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Improving reading comprehension...dose related???

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by txlonghorn2314, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. txlonghorn2314

    5+ Year Member

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    My issue now with the MCAT is no longer the content it is testing as much as it is following/comprehending the passages (especially VR!) and mental self-talk/anxiety.

    Even when it comes to critically thinking/deducing I don't have much of a problem on questions I actually followed...but overall, I have trouble staying focused. I constantly finish a paragraph and mentally ask myself "Oh God, what did I just read?! Crap, now time is running out! Crap!!! Now I can't understand anything cause I'm freaking out! Crap!!! I just finished the passage in 4 minutes and still have absolutely no idea what it is even about!!"

    ^^ That mental self talk is why I feel like I got a 1 on the VR on my MCAT on the 27th.

    I've consistently done well on my sciences and feel pretty great about the PS and BS on my test...but I've decided to take again at the end of January because if I can improve my ability to stay with and follow passages without zoning out or freaking out, I would be SOLID for this exam.

    Two questions:
    1. Is 4 1/2 months long enough to improve reading comprehension?
    2. Is improving reading comprehension dose related?
    I have a subscription to Economist and Science. So I was going to see instead of just casually reading them before bed, if I actually busted my butt and read the Economist for like an hour and a half in the morning and Science an hour and a half at night, while reflecting on each article...could I make drastic changes?

    Aside from this I plan on going on a hardcore workout/meditation routine to help raise my baseline serotonin/dopamine levels so I can stay more calm and focused.

    I also plan on following Snd'eds 4 month plan, and because I'm already pretty solid on most content, I was just gonna review lightly and do the 1/3 passages to further build my science scores as well.

    I have worked SO hard and I absolutely don't want to let reading comprehension as well as anxiety remain the major barrier in me beating this exam! :):)
     
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  3. txlonghorn2314

    5+ Year Member

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    bump. Any thoughts?
     
  4. Thoroughbred_Med

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    Have you ever been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD?

    There's no shame in it. I was diagnosed last year and Vyvance has been a game changer for my studies.

    Working out and meditation are great too!
     
    j9260 likes this.
  5. txlonghorn2314

    5+ Year Member

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    Yeah, and I used to be prescribed adderall but quit after a very short time because it only made things worse (caused a ton of other very unpleasant side effects). I've been prescribed every type of medicine in the book for anxiety/adhd but all of them had adverse side effects that outweighed the positive...(antidepressants made me foggy and lethargic, adhd medication gave me horrible anxiety/insomnia).

    That has been my biggest mountain to climb...trying to take/study for the MCAT while getting off of one medication and trying another. Thats why I decided to just not be on anything and simply try and manage it by intense workouts, healthy diet, meditation, and enjoying time with the wife and friends. I'm just truly hoping that I can improve my focus and reading comprehension in 4-5 months. I will say the first time around I did not follow a consistent study/passage schedule AT ALL... so maybe following SN2'eds plan to the tee will on its own help my ability to focus well on the passages in time.

    I'm going to start in 7 days but for now I've started to just read really boring articles in Science mag and Economist, and after every 2 paragraphs just close my eyes and summarize what I just read. Any other tips would be awesome!
     
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  6. j9260

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    Have you practiced taking EK 101 Verbal Passages or TPR Hyperlearning Verbal Passages?
    Maybe you need to gradually habituate yourself to the content, the timing, and the questions. Like perhaps, start off doing one passage at a time, untimed. If you feel like you're not focusing, try putting on white noise (that's given as an option at some test centers) -- I find that sometimes calms me down and helps me focus. Or put yourself under a timed condition for the added pressure to focus. As you feel more comfortable with attacking one passage at a time, increase it to 2 or 3 passages at a time. Eventually, build up to consistently taking a full 7-passage verbal test in 60 minutes. It may take you a few weeks, it may take you a few months--it's really up to you to see how things are going.
     
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  7. txlonghorn2314

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    Because of my sporadic studying, I've worked through about 20% of both TPRH and EK 101...after taking the MCAT twice now I know exactly what to expect, and I truly feel like following SN2'eds 4 month plan will indefinitely give me (or anyone) the best chance of success (only allowing 6-7 min/passage, 3-5 passages a day for 4 months, intense analysis, etc). I just wondered, because I always hear that reading comprehension in general is something that takes "sooo long" to build, that if I added 2 hours of just reading/reflecting on Economist/Science Mag articles to my study schedule, I could expect to see significant gains in comprehension in 4-5 months.
     
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