back and look anything over. I did look over my answer sheet to make sure I had bubbled in the answers I wanted, just to double check.

    One last note: I think there's a very good reason they call this section Verbal Reasoning, rather than Reading Comprehension. It's because they don't give a rat's behind if you comprehend the passage; all they care about is whether or not you can bubble in the right answer. I like to think of it as the Verbal Get It Right With As Little Effort As Possible section. I basically only skimmed the test, and when I left the test center I couldn't remember any sections well, and some almost not at all. Not because I got the questions wrong (at least not all of 'em), but rather because I only read the parts necessary to answer the questions.

    That's my advice - take it or leave it. :)
  17. sproggin

    sproggin Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 26, 2001
    Check out a "learn to speed read book" at the library. You wont learn how to perfectly speed read but youll increase your reading speed. It helped me.
  18. sorrento

    sorrento Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 13, 2001
    If there is a question that is completely bugging you and you feel like it's totally unfair and there's no one right answer ... just make yourself pick one answer, draw a big circle around the offending question, and move on. Come back at the end of the section if you have time and agonize over it all you want, but just make sure you have SOMETHING bubbled in for that question when time is called.

    I echo Jamier2's suggestion to quickly skim the questions (but NOT the answer choices) before reading the passage. Sometimes details are important and you will save a lot of time by catching them as you read rather than hunting around later.

    Also, I found it easiest and least distracting to bubble in after each passage. After each question breaks your concentration and leaving it all to the end felt too risky.
  19. dragon kid

    dragon kid Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2001
    dragon island

    I was in the same situation a year ago and improved my score from a 6 to a 10 in the span of 4 weeks.

    The major probelm with me was not being able to finish the section on time. so no matter what, finish it on time and you will probably have a good shot at 8/9. if you want a 10 or above, then you should check out some of the LSAT preparation materials. They are harder in that they have 5 choices to choose from instead of 4. and that they require you to read even faster than the mcat.

    that was what i did to improve my score.

    good luck.
  20. Wednesday

    Wednesday Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2001
    I agree with dragon kid about practicing with LSAT passages, they are as challenging (if not more challenging) than the MCAT passages. GRE passages are a waste of time. Much easier to understand and the questions are straight forward (unlike MCAT passages).

    The most important thing you can probably do is to relax.

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