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Non-native english speaker...verbal section = frustration

Karina

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    Hey!
    Just wanted to vent a little. I don't know if there is anyone out there with this problem...but I didn't speak english until I was about 14-15 years old. My english rocks...I don't have an accent (well...except when I try to say certain words like "verbal", "chocolate" or "oven" :D ) and I was the best writter in my eng. comp. courses. I read my books and grasp the concepts quickly...yet, for some reason..this verbal section is proven impossible. I finnd it impossible to recall specific bits of information, without having the time to actually go back to the specific paragraph and reading it again. Or, sometimes there's a word that I have never seen before..therefore I can't even understand the question, or know whether the answer is correct or not. Or even worse, I have to read a sentence two or three time before I understand what the idea is :(
    I have done 3 EK verbal practices (from the 101 passages book) so far and the scores have been the same for all three. I go back and check my answers, but what good does it do if every test is different and is not based on my knowledge but on how many stupid mistakes and wrong assumptions I can actually make.

    I don't know what I'm trying to accomplish by posting this...I just needed to express this before I start getting depressed with all this MCAT stuff again :(

    Thanks,
    Karina
     

    imsotired

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      Don't feel too bad about it. Even the people that DO speak English as their first language have the same kind of trouble as you do (ahem....me!). It's just a matter of practice but it isn't the kind of thing that just comes to you like the sciences. You have to keep trying. Think of it this way, you've only done 3 practice tests. Keep doing more and more and do what EK tells you to do and you'll see small improvements as you go. Don't give up!! :D
       

      MrDocNYU

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        I feel you...English is not my first language either, and I also started speaking at 14. I still have an accent, a strong one, but I have won a few creative writing awards...The verbal section of the MCAT is not my favorite, neither is th essay... Those sections are witches!! But one piece of advice: if you are not a non science major, please read some very boring and long essays. it helps!
         

        Karina

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          Thank you for your responses guys!
          I actually feel a little better today. I went to work in the morning, then came home, ate and sat down and took another practice verbal from the same book (EK 101 passages). My score went up 3 points! :) I hope this isn't pure chance, and that it becomes a trend. :)

          If y'all excuse me, now that I feel better about the verbal section today (knowing that I can do it!!!) I have to go read more stuff from Gen. Chem.
          I have a Microbio test next week, and I haven't even looked at the material because of MCAT stuff. I want to do a nice big review of all the things I know I don't know of Gen Chem and Physics, before I shift into streptococcus mode :)

          Why can't life stop so we can study peacefully for this test?!:p

          Good luck everyone!
          Karina
           
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          superdevil

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            just wanted to chime-in with some more support. like imsotired already said, this is a difficult section for native speakers, too.

            things will come faster and easier for you with each practice passage you do. the only problem is the vocabulary issue (where they use a word in a passage/question that stumps you). honestly, unless you read the dictionary, there's no way to guard against that. you'll just have to hope there are no unwelcome surprises on your verbal form.

            much luck!!
             

            silkworm

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              Verbal is trouble for native and non-native speakers alike. Don't let it get you down. One suggestion from EK that may help your confidence is to force yourself to be interested in the subject of the passage and approach it as you would a magazine article you personally want to read.

              As for the vocab issue, I wouldn't worry too much, even if you don't understand one word it won't affect your overall understanding.
               

              milliardo_L

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                I know how you feel... I am working with EK 101, but there is still a disadvantage... It affects not only the verbal part but the others as well. I am from puerto rico (where I currently study) and sometimes science passages use nouns that are rare and thus affect the interpretation. I guess we just have to pray that we infere the proper meaning. I had 8V for the AAMC 3R. Let's see how effective EK 101 is for a non-native speaker
                 

                USFpremed21

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                  I didn't start speaking English until I was 12. When I first preparing for MCAT last November, my very first practice test said I got a 5 on my VR. I did many many practice passages, both from Princeton Review books and Examkrackers 101 passages and I saw my scores improve gradually. I got a 10 on my April MCAT for VR and S on my writing sample. It is easy to get discouraged but I am telling you, practice is key. Keep doing a passage everyday and don't skip doing it. You will see improvements, I promise.
                   

                  lynx

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                    Hey, I was 22 when I started speak English - imagine how difficult it was for me to do verbal and essay! It is possible to improve both scores- but you gotta work really hard. I used combination of advises from EK and Kaplan - I read every morning a serious editorials in the newspaper for ~6 months before the test. During test I took 5 seconds between passages to stare at the ceiling, breath and relax - that allowed me to forget about previous topic and completely dive in the new one. Even though big vocabulary is heplful, you can score without it - the logic is important in verbal section. If you can follow what happened when and what influenced it - it could really help you. As far as vocabulary goes - try to practice to recognize whether the word is positive or negative - a lot of times it's enough to answer questions. GOOD LUCK!!!! :thumbup:
                     

                    Groove

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                      Like what's been said, practice makes perfect. I'm convinced that if you're a reasonably smart person, you can make definite improvements on this section from practice and cultivating your specific strategies. Of course, some people are just naturally gifted in this area for who knows whatever reason (bastards, the lot of them), and I can imagine that English as a second language would have an adverse effect on your score albeit certainly not a detrimental one. Keep up the practice, we're all having just as difficult a time with it. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! <group hug> <get off me!>
                       

                      Dr. N

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                        Yeah, I hear you.
                        I am in similar situation. I was 20 when I learned to speak proper English, and about 22 - when I learned to write and read. And verbal section is the HARDEST!!!! I already did so many practice tests (mostly Kaplan) and cannot get better score than 6 :( . It is scary. My other sections are much better, but because of Verbal I feel that I will have to put away MCAT until next April.




                        Karina said:
                        Hey!
                        Just wanted to vent a little. I don't know if there is anyone out there with this problem...but I didn't speak english until I was about 14-15 years old. My english rocks...I don't have an accent (well...except when I try to say certain words like "verbal", "chocolate" or "oven" :D ) and I was the best writter in my eng. comp. courses. I read my books and grasp the concepts quickly...yet, for some reason..this verbal section is proven impossible. I finnd it impossible to recall specific bits of information, without having the time to actually go back to the specific paragraph and reading it again. Or, sometimes there's a word that I have never seen before..therefore I can't even understand the question, or know whether the answer is correct or not. Or even worse, I have to read a sentence two or three time before I understand what the idea is :(
                        I have done 3 EK verbal practices (from the 101 passages book) so far and the scores have been the same for all three. I go back and check my answers, but what good does it do if every test is different and is not based on my knowledge but on how many stupid mistakes and wrong assumptions I can actually make.

                        I don't know what I'm trying to accomplish by posting this...I just needed to express this before I start getting depressed with all this MCAT stuff again :(

                        Thanks,
                        Karina
                         

                        smc927

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                          English was my first language but about six years ago I was dropped into a foreign country where I remained without returning for two years. I had to learn that language to survive. And frankly, I wanted to master it more than just learn it. I would recommend committing yourself to reading english, out loud, every day for at LEAST 30 minutes a day between now and then. Not just anything, writing with substance. Think about what you are reading as you read it. Doing this involves seeing, speaking, and hearing so it'll improve your comprehension if you concentrate.

                          Other than that, try to do really well on the other sections of the MCAT to make up for the lower verbal score.

                          Just an idea....
                           

                          Karina

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                            Yeah,
                            I have noticed that trying to prepare for the Verbal Section has made me more of a critical thinker...not that I wasn't before...but now, I'm reading my microbiology book for my test next week...and dude! I see I difference in the way I read. I think I'm trying to look for all the practice I can get. I haven't done a practice verbal since wednesday because I have been preparing for this exam...I haven't even been looking at the material for the other sections (since monday! :( !!!!). But after this test is over I will start doing a passage everyday like before...and after reading these responses...I am more confident that my scores WILL be awesome! :)

                            Thank you guys! Much love!
                            Karina
                             
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