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Running low on time

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by rhettoric, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. rhettoric

    rhettoric 2+ Year Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    Heya Folks,

    Hope all of your last minute studying is going well!

    So, I've got a problem and I'm hoping you can help out.

    I've been averaging about 11.5 on PS, 13 on Verbal and 11 on BS.

    I'm pretty happy with these scores (if I get a 35 in April, I'll be happy as a clam), but I know I can be getting better scores, and obviously would like to score as high as possible in April to make sure I hit my goal.

    So here's the problem. I run out of time! It's most common in PS but it's even happened a few times in BS. I'll get caught up in a particularly obtuse passage or some funky calculation and before I know it I've lost ten minutes. It was so bad in my last FL I had to guess on the last 8 questions!

    So, I'm looking for some tips. I thought I was doing okay on the calculations but sometimes it just takes me a while to get the math working right. None of them are problems I can't do, it's just that I get behind on time. Should I just skip them all and come back when I finish the other problems? Should I set a time limit for each passage?

    thanks in advance!
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  3. killinsound

    killinsound Physician 10+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    jesus... a 13 on verbal.

    anyways, for PS, I would just skim the passage to get the gist of what's going on, that way when they ask you about it you can go back and quickly get the info you need to. BS seems like you can't do that as much because they're getting alot more passage based.

    with calculations, there are only a couple every PS section so i find it weird that you are getting hung up that much. for most things you can just approximate quickly and just plug and chug.

    i want your vr score.
  4. msa786

    msa786 5+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2006
    what are your tips for verbal?
  5. HristosKaran

    HristosKaran Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    I second that, my scores in verbal have been 5, 8, 6, and 5 :( ...NEED HELP!!
  6. estairella

    estairella Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 7, 2006
    For BS, guess and move on. Usually it's not worth getting hung over 2-3 difficult questions.

    For PS, if it's something that seems like it might be a complicated calculation, look at the answers first. See which answers make or do not make sense (based on things like factors, scale, units, inappropriate use of squares, pi, etc.). Better yet, use the units (if there are units) to see what equation you should be
  7. Funky

    Funky This space is for sale 10+ Year Member

    Feb 15, 2006
    In my PS there wasnt much in terms of computation. The majority of the questions dealt with concepts. Don't get hung up on one question because they're all worth the same in the end.
  8. rhettoric

    rhettoric 2+ Year Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    Hey Folks,

    sorry about taking a few days to respond. I've been so focussed on my last minute studying and test-taking that I really haven't had much time for sleep much less SDN :(

    First, thanks for all the advice on PS. I've started taking the *best guess and move on philosophy* and since I'm actually finishing now, my percentages are slightly better, so I think that's the way to go.

    As for verbal, it was my worst section when I first started studying (last summer). Basically I decided that since it was my worst section, I was going to put the most time possible into improving it. Since I've started studying I've taken more than 30 verbal reasoning tests. My scores might be slightly skewed in that Kaplan does repeat some passages, but I think I've found a technique that gives good results and I'm sticking to it.

    First of all, I found the Kaplan method of mapping really slowed me down. Without a doubt, rapid, focussed, and active reading is the key to scoring well on verbal. The idea is to get a "general" sense of what the author is trying to say and not get caught up on details. However, this does *not* mean you should skim! This is a very important point.

    If there was one metric that I would correlate with my verbal scores it would be focus. If I find my thoughts drifting while reading a passage I actively fight to stay focussed and get my mind right. EK had a good tip for this. Sit up straight, feet together and leaning forward into the screen. Take some deep breaths. It's important that you are actively engaged in the task or else you're sabotaging yourself. The CBTs allow you to highlight portions of the passage. Do not neglect this tool!

    I've cultivated a technique, but verbal is a very difficult section. I got a 9 on a FL verbal section a few weeks ago (I knew it would be bad, I had a lot of trouble keeping focussed that session), so it's not like I'm perfect.

    I wish I had some better tips, but verbal is very hard! It still gives me a run for my money every time I take a test, but if you're in the right mental zone and move at an active pace, you should be able to rip through the questions pretty fast.

    I never leave an answer blank. Instead, if a question really gives me trouble I make my best guess and move on. I think this is key because you can't let a single question overwhelm you. You have 39 other questions and you need to get them answered too! Also, focussing on one question affects your momentum, and it's important to move at a good active clip so your mind stays engaged and agile.

    I usually have about 8 minutes left over after my first run through. This gives me time to go back to the real knuckle-busters, and try to find better textual evidence for them. I don't mind squandering time on these at this point because I know that I've answered everything else.

    Just so you know I find verbal the most arduous portion of the test. I'm always exhausted after I finish it!
  9. dochoov

    dochoov Intercalating Death Disk 2+ Year Member

    Jan 24, 2007
    Wow. I think that's the best and most realistic verbal advice I've ever heard. Thank you.

    For the PS section, I always score high (12-14) but end it feeling like there were about 10 questions that I guessed on. I always check the ones I'm not sure about so if I have time at the end of the test, I come back to those. When the AAMC tests are finished it I always have a good percentage of guessed questions that I got correct. So I think your newly adopted strategy of "best guess and move on," is the best way to go.
  10. rhettoric

    rhettoric 2+ Year Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    ha, well thanks. Let's see if it actually works on test day!

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