Mar 19, 2012
29
0
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  1. Pre-Medical
What is a long term solution to improving my verbal score. I'm not looking for an answer which is "just read more hard material". I'm looking for how I am supposed to read and what determines how well I read whatever after and solutions like this.

Also, as far as knowing everything for the sciences most of us are pretty good but when we come across passages that barely test us on background knowledge rather test us on interpretting random convoluted data/info we get confused or at least I get baffled.. Whats a good solution to getting better at this problem long term?


Thank you !
 

MedPR

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Dec 1, 2011
18,579
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What is a long term solution to improving my verbal score. I'm not looking for an answer which is "just read more hard material". I'm looking for how I am supposed to read and what determines how well I read whatever after and solutions like this.

Also, as far as knowing everything for the sciences most of us are pretty good but when we come across passages that barely test us on background knowledge rather test us on interpretting random convoluted data/info we get confused or at least I get baffled.. Whats a good solution to getting better at this problem long term?


Thank you !

None of the VR passages test background knowledge. As such, never use background knowledge or personal opinion to do VR.

If you're going to do non-VR prep for prep, read for the author's opinions and the main idea.
 
May 25, 2010
112
10
Tucson, AZ
Status
  1. Medical Student
Hey Joyant Bouyant, this is part of a response I sent to another fellow SDNer::

Hi! Hope I can help!

Please check out my 15 Lessons post and attachment where I discuss my experience in verbal studies. During my first test-prep I did not study except for on the practice tests and thus my score was a 7. Second time I started using the PR strategy and my score was not consistently satisfactory. So I dumped it for the EK "strategy" which is simply to read fast for the main idea without skipping, ranking or note taking and search for the least bad answer (because none of the answers are a particularly great answer). This brought my verbal up to a 12!!

The EK strategy was good for me except for the fast part and the least bad answer part. So this is where I put in the work. Here is how I improved on both of these:

Speed-- I was a very slow reader and could easily take 10-14 minutes per passage. I needed to increase my ability to read fast WITH comprehension. I have a great husband who happens to be a ridiculously fast reader, so I started to race him. I think you could do this with yourself or with another friend who is willing to give you some time. What we did was start a stop watch and then we would start reading (I had online text so we could both look at our own computer screen). I would read continuously without stopping, making notes or going back. . . which I call "reading like a downhill skier" becuase I had no choice but to keep going. I would stop the stopwatch when I had finished and keep track, aiming for the 3-4 minute mark to finish reading the passage. I treated this like training for the 100 yard dash. Go again and again and see how well you can do. Don't forget comprehension though! After each reading we would discuss what we remembered from the passage and often I would identify mistakes in my memory so that was helpful to revise my understanding. Finally we would discuss each answer and debate which was the least bad. In the final weeks I would set a 7 minute timer to read the passage and answer the question set then we would compare answers, debate again, and then finally check the correct answers. Very important step was when we found the correct answer we would CONFIRM why it was the best answer. Was it a factual problem? Was it too far in imaginationland? This helped me identify the errors I was making in answer selection. My husband is still doing GEs and is just an average guy who can read fast. . . my point is anyone can help you with this task. They don't need to be an MCAT teacher or a PhD in verbal reasoning, they just have to be willing to put in the time.

Selecting the Least Bad Answer: During answer selection I was wasting time re-reading and kept "imagining" how every answer COULD be correct. I continuously felt like 3 or even five of the answers COULD be correct. I had to shift consciously to eliminating answers that were distinctly false factually, too extreme or dependant on assumptions that the passage does not imply DIRECTLY. So, my PR verbal instructor had the great analogy of the "inference dance" . . . He said every bit of information leads to inferences and every inference can lead to additional inferences. Eg. If I told you my dog died today you would start to infer things about my dog, maybe that I was sad or that the dog was hit by a car. Then if you had inferred that I was sad you might infer that I was going to look for a new dog to replace my dog. Then you might infer that I wanted your help to find a new dog. Then you might infer that you should find some advertisments for adoption or take me to a kennel to look for one. . . . THEN I tell you that I had put it down because it was my ex's dog and I really wanted to piss him off. . . look at how far you had travelled in your many inferences to offer to take me dog hunting when I was actually not at all interested in anything of the sort! Inferences are dangerous so on the more difficult questions you need to determine which answer makes the LEAST number of inferences from the passage. So, Inferring that I was sad was a better answer than inferring that you should take me dog hunting. Does that make sense? Don't take too many steps in the inference dance! All it is is using your imagination in a process that is based on logic and reasoning.

Again I hope this helps!! Boost your confidence with all your will. It is the best medicine. :) You may have to find a mantra and happy dance to help keep up the happiness against the draining force of MCAT prep. Good LUCK!
 
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EZR

Dec 26, 2011
91
12
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Hey Joyant Bouyant, this is part of a response I sent to another fellow SDNer::

Hi! Hope I can help!

Please check out my 15 Lessons post and attachment where I discuss my experience in verbal studies. During my first test-prep I did not study except for on the practice tests and thus my score was a 7. Second time I started using the PR strategy and my score was not consistently satisfactory. So I dumped it for the EK "strategy" which is simply to read fast for the main idea without skipping, ranking or note taking and search for the least bad answer (because none of the answers are a particularly great answer). This brought my verbal up to a 12!!

The EK strategy was good for me except for the fast part and the least bad answer part. So this is where I put in the work. Here is how I improved on both of these:

Speed-- I was a very slow reader and could easily take 10-14 minutes per passage. I needed to increase my ability to read fast WITH comprehension. I have a great husband who happens to be a ridiculously fast reader, so I started to race him. I think you could do this with yourself or with another friend who is willing to give you some time. What we did was start a stop watch and then we would start reading (I had online text so we could both look at our own computer screen). I would read continuously without stopping, making notes or going back. . . which I call "reading like a downhill skier" becuase I had no choice but to keep going. I would stop the stopwatch when I had finished and keep track, aiming for the 3-4 minute mark to finish reading the passage. I treated this like training for the 100 yard dash. Go again and again and see how well you can do. Don't forget comprehension though! After each reading we would discuss what we remembered from the passage and often I would identify mistakes in my memory so that was helpful to revise my understanding. Finally we would discuss each answer and debate which was the least bad. In the final weeks I would set a 7 minute timer to read the passage and answer the question set then we would compare answers, debate again, and then finally check the correct answers. Very important step was when we found the correct answer we would CONFIRM why it was the best answer. Was it a factual problem? Was it too far in imaginationland? This helped me identify the errors I was making in answer selection. My husband is still doing GEs and is just an average guy who can read fast. . . my point is anyone can help you with this task. They don't need to be an MCAT teacher or a PhD in verbal reasoning, they just have to be willing to put in the time.

Selecting the Least Bad Answer: During answer selection I was wasting time re-reading and kept "imagining" how every answer COULD be correct. I continuously felt like 3 or even five of the answers COULD be correct. I had to shift consciously to eliminating answers that were distinctly false factually, too extreme or dependant on assumptions that the passage does not imply DIRECTLY. So, my PR verbal instructor had the great analogy of the "inference dance" . . . He said every bit of information leads to inferences and every inference can lead to additional inferences. Eg. If I told you my dog died today you would start to infer things about my dog, maybe that I was sad or that the dog was hit by a car. Then if you had inferred that I was sad you might infer that I was going to look for a new dog to replace my dog. Then you might infer that I wanted your help to find a new dog. Then you might infer that you should find some advertisments for adoption or take me to a kennel to look for one. . . . THEN I tell you that I had put it down because it was my ex's dog and I really wanted to piss him off. . . look at how far you had travelled in your many inferences to offer to take me dog hunting when I was actually not at all interested in anything of the sort! Inferences are dangerous so on the more difficult questions you need to determine which answer makes the LEAST number of inferences from the passage. So, Inferring that I was sad was a better answer than inferring that you should take me dog hunting. Does that make sense? Don't take too many steps in the inference dance! All it is is using your imagination in a process that is based on logic and reasoning.

Again I hope this helps!! Boost your confidence with all your will. It is the best medicine. :) You may have to find a mantra and happy dance to help keep up the happiness against the draining force of MCAT prep. Good LUCK!

Definitely appreciate the description/example of the "inference dance." I do that all the time - I go through so many logical loops and eventually, all the answers seem plausible... IT'S NAUSEATING!

Hopefully I can be conscious of it now and aim to choose the ''least inferenced'' answer.
 
Mar 27, 2012
5
0
Status
Definitely appreciate the description/example of the "inference dance." I do that all the time - I go through so many logical loops and eventually, all the answers seem plausible... IT'S NAUSEATING!

Hopefully I can be conscious of it now and aim to choose the ''least inferenced'' answer.

Very true! Logic never seems to be in favor when it comes to inferring the right answer :confused:
 
Feb 19, 2012
277
23
Ohio
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
AAMC has to make their answers 100% air tight... they will not have crazy logic for your to get through to the answer.
 

mcloaf

7+ Year Member
Jan 21, 2012
5,175
4,662
Status
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Lol, you have the answer written right there in your OP, but apparently you're not looking for it...
 
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