Dr.D-man

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2005
476
0
Status
Pre-Medical
For those of you who managed to get a top score, what type of format did you use?

Kaplan is preaches a three-paragraph format. One paragraph designated to each of the assigned tasks. I was thinking of using four paragraphs. To me, it would seem more unified if the format were:

P1) Broad thesis sentence and defining terms
P2) Examples with explanations supporting the thesis
P3) Countering example with thorough explanation
p4) Conclusion- involving specific criteria with which to qualify the thesis

What do you think? What worked well for you?
 

ND2005

1K Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 13, 2005
1,076
1
Atlanta
Status
Pre-Medical
Dr.D-man said:
For those of you who managed to get a top score, what type of format did you use?

Kaplan is preaches a three-paragraph format. One paragraph designated to each of the assigned tasks. I was thinking of using four paragraphs. To me, it would seem more unified if the format were:

P1) Broad thesis sentence and defining terms
P2) Examples with explanations supporting the thesis
P3) Countering example with thorough explanation
p4) Conclusion- involving specific criteria with which to qualify the thesis

What do you think? What worked well for you?
I think it doesn't matter. Provided you aren't getting ones on your essays, any time spent studying for the writing section is time wasted. Barring you getting an L on the WS, no one will care about your writing score. Unless you're a gunner who just wants to brag about getting a meaningless S or T.
 

spospo

Going to extremes
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 13, 2006
763
0
34
The 'kane
Status
Medical Student
when i was studying for the mcat, everything i read said don't even study for WS. so i didn't. i knew what the section was like and i read example questions, but i did nothing other than that. just don't panic when you look at them. answer the questions that they ask of you. write in english. i took mine CBT and it was nice cuz i could correct easily. but the readers understand that you are writing in a short amount of time and could very possibly be writing about something you know little about. my biggest piece of advice--keep cool and don't think too much, just write.
 
About the Ads
OP
D

Dr.D-man

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2005
476
0
Status
Pre-Medical
All I am trying to figure out is how to organize my paper. I won't be spending much time writing, but I need a plan going in. So, my question is simply this- if you did well, what format did you use?

Also, I don't think schools disregard WS scores. It may not carry the same weight as the others, but it shouldn't be neglected. If I were on the adcom, I would certainly look at the applicants writing ability.
 

spospo

Going to extremes
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 13, 2006
763
0
34
The 'kane
Status
Medical Student
i tried to block the test out of my memory, but i think i used the standard 3 paragraph 1-explain statement w/ examples 2-counter examples 3-resolution
the first sentence was kind of introductory and the last sentence was kind of a conclusion. even though i was typing, it was still hard to get this all in even though i was organized. if you are going to try for 4 make sure you can actually complete it. good luck
 

Kuba

10+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2006
3,015
11
34
NYC
Status
Attending Physician
I used Kaplans strategy completely and got an M...... take that for what it's worth
 

DougFlutie

Early Retirement
10+ Year Member
Oct 12, 2005
122
1
The bottom of a box of Flutie Flakes...
Status
DRKUBA said:
I used Kaplans strategy completely and got an M...... take that for what it's worth
I got a T and used all the criteria except the last one, but coincidentally so, since I did not take Kaplan. Never introduce new material in the conclusion. That was taught to me in third grade. Just summarize and explicitly drive home your point.
 
OP
D

Dr.D-man

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2005
476
0
Status
Pre-Medical
DougFlutie said:
I got a T and used all the criteria except the last one
I am not sure what you mean by this, could you explain?

Thanks.
 

EBI831

legend in the making
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 19, 2006
956
4
Chi-town royalty
Status
Medical Student
I got an R. I used Kaplan's strategy but basically just (1) define the statement and give an example (2) counterexample that is related to previous example ie other extreme of it (3) criteria for determining which is right BUT the major thing i did was to start essay with an attention grabber like u r writing a med essay or something or actually an english paper and then in my closer I referred to the opener and expanded on it. but still it was just 3 paragraphs. hope this helps!
 

Mr. Tee

Indentured servant
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2005
4,369
1
Status
MD/PhD Student
I used Kaplan's 3-paragraph strategy and got an S. I guess it's the way you construct your sentences and paragraphs?
 

R.P. McMurphy

Guest
10+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2006
2,958
1
Status
Pre-Medical
The writing section is not completely worthless (otherwise they wouldn't have included two writing sections in the new CBT format)

But, it's still pretty worthless. I would only practice it one or two times to get the main idea of the structure, because that is how you will mess up. Don't waste your time writing tons of practice essays.
 

kevster2001

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2004
1,350
2
Status
Medical Student
I did 3 paragraphs. I firmly believe if you can choose good examples the essays right themselves.
 
About the Ads

Schaden Freud

MiSanthrope II
10+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2006
1,313
6
Status
Medical Student
I used the three paragraph format. Honestly though, don't worry about it!

Dr.D-man said:
For those of you who managed to get a top score, what type of format did you use?

Kaplan is preaches a three-paragraph format. One paragraph designated to each of the assigned tasks. I was thinking of using four paragraphs. To me, it would seem more unified if the format were:

P1) Broad thesis sentence and defining terms
P2) Examples with explanations supporting the thesis
P3) Countering example with thorough explanation
p4) Conclusion- involving specific criteria with which to qualify the thesis

What do you think? What worked well for you?
 

lorelei

SDN Angel
5+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2004
526
3
St. Louis
Status
Medical Student
OP, I'm not sure I understand the question. Kaplan's suggestion is (1) explain the assertion, define terms if needed, ideally give examples; (2) give counterexample; (3) resolve contradiction/explain when assertion applies and when it doesn't.

You're proposing to do exactly that but split (1) into two paragraphs.

That's not even different from the Kaplan strategy, the point of which is to do the tasks in order. They point out that a simple and obvious way to organize it is to devote one paragraph to each task, but the precise number of paragraphs your essay breaks into - whether that's 3, 4, 5, or 6 - isn't very important, as long as it's clear what you're doing.

(I got an R, and I essentially followed the Kaplan strategy though I didn't know it at the time, since the Kaplan strategy is basically just to follow the instructions in order. I have no idea how many paragraphs I used. At least three and fewer than ten, I imagine.)
 

Dr Durden

10+ Year Member
Jun 15, 2006
4,259
1
The Dirty South
Status
Medical Student
While not a Kaplan student, I read over their three paragraph strategy two days before the actual exam and using it loosely as a guide, managed to achieve an S. However while format and grammar are important, I think the more critical half of the battle is the support you marshal to your point of view. I'd go into more detail, but I've helped hijack enough threads lately.

I would strongly suggest looking here though, if you have the time
 
OP
D

Dr.D-man

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2005
476
0
Status
Pre-Medical
lorelei said:
OP, I'm not sure I understand the question. Kaplan's suggestion is (1) explain the assertion, define terms if needed, ideally give examples; (2) give counterexample; (3) resolve contradiction/explain when assertion applies and when it doesn't.

You're proposing to do exactly that but split (1) into two paragraphs.

This is true, but according to kaplan I should not do it.
 

lorelei

SDN Angel
5+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2004
526
3
St. Louis
Status
Medical Student
Dr.D-man said:
This is true, but according to kaplan I should not do it.
Eh. The way I understand the Kaplan strategy (and the way I teach it) is: do the tasks in order and be clear about what you're doing when. The simplest way is to devote one paragraph to each task. Period.

If one of your paragraphs turns into two because it's long and naturally breaks, I just don't see that being a big deal. I would recommend against using FEWER than three paragraphs, but more? Not a problem, as long as your second paragraph makes its purpose clear at the outset.
 

WilliamsF1

10+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2006
8,469
1
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
kevster2001 said:
I did 3 paragraphs. I firmly believe if you can choose good examples the essays right themselves.
I just found this part funny given the subject matter :D

I think I'll write with the Kaplan format in August. I just read their instructions in the practice exam booklet yesterday and it makes enough sense. It all will come down to how strong your examples are imo.
 

jackieMD2007

***MVI***
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2006
2,510
4
The Hospital
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Dr.D-man said:
For those of you who managed to get a top score, what type of format did you use?

Kaplan is preaches a three-paragraph format. One paragraph designated to each of the assigned tasks. I was thinking of using four paragraphs. To me, it would seem more unified if the format were:

P1) Broad thesis sentence and defining terms
P2) Examples with explanations supporting the thesis
P3) Countering example with thorough explanation
p4) Conclusion- involving specific criteria with which to qualify the thesis

What do you think? What worked well for you?
I scored an R. Here is what I did:
P1 PRO example--an example that goes with the statement, used to define terms
P2 CON example--an example that fits the second requirement, when the situation does not apply, with little explanation
P3 PRO v CON explain why I used the examples, when the case is Pro, when the case is Con.

It is basically Kaplan's strategy but I liked to think about it as a Pro V. Con.
Oh! And pick EASY examples. They don't have to be ground-breaking. Use what you know.
 

Mr. Tee

Indentured servant
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2005
4,369
1
Status
MD/PhD Student
jackieMD2007 said:
Oh! And pick EASY examples. They don't have to be ground-breaking. Use what you know.
You can also make up your own fictional examples.
 

DougFlutie

Early Retirement
10+ Year Member
Oct 12, 2005
122
1
The bottom of a box of Flutie Flakes...
Status
Dr.D-man said:
I am not sure what you mean by this, could you explain?

Thanks.
That means I did the following:

P1) Broad thesis sentence and defining terms
P2) Examples with explanations supporting the thesis
P3) Countering example with thorough explanation


But I did not do this:

p4) Conclusion- involving specific criteria with which to qualify the thesis

IMO, you should never add new material to a conclusion. Drive your thesis home by restating it clearly. There should be no ambiguity as to your point when someone is done reading your essay.
 

newbie1kenobi

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
May 12, 2006
189
0
Status
Medical Student
Teerawit said:
You can also make up your own fictional examples.
I also read about this, that it doesn't matter if your examples have any factual validity as long as they support the thesis. I'm glad it worked out as I had no clue what I was writing about.

In short, you can write BS for the writing sample and still do well.
 

WilliamsF1

10+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2006
8,469
1
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
DougFlutie said:
That means I did the following:

P1) Broad thesis sentence and defining terms
P2) Examples with explanations supporting the thesis
P3) Countering example with thorough explanation


But I did not do this:

p4) Conclusion- involving specific criteria with which to qualify the thesis

IMO, you should never add new material to a conclusion. Drive your thesis home by restating it clearly. There should be no ambiguity as to your point when someone is done reading your essay.
Let me see if I got this right. Your last sentence of the essay ended talking about the counter example or did you restate your thesis in that paragraph as the last line?
 

DougFlutie

Early Retirement
10+ Year Member
Oct 12, 2005
122
1
The bottom of a box of Flutie Flakes...
Status
WilliamsF1 said:
Let me see if I got this right. Your last sentence of the essay ended talking about the counter example or did you restate your thesis in that paragraph as the last line?

I restated my thesis, nothing more. I feel it's extremely important to answer the prompt again and remind the reader that you've made your point. So many people attempt convoluted conclusions, it's incredible. You'll stand out just by restating your thesis.
 

4s4

Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2006
168
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I was also wondering--is it better to write more? I know that if you write garbage and are just blabbing on and on, of course that's pointless. But I always feel worried if I only write 1.5 pages or something, so I try to think of other stuff to write about and aim for 1 paragraph/page. But then I usually don't have sufficient time for the last paragraph since my pre-write usually takes me a bit over 5 minutes.

Would sweet and short i.e. even 3-4 sentences for a paragraph actually sufice?
 
About the Ads