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Science Passages: help!

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by aimster, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. aimster

    aimster 2+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2006
    How often do you refer back to the passages to answer bio/orgo questions? Most I tend to answer without looking back. Should I be looking back to the passage more often??? I need to raise this section!
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  3. Swiperfox

    Swiperfox 2+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2007
    science passages are so short, why not look back? There are always those few questions which are simple computation. However, I've noticed (especially in bio) that the key to answering some questions usually lies in a small detail spoken in a passage and not so much on random outside knowledge (it is more like VR than anything else). Make sure to highlight exceptions and assumptions when reading science passages, chances are they will lead you to an answer choice or two.
  4. AnEyeLikeMars

    AnEyeLikeMars Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Carrboro, NC
    I agree. The passage is there for a reason. It's not always necessary (there are some questions that are basically discretes). However, I've found that in PS you need the passage to see how to set up problems...the figures and equations are the most useful parts, though the text will tell you about specific cases and applications, or given variables. And both BS and PS sometimes have passages that describe experiments that you'll need to read closely.

    I think the key is to not read the passage to learn everything written because you won't need all of it, but just to get an idea of where you can find info if you need to go back for a question.
  5. MSTPbound

    MSTPbound student Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2006
    Well I'll tell you personally that during my practice FLs, I got frustrated with having most of the explanations for questions I missed begin with "As stated in the passage..." or "According to the passage..."

    I finally realized that it wasn't content that was limiting my score... it's that I wasn't using the passage info effectively.

    I changed my approach by making my first run through of the passages pretty quick, but just carefully enough to know what was their (also highlighted info that seemed important so I wouldn't have to waste time making written passage maps), but on every question I made CERTAIN that if there was info from the passage I needed to answer correctly, I wasn't going to miss it.

    It certainly made my practice scores skyrocket... I don't know yet about the real thing, of course.
  6. MSTPbound

    MSTPbound student Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2006
    Just another thought about highlighting info... I found, for example, that sometimes there were critical mathematical relationships described in the passages that modified formulas I had memorized, so "working the passage" made it easier to handle inevitable questions about these relationships.
  7. sehnsucht

    sehnsucht 2+ Year Member

    Feb 21, 2007

    I will be taking the CBT-MCAT in May. How will your approach work for the CBT exam? I hear that highlighting is not very practical on the computer because once you leave a page and go back, the program does not remember which parts of a passage you highlighted to remember. Is this true?

    I am planning to do a test drive at the testing center just to get oriented with the conditions for the test so I am not fraught with surprises.
  8. MSTPbound

    MSTPbound student Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2006
    It is true... but once you decide to start working on a passage, I don't think you should move on until you've answered all the associated questions even if you don't happen to answer them in order; so the highlighting serves its purpose in the moment. If you are uncertain about your answer, then you can mark the question and come back later; no, your highlighting will not be remembered, but if you had to come back later, the fresh perspective probably serves you better anyway.:)


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