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Improving on Verbal MCAT

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by BUmiken12, Feb 20, 2002.

  1. BUmiken12

    BUmiken12 Senior Member
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    Ok, I know this is the hardest section to improve on, but does anyone have any suggestions on how to improve. I'm in the Princeton Review MCAT review course, but I'm not convinced of their methods. On the first diag, I got an 8, and on the one taken last Sat., I got a 7. Well terrific. Thanks in advance for the help...
     
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  3. Trek

    Trek Grand Uranium Member
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    I'm of the school of thought that you just can't improve this section. All these folks expect you to completely change the way you read and process info in 2 months?!?! My verbal MCAT prep was to try and rip sh!t up on the phys and bio sci sections :( --Trek
     
  4. KyGrlDr2B

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    When I had TPR, I also decreased from the 1st to 2nd diags. My teacher said it was normal because you are learning a new method and havent gotten the hang of it yet. I did start going up afterwards, I was making 10s and 11s on my practice ones. Then MCAT came and I got a big fat 7. Why you ask? Because I got so comfortable with the pace I had been reading at, that when my real MCAT passages were WAY longer, I couldn't adjust at the last minute and so I didnt finish. I had to retake it in August. I went up to a 10, using part of their method and some of my own.

    First off, don't skip passages after you've already started reading it. That is such a waste of time because you will have to come back to it anyway, so do it as you come to it! Also, I found that writing in the margins helped a TON, because I was able to find what paragraph a certain thing was mentioned in a lot easier. I circled all names, dates, stats, etc as well. And one of the biggest things that helped me: when i practiced the 2nd time around, my initial aim was to get finished with 5-10 mins to spare. Once I worked on that, it was no problem to answer the questions correctly in that amt of time. I would use those last minutes to go back and look at ones I had been unsure about, which I had placed a big question mark beside. This worked out tremendously on the real thing. If my test had been as long as my 1st one, then I would've had just enough time to make it, but this one was shorter and I was done with 15 mins to spare, which I used to slowly think through some of the others.

    I hope this will help you. You basically have to figure out a method through trial and error, so you need to make sure you practice a lot at this early stage, dont put verbal off till the end.
     
  5. Schubie

    Schubie Senior Member
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    I did TPR when I retook the MCAT, having gotten an 8 on the original Verbal. From the time I began taking practice tests for my first MCAT until the week before the second MCAT, I had not once finished the Verbal section. My highest diagnostic score had been a 9, my low was a 4, and I averaged around a 7. A week before my 2nd MCAT, the Verbal guy at TPR told me to skip the hard questions and save them for later. This may seem like common sense to everyone else, but I was doing every question in the order they came, and it was really bogging me down. That week, I took two practice tests, and I finished both with time to spare, however I still was only getting a 9. When I took the real thing, I continued with that strategy, and I finished with about 20 seconds left and I got my highest score ever, a 10! So don't get discouraged if you don't seem to be improving because a huge jump in a short amount of time is completely possible.
     
  6. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member
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    I took TPR for each of my three times taking the MCAT. My first time I got a 7. Very disheartening. Well, the second time garnered me a 9. Still couldn't break the double digits. This was way back before TPR acquired Hyperlearning. Anyhoos, last year, I took the course and convinced myself I would break the impossible 10 barrier - not an easy task. I did every single passage that I could. I would read at a good clip, and highlight important points - after doing a bunch of passages, you start to weed through the chaff and see what is pertinent to the argument the author is presenting. When I got answers incorrect, rather than get pissy like I would in the past, I tried to understand why the MCAT answer was the "more correct" one. This was tough at first since the wrong answers still made sense. After some time (and still getting 7s and 8s on the practice tests) it got to the point (almost an epiphany) where I said "ohhhh, that's what the author wants, and that's what the MCAT question writers want."

    When test time came around, I scanned through the first sentence or two of each passage, writing N(ow), M(iddle), L(ater) and K(iller) on the top of each (picking out the killer passage is key, as you need to do this one last. I then worked through the passages, reminding myself to stick to the technique I had learned. There was a lot of questioning going on in my mind during the exam, but I just stuck to my guns. Anyhoos, I got to the last passage and didn't even have time to read it - answered the questions I could get a feel for, or find quickly in the passage, then guessed on the last four. And I was mailed an 11 two months later. So, I suppose it is possible, because I never thought so til this happened. Good luck.
     
  7. EMDrMoe

    EMDrMoe Senior Member
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    I agree wholeheartedly with KyGrl2B. That's exactly what I did. I took Kaplan, but the course didn't help me with verbal, because I had already been attacking by writing all over, etc. I teach my students to do exactly what she says (more or less the Kaplan method, but with some stuff of my own). Good luck!!!!!
     
  8. Bevo

    Bevo Radiology, R1
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    well I guess this is on the subject of this...

    my verbal scores in verbal have gone from 5 on the first diag I took in october, to the 2nd diag I took when I started the class and got a 6. And this past weekend I received a 7 on the verbal section, which could arguably have been an 8 or 9 if I hadn't gone back to change a couple correct answers(ugly habit of mine ...).

    Today they were trying to sell us the whole verbal edge course for like $300 ?

    Is it really worth it ?

    How much different is it from what we're supposed to be learning in the basic class ?
     
  9. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member
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    I didn't take a prep course for the MCAT, but I did buy and go through Kaplan's review book. Though I agreed with a lot of Kaplan's methods, I threw their advice out the window when it came to the verbal section.

    For instance, while I skipped around A LOT in the science sections, I plowed straight through when it came to the verbal. Why? because I think it just takes too long to ascertain whether a passage is "easy" or not. By the time you've decided to skip a passage, you've wasted a minute skimming it.

    I didn't underline or circle things either. Why? again, it just takes too long! I just put a little tick mark next to a line I though was important, but that was it.

    I didn't read the questions first. Again, it just takes too long. I just read the passage, made little tick marks, and answered the questions in order.

    The only Kaplan advice I DID follow on the verbal was circling the answers to each passage in the booklet, then bubbling in the answers for each passage on the scantron all at once. This SAVES time, and you don't break concentration as often.

    As you can probably tell, I'm one of those people who has time issues. If you're quick, you might want to adopt a different strategy. For me, I had to go as fast as possible and be as accurate as possible.

    My last bit of advice is to do as many AAMC verbal passages as possible. Don't depend on Kaplan or any other verbal passages. Maybe it's just me, but the AAMC passages just seem to have their own "flavor"; one you need to get familiar with.

    I hope any advice you get here helps, but it's my opinion that the verbal section is pretty personal. Different things work for different people! The strategies above were only what worked for me. Last April I finished the verbal with a whopping 2 minutes to spare! I ended up scoring a 13-15, though...
     
  10. Bevo

    Bevo Radiology, R1
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    the one thing I did do that I got from kaplan was writing the little paragraph summaries on the side. I write the first thing that comes to my mind regardless of its right or not since I dont want to spend 5 mins trying to perfectly summarize the paragraph. And before I would just mark the answers down in my book and mark it all down at the end. Now I do it after each passage to minimize any mistakes i might make in not bubbling everything in correctly as I wrote it down in my workbook.
     
  11. Bevo

    Bevo Radiology, R1
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    the one thing I did do that I got from kaplan was writing the little paragraph summaries on the side. I write the first thing that comes to my mind regardless of its right or not since I dont want to spend 5 mins trying to perfectly summarize the paragraph. And before I would just mark the answers down in my book and mark it all down at the end. Now I do it after each passage to minimize any mistakes i might make in not bubbling everything in correctly as I wrote it down in my workbook.

    The one piece of advice I did receive today from a friend was that she was waking up every morning a little earlier than usual and does a passage as soon as she wakes up. Besides getting the consistent practice of it, it gets her mind used to that sort of thinking in the early morning hours.
     
  12. Stratilo

    Stratilo Junior Member
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    This was my hardest section. But, I received three acceptances with a 7. Just keep working at it. The more you keep at it, the better. I've never heard of anyone going down because of studying. My scores fluctuated on the course exams from 4-9.

    My recommendation: Concentrate more on the sciences, but keep working at verbal. If the other sections are strong, the AdComms might just think you had a bad day on the verbal.

    Good luck!!!!
     
  13. Bevo

    Bevo Radiology, R1
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    heh, the way I see everything now is that I have little room for error considering Im carrying some pretty heavy dead weight behind me with my grades from my first school.

    Ive done my best to try and change my grades at my current school and think my grades dont show how much Ive learned in my respective classes, but do show a significant improvement from my old school. So since I started to get my life back on track, after a 4 year detour, everyone has told me the MCAT is one thing that will help me make up for some of my past mistakes in terms of getting my foot in the door.

    I know I have to be strong across the board, if not a bit stronger because Im fighting my poor academic past.
     
  14. doppl

    doppl Member
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    For me, I think the key was critical reading everyday. I would usually spend about 1/2 hr or more reading editorials etc. on various topics. Mostly looking to pick out content and critiquing it in my mind. Trying to figure out good questions to challenge the author. Usually this allowed me to remember the passage well during test conditions. All the recommendations so far have been great. try picking the strategy that works best for you.
     
  15. Bevo

    Bevo Radiology, R1
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    hrmm Im accustomed to reading articles out of Time magazine and hobby magazines. Id like to read more of those humanity or sociolgy kind of articles though. The only magazine that I think comes close is the National Review?(I think thats the name of it)

    Any other suggestions ?
     
  16. Hoo\/er

    Hoo\/er if($profit){replicate();}
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    I'm in the same boat with Stratilo. I took TPR and had a 7-10 verbal range. After waiting 60 days, I was mailed a 7 verbal on the actual test. Yeah, I was bummed out just knowing I was going to have to study all over and take that dreaded test again. I said what the heck and still applied to my first and second choice schools. Well, to make a long story short I was accepted to both schools. Just do your best and be yourself throughout the whole application process. Good luck!
     
  17. PMPMD

    PMPMD 4G MD
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    TPR verbal diags are nothing but bootychatta. I never got outside of the 4-6 score range on the verbals, but I got an 11 on the real thing. Just work passages, then work some more passages, then for a change work some passages, then take a break by working some other passages...you get the idea. It's the only way to improve your score. On the real exam, I picked the one hardest passage, and filled in D for every answer, to save time like they tell you. It must have paid off.
     

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