shuzee

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Can people please post their personal verbal strategies that have worked great for them??
I am strugglng with 8-9s on the thing and desparately need to increase my score. I'm thinking a bit of change is strategy would help. I am using the EK method at the moment. THANKS!
 
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shuzee

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shuzee said:
Can people please post their personal verbal strategies that have worked great for them??
I am strugglng with 8-9s on the thing and desparately need to increase my score. I'm thinking a bit of change is strategy would help. I am using the EK method at the moment. THANKS!
NO ONE HAS ANY PERSONAL VERBAL STRATEGIES TO SHARE???
I see soooooo many people getting 10s and 11s on verbal in this forum at the moment. Is it just inherent talent that i just dont have??!
 

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Sometimes if you underline, it helps you remember the main point of the passage. And process of elimination is also helpful when considering the answer choices. I do a quick slash or two. And speed-reading is good, but don't let it make you lose your focus on the main point of the passage.
 

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I am going to post what I sent an enquirer in a PM. I am retaking the MCAT for the THIRD AND LAST time this April, simply because of verbal. Post below:

Analyzing the verbal is proper extraction of information to answer the questions. Naturally I am a fast reader, I mean fast; but it happens that my brain is more hardwired to scientific materials than boring prose. I decided to employ what I learnt in my intro to philosophy class, and in my practices so far I haven't made less than a 9 (only once), max is 12. I also work with LSAT passages and out of the 26-28 questions per reading comprehension section, I have missed around 6 to 2 questions on the section. What has helped me so far has been:

1). Read the passage trying to know the general issue at hand.

2). When you read, read carefully. I realized I wasn't reading carefully the last two times I have taken the MCAT, apparently because of my disregard for anything non-science or non-philosophical. I confirmed this when the hardest passage on my form as generally conceded was what I found the easiest. Why? I took time to actually read it (about 4 mins), and when I read a question, I knew exactly where the answer was in the passage if I had to go back. Sometimes I didn't have to go back.

3). Consciously trying to find the most logical answer based on general information in the passage.

4). When you read, purposely try to identify the conclusions made by the author, and which premises you think, or the author thinks supports the conclusion.

5). It is very likely that if u do this when u read, you will spend less time on the questions. And don't waste time on difficult questions. The answer to another question in the passage could help u out on the presumably difficult question you passed.
 

HistoRocks

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researchprof said:
2). When you read, read carefully. I realized I wasn't reading carefully the last two times I have taken the MCAT, apparently because of my disregard for anything non-science or non-philosophical. I confirmed this when the hardest passage on my form as generally conceded was what I found the easiest. Why? I took time to actually read it (about 4 mins), and when I read a question, I knew exactly where the answer was in the passage if I had to go back. Sometimes I didn't have to go back.

That is so true. I think its where a lot of ppl go wrong on verbal. We are accustomed to reading what we want to read. Obviously, your brain processes the info a lot faster when what you're reading is interesting as opposed to dull. You'll also remember a lot more. Of course, you're also capable of just as efficiently processing monotonous info. It just takes getting used to. An example here would be lab instructions. After reading a lab, can you outline, in sufficient detail, a comprehensive procedure for carrying out the experiment?
 

medicomel

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Also, make sure the careful reading applies to the question stems. So often, I've screwed up the answer because I quickly glossed over the question. Case in point: I misread "finite" for "infinite" on a science verbal passage and lost a point.
 

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Hey shuzee,

Try this:

1) Go to the local public library and get MCAT prep books for verbal (Free)
2) on April 1st (assuming you are writing the Aug. MCAT) start doing 1 passage everynight (that means everynight, even when you are dead tired). Take your time, read it and figure it out. When you get a question wrong try to UNDERSTAND why the answer is the way it is. Do not argue the answer, try to understand what it is.
3) May 1st start doing 2 passages a night in the same time it took you to do the 1 passage in April. By this time you should better understand why the answers are what they are. Also you will need to get other Verbal books as you will start to run out of passages.
4) June 1st start doing the number of passages that are on the real MCAT every other night. Yes it sounds like a lot but if you want to score high you have to put in the time.
5) August 1st. Every second day do a passage...by this time you should be getting most of them right and further work would be better spent on physics/chem/bio.

Best of Luck and hope it helps,

By the way: My score on verbal was in the 97-99 percentile range and I did not use a Prep Course to study for it but just their material from the local public library and my method I just wrote out. I also thought for a Prep Course later on and found one thing really annoying: DO NOT ARGUE ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK THE ANSWER SHOULD BE. Try to understand, that is the only way you will score higher.
 

MeowMix

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I got a 12 on VR and taught a fair number of MCAT students who scored well on VR.

My biggest recommendation is to stick with a single technique. Do not go jumping back and forth. You need to practice and practice to improve, instead of switching around when your VR scores are not what you want. You want to make minute adjustments in the technique, instead of switching horses entirely a few weeks before the MCAT.

People will give you all kinds of strange and interesting VR advice based on what worked for them. Those techniques may or may not work for you. You could spend a few years figuring out what works best for you, or you can use a prep company's technique that has taken a few years to develop, and I personally think that the EK technique is the best.

We need to know on which tests you are scoring those 8s and 9s (by the way, a 9 is a respectable score and only slightly, not desperately, in need of improvement). AAMC or something else? Forget this comparison of your scores to others'. Look at your own scores and improvement.

We also need to know what you have been doing. How much practice? Which exercises in the EK VR book have you done? Have you mastered the question stem practice? What goes wrong while you are doing VR passages? Misreading questions? Not understanding vocabulary? Running out of time?

You have plenty of time to improve your VR scores, but the improvement comes with practice, self-analysis, and confidence rather than a magic technique that will crank up your scores.
 

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Clin_Epi said:
Hey shuzee,

Try this:

1) Go to the local public library and get MCAT prep books for verbal (Free)
2) on April 1st (assuming you are writing the Aug. MCAT) start doing 1 passage everynight (that means everynight, even when you are dead tired). Take your time, read it and figure it out. When you get a question wrong try to UNDERSTAND why the answer is the way it is. Do not argue the answer, try to understand what it is.
3) May 1st start doing 2 passages a night in the same time it took you to do the 1 passage in April. By this time you should better understand why the answers are what they are. Also you will need to get other Verbal books as you will start to run out of passages.
4) June 1st start doing the number of passages that are on the real MCAT every other night. Yes it sounds like a lot but if you want to score high you have to put in the time.
5) August 1st. Every second day do a passage...by this time you should be getting most of them right and further work would be better spent on physics/chem/bio.

Best of Luck and hope it helps,

By the way: My score on verbal was in the 97-99 percentile range and I did not use a Prep Course to study for it but just their material from the local public library and my method I just wrote out. I also thought for a Prep Course later on and found one thing really annoying: DO NOT ARGUE ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK THE ANSWER SHOULD BE. Try to understand, that is the only way you will score higher.
This sounds like the strategy I'm using right now actually, except I'll be sitting for the April exams so there's about 50-some days left with which to do this...so my break off points will probably be march 1st(2-4 passages), and march 25th(full tests) or so

In addition, to me, EK's method is the most "down to earth" --> just read it and do it, take a 5 second brain break before every passage, and use the main idea to answer the questions --> almost intuitive, but clearer when written out =)
 

medicomel

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Turkeyman said:
This sounds like the strategy I'm using right now actually, except I'll be sitting for the April exams so there's about 50-some days left with which to do this...so my break off points will probably be march 1st(2-4 passages), and march 25th(full tests) or so

In addition, to me, EK's method is the most "down to earth" --> just read it and do it, take a 5 second brain break before every passage, and use the main idea to answer the questions --> almost intuitive, but clearer when written out =)
i wholeheartedly agree! :thumbup:
if you do it right, you're not wasting time flipping back. but to each his own.
 

myodana

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i got an 11. my strategy:
- read quickly and carefully, and ANNOTATE like crazy. once you've done enough passages, you can really start to tell what the key points in each passage are, and what they might very well choose to ask a question on. (i.e. strong contrasts, opinions, etc.) whenever you see one of those, underline, circle, draw a box around it, whatever, so that you can refer back to it quickly and not have to search through the text to find details.
- read the questions extremely carefully. i also annotated the questions, circling or underlining words like NOT, DISPROVES, DISAGREES, AGREES, SUPPORTS, or confusing wordings... "which of the following DISAGREES with blah blah blah..." etc.
- close your eyes and take a deep breath between each passage. (and hope someone isn't playing the flute right outside your testing site like they did when i took it).
- practice.
- practice.
- practice a lot.
- practice doing entire verbal sections at once.
- practice doing the entire verbal section after the entire physics section.

good luck! and have fun.
 

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shuzee said:
Can people please post their personal verbal strategies that have worked great for them??
I am strugglng with 8-9s on the thing and desparately need to increase my score. I'm thinking a bit of change is strategy would help. I am using the EK method at the moment. THANKS!
It can be frustrating to try and actually improve on verbal. You talk to people and everyone has a personal method that works for them...ranging from the helpful to the bizzare (Horny goat weed and tequila shots :eek: !!!). I personally find that it's actually helpful if you write down the main idea of each paragraph at the end of each paragraph. It is a little time-consuming but I found that it helps me retain info (for a short time). It also helps me to zero in on the main idea and then easily look back for the supporting evidence. My advice would be to you to try out these different strategies that these folks here are offering on a mock verbal exams and see which one works for you.
 

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researchprof said:
When you read, read carefully. I realized I wasn't reading carefully the last two times I have taken the MCAT, apparently because of my disregard for anything non-science or non-philosophical.
Why do you think humanities majors on avg do better on the MCAT than science majors?

The biggest mistake ppl make regarding the VR section is mistaking it for Reading Comprehension. Reading comp deals with WHAT the author is saying and all you have to do is find that part in the passage. VR deals with WHY the author is saying whatever it is that he's saying.

This problem is further compounded by the way ppl read. I teach the MCAT for Kaplan and noticed that many students just read, instead of reading ACTIVELY (even the science passages). There's a huge difference. Actice reading is constant analysis - WHY is the author saying this? WHAT evidence does he have? WHERE could he be going with this?
They just read it like they are reading for fun.

The first VR session I teach for all classes, I bring in a stack of my favorite magazines - economist, time, newsweek, scientific american, popular science and have students analyse their reading styles. Most were amazed at how little they retained after they were done with an article.
That was our starting point. Figuring out the mistakes in reading. After that, I make them read articles everyday atleast for an hour, dense ones, both science and non-science, ACTIVELY. Constantly analysing the author's approach\intent dynamically increased their VR scores.

That would be my advice to you. Well, since the april MCAT is only 8 weeks away, I don't know how much this will help since this takes a little longer to master. But you could definitely try. Start reading actively, and see if it makes a difference. Also, start annotating. When analysing, your brain automatically makes connections - WRITE THEM DOWN!!

Good Luck,
KnightInBlue

P.S. Oh yeah, PRACTICE YOUR ASS OFF!! Get your hands on as many passages as possible and start plowing thru them.
 

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I took a crap right before the verbal section, really opened up the mind. My verbal score rose from seven to ten, from the diagnostic to the first full length.
 

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Perhaps I've missed the point of the EK Verbal Strategy, but it seems that when I've used the EK strategy, I've not used the information contained in the passage ENOUGH. But, it's a trade off. I just got a 10 on EK Verbal 7, and I felt SO much more comfortable reading the first and last passages for the main idea/opinion of the author. Then, very quickly skimming the content to get a feel for the layout. After viewing the question sets (in order), I had time to go back, and find the answer in the passage.

EK seems to promote the assumption that often the information is NOT in the passage. But, my experiences have been different. Then again, I have not gotten beyond a 10 so far (I've gotten 8's-10's using the EK method, but it never felt too good), so maybe this "revised" strategy is just for me. But, I don't seem to be able to retain well enough when 'actively' reading the passage, and then limiting time spent on going back. And I really have tried to read actively, and I truly enjoy reading. It's not a chore to me. But, for MCAT verbal, it seems that most of the info IS in the passages.

I received a 10 on the real deal (9 years ago), and I remember underlining etc. and skimming the bulk of the passage, then going back for details when asked about them. But, this is contrary to what EK advocates.
 

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Dude, if you really earned a 10 on a EK verbal 101 test you are bound to earn a 12-15 in verbal. There are many people that never earn higher than an 8 on EK verbal 101 and score 10-11 on the real deal.

cfdavid said:
Perhaps I've missed the point of the EK Verbal Strategy, but it seems that when I've used the EK strategy, I've not used the information contained in the passage ENOUGH. But, it's a trade off. I just got a 10 on EK Verbal 7, and I felt SO much more comfortable reading the first and last passages for the main idea/opinion of the author. Then, very quickly skimming the content to get a feel for the layout. After viewing the question sets (in order), I had time to go back, and find the answer in the passage.

EK seems to promote the assumption that often the information is NOT in the passage. But, my experiences have been different. Then again, I have not gotten beyond a 10 so far (I've gotten 8's-10's using the EK method, but it never felt too good), so maybe this "revised" strategy is just for me. But, I don't seem to be able to retain well enough when 'actively' reading the passage, and then limiting time spent on going back. And I really have tried to read actively, and I truly enjoy reading. It's not a chore to me. But, for MCAT verbal, it seems that most of the info IS in the passages.

I received a 10 on the real deal (9 years ago), and I remember underlining etc. and skimming the bulk of the passage, then going back for details when asked about them. But, this is contrary to what EK advocates.
 

cfdavid

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marglinw said:
Dude, if you really earned a 10 on a EK verbal 101 test you are bound to earn a 12-15 in verbal. There are many people that never earn higher than an 8 on EK verbal 101 and score 10-11 on the real deal.
I hope you're right. I scored an 8, 10, and 11 on AAMC exams. I was sure that I "rocked" the test that I got an 8 on. WTF! The problem is that I still don't really have a method. But, I'm leaning against the EK strategy. Regardless, I take the test in less than 8 weeks, so I really need to settle on one method and stick to it.
Good luck everyone.
 

myodana

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cfdavid said:
I hope you're right. I scored an 8, 10, and 11 on AAMC exams. I was sure that I "rocked" the test that I got an 8 on. WTF! The problem is that I still don't really have a method. But, I'm leaning against the EK strategy. Regardless, I take the test in less than 8 weeks, so I really need to settle on one method and stick to it.
Good luck everyone.
i'm pretty sure i got a 10 on every practice AAMC exam. and i got an 11 on the real thing. no complaints here...
 

cfdavid

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myodana said:
i'm pretty sure i got a 10 on every practice AAMC exam. and i got an 11 on the real thing. no complaints here...
What "method" did you employ?