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MCAT verbal strategy

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by jc2001, Jun 30, 2001.

  1. jc2001

    jc2001 New Member

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    Those of you who did well in verbal, as you look back on what you did to prepare for verbal, what was the best thing you have done to prepare for it, long-term or short-term? what was your biggest mistake?

    Please share your experience. We must unite.
     
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  3. pre-hawkdoc

    pre-hawkdoc Senior Member
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    PRACTICE. do all of the timed passages you can--preferably in blocks of 6-9. also, develop a STRATEGY, whether it be mapping (something TPR preaches) or how you're going to attack the passages and questions. I suggest marking the passage in some way, mostly because i found that it made me read the material more closely, but not necessarily more slowly. mark things like quotes, dates, specific examples, changes in thought, extremes, etc. these are the types of things that are likely to come up in the ?s. Also, go back to the passage before finalizing any answer, no matter how easy you THINK it is. MCAT writers are notorious for giving a common sense answer that is incorrect according to the passage. remember, if it's not in the passage, it's irrelevant (except for those pesky "how would the author react in a hypothetical...").
    Hope this helps. It's important to realize that you must decide what works best for you. i know people that didn't map at all and did fine. Get enough practice passages in, and your method will fall into place.
    Any other ideas???
     
  4. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    Practice, practice practice. Get as many reading comprehension type examinations that you can find. Beyond the various MCAT prep books (AAMC, Flowers, Kaplan, Princeton, Columbia, Berkeley, REA, Peterson's, Examkrackers, ARCO, etc. -- although some of these books have poor science sections or unrealistic sample exams, the reading comprehension sections are almost always good) you can also use reading comprehension sections from other test prep books for exams like the GRE, DAT, OAT, and VAT. All these sections are almost identical in content and difficulty. The key is to get used to quickly understanding the type of questions asked and how to extract that answer from the passage.

    You don't have to buy all the books mentioned above. Check your local library. My local library (not university library) had several of the books mentioned above. Some were a bit old (from the 1980's) but the reading comprehension section has changed the least out of all the sections on MCAT. Also check e-bay for some cheap deals, especially on GRE books. You can find good books for around $10 with shipping and handling.

    My strategy was pretty straight forward...read the passage and answer the questions in the order given. Skipping those questions that posed a lot of difficulty, narrowing down the choices if I could, then choosing my first hunch. The passages on the exam will jump around from being simplisitic to complex so you can't let this throw you.

    When taking your practice exams, don't forget to time yourself. Part of the difficulty with the verbal section is that people can't finish in the time allotted.

    Good luck and keep practicing.
     
  5. kmy

    kmy Member
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    I would echo the previous advice. Practicing is key. The things that helped me the most (assuming you have the time or flexibility in your schedule) were:

    1. Starting a month before the test I did two or three practice passages of verbal in the morning, training myself to be ready for that sort of thing right when I get up. Im not great at thinking quickly early in the a.m., so I needed to get myself ready since verbal is the first thing you do on test day.

    2. Like previous posters have said, do as many passages as you can possibly get your hands on and start as early as you can. Or if you are reading news magazines or news papers (which is also recommended as practice) be sure to scout out the main points, look for the authors tone, and try to read for speed and maximum short term retention. You don't want to keep this stuff in your head any longer than it will take you to answer the questions at the end.

    3. Mapping, but not super-involved. I made 5 special "characters" that indicated points of interest in the passages. For an opinion, if it's a positive one arrow up, if negative an arrow down. For a change in the tone or attitude of the essay I would put a delta. I always scan the questions VERY quickly before doing the passage to look for people, dates, vocab etc that will become important to find later so... For these dates and/or names etc. I need to find later, I circle. I put a star next to a complicated statment that I dont understand, like a big philisophical rambling that I may not need to sort out if there is no quesiton about it. That way I dont get all stressed figuring it out if I dont have to. Saves a lot of time and frustration. After using the symbols on the practice stuff it becomes second nature and it really helps when you are under stress in the real thing and need to answer questions fast.

    I know how hard it is to crack verbal, so I hope this helps.
    Good Luck
     
  6. EricCSU

    EricCSU Senior Member
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  7. 12R34Y

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    I agree with the above posters completely!!

    Practice,practice,practice........do the AAMC tests timed. Do all of the verbal practice passages you can find under timed conditions. It just takes practice.
    Remember, the most common sense answer is usually the right one.
    later
     

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