Dec 2, 2012
97
12
Status
Pre-Medical
My reading speed and comprehension are good, but I have a tough time finding exact words or phrases to which a question stem refers.

Does anyone have any tips for scanning on the computer? It takes game a very long time to do this, so "detail questions" take much longer for me than general logic etc.

Any tips or suggestions?

Thanks!
 

texan2414

5+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2013
1,200
733
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Try to make a habit of mental mapping.
As soon as I am finished reading a passage, I glance once more at the overall passage and the paragraphs as well as my highlights. This tunes me not only to the overall purpose of the passage but also reminds me mentally where specific stuff is discussed, etc.

Also, try to force yourself to use main idea to answer detailed questions - it really helps to do so.
 
OP
R
Dec 2, 2012
97
12
Status
Pre-Medical
Try to make a habit of mental mapping.
As soon as I am finished reading a passage, I glance once more at the overall passage and the paragraphs as well as my highlights. This tunes me not only to the overall purpose of the passage but also reminds me mentally where specific stuff is discussed, etc.

Also, try to force yourself to use main idea to answer detailed questions - it really helps to do so.
I don't like the idea of intentional mental mapping. I know a lot of the prep courses talk about all sorts of techniques about mapping, but I've found that when I don't read for lack of a better phrase "the way I naturally read," my score suffers. The AAMC could ask so many different questions from one passage (they often do this). I find that it's hard to tell which interesting phrase they will use, and remembering all the interesting points is a poor use of short term memory. I also don't like reading the questions first because then I become to focused on detail.

It's not that I can't remember an approximate location of a word or phrase, it's that MCAT passages are intentionally dense. The passages may have been articles had several more paragraphs, but the AAMC edited them to fit on one page with 4-6 paragraphs. As a result of this editing, the passages are particularly dense, so I find that my eye starts skipping around as I scan for the specific word or phrases.

I don't have this issue when I read actual articles from journals and new papers. I have this issue when scanning material where every line is significant.

Does anyone have any suggestions that help them keeps their eyes on pace as they scan?
 

texan2414

5+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2013
1,200
733
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
The technique of mental mapping is not supposed to be intentional at all. I agree with you that there is no technical substitute for natural reading. But you should be actively aware of the paragraph above your current one so that you're familiar with the flow of the argument, etc. And taking a couple seconds to do it all over for the passage as a whole helps me a lot.

I think MCAT has a healthy balance of dense vs. straightforward passages. If it is somewhat skewed, it is almost always reflected in the scaled scores. However, I do agree that straightforward passages are probably better to start VR section out with.

With regards to specific question stems that are really detailed, unfortunately you have no choice BUT to go back and scan for the exact item being discussed.

Also, be mindful that there are several instances when the answer choice is a restatement of a passage claim. Whenever you come across an answer choice that looks eerily similar to what you read, don't just automatically select it but go back to the passage and reorient yourself with the context they pulled it from and then evaluate if the restatement of the claim is accurate or inaccurate (there are several instances where an answer choice is erroneous because of use of a faulty single word).

How are your VR scores btw?
 
OP
R
Dec 2, 2012
97
12
Status
Pre-Medical
(2) With regards to specific question stems that are really detailed, unfortunately you have no choice BUT to go back and scan for the exact item being discussed.

(1) How are your VR scores btw?
I edited your response.

(1) 10.7

(2) I understand all the other general test taking suggestions. I'm saying that when I go back I have trouble scanning. My eyes don't hold the placement well, and it takes me longer than my general reasoning does.

I was thinking of maybe holding a paper up to the screen or using the end of a pen or pencil.

Does anyone have any scanning issues?
 

texan2414

5+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2013
1,200
733
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I edited your response.

(1) 10.7

(2) I understand all the other general test taking suggestions. I'm saying that when I go back I have trouble scanning. My eyes don't hold the placement well, and it takes me longer than my general reasoning does.

I was thinking of maybe holding a paper up to the screen or using the end of a pen or pencil.

Does anyone have any scanning issues?
That might work lol. Are you taking your exams on an overly large font browser or smaller than normal font?
 
OP
R
Dec 2, 2012
97
12
Status
Pre-Medical
That might work lol. Are you taking your exams on an overly large font browser or smaller than normal font?
I've been taking the AAMC e-MCAT tests on an iMac via the Safari browser. I never adjusted the font size or anything like that. Is such a thing an option on the actual exam?
 

texan2414

5+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2013
1,200
733
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I've been taking the AAMC e-MCAT tests on an iMac via the Safari browser. I never adjusted the font size or anything like that. Is such a thing an option on the actual exam?
No, but on the actual exam, the font is slightly bigger than normal, so I adjust my zoom to 110%.
 

texan2414

5+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2013
1,200
733
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Wow! That would actually be huge help!

Is actual exam font a 10% increase?
It just felt bigger to me when I took it last year.
Also, if you take your exams on full screen mode (F11) - that also simulates how you would see the exam o ntest day.