Nov 15, 2010
16
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I've been taking TPR hyp. verbal passages and have been averaging 8s or 9s (mostly 9s) by taking 10-12 minutes per passage. I took EK fl 1 from the 101 book today and got a 10 (averaged 10-11 mins per passage)
I've been reviewing my answers the way SN2ed said and I realized that 90 % of the time my mistakes are due to the inability to comprehend the passage and miss key points in the main idea. My reading speed is not a problem since I read a passage in 4 minutes.

1) What can I do to improve my comprehension and my timing? Just read more books & magazines such as the economist, scientific american, nature, etc. ? I realized that if I can understand the main idea very well, I will spend less time on the questions because there were a few passages which I finished them in 7 minutes because the main idea was very clear to me.

2) Can I improve my verbal score by the January exam date?
 

750hp

7+ Year Member
May 19, 2009
43
0
Status
if you're scoring a 9 without comprehending the main idea then my ode to you, once you get a grasp on the main idea youll be up in the 13-14 range...

as for your question, you have to read actively and try to connect ideas as you read, i don't know how to explain it more than that
 
OP
R
Nov 15, 2010
16
0
Status
Pre-Medical
if you're scoring a 9 without comprehending the main idea then my ode to you, once you get a grasp on the main idea youll be up in the 13-14 range...

as for your question, you have to read actively and try to connect ideas as you read, i don't know how to explain it more than that
That's exactly how I feel.. the reason I'm in the 9 range is because I am used to taking verbal passages after doing lots of them and know where to look for the answers...I just need some tips on how to improve my comprehension

PS: of course I understand the main idea and get a grasp of it a little bit..otherwise I wouldn't be scoring 9s... I'm just trying to "maximize" my comprehension so I can get to the next level
 
Sep 2, 2010
280
0
Status
Podiatry Student
That's exactly how I feel.. the reason I'm in the 9 range is because I am used to taking verbal passages after doing lots of them and know where to look for the answers...I just need some tips on how to improve my comprehension

PS: of course I understand the main idea and get a grasp of it a little bit..otherwise I wouldn't be scoring 9s... I'm just trying to "maximize" my comprehension so I can get to the next level
Don't really know how long you have been studying for. I started out averaging fives and am now getting 9s and hopefully will go up from there. Once I figured out the whole main idea thing, which I finally got after practicing every day for a month or so, my score drastically increased.

The more you practice the more your brain trains itself to look for key words and such. Also after every paragraph you need to think " why is the author telling me this? What does it have to do with his point?" after you start doing that your score will boost.

Read the EK verbal book, read the guides on this site in the stickies, and practice EVERY day. I do 32 mins every day. This is 4 passages for me because I allow myself 8 mins per passage.

For me personally my next goal is tackling 60 minutes and improving my reading in general.

Good luck!
 

phltz

7+ Year Member
May 13, 2010
889
30
Status
Medical Student
I've been taking TPR hyp. verbal passages and have been averaging 8s or 9s (mostly 9s) by taking 10-12 minutes per passage. I took EK fl 1 from the 101 book today and got a 10 (averaged 10-11 mins per passage)
I've been reviewing my answers the way SN2ed said and I realized that 90 % of the time my mistakes are due to the inability to comprehend the passage and miss key points in the main idea. My reading speed is not a problem since I read a passage in 4 minutes.

1) What can I do to improve my comprehension and my timing? Just read more books & magazines such as the economist, scientific american, nature, etc. ? I realized that if I can understand the main idea very well, I will spend less time on the questions because there were a few passages which I finished them in 7 minutes because the main idea was very clear to me.

2) Can I improve my verbal score by the January exam date?
Improving your verbal score is hard. My advice is not to take the exam in January. If you're applying in this next cycle, go for April or May. That gives you a lot more time.

How much do you read? I'm guessing not much. Mostly, I'd say you should just read as much as you possibly can for the next few months. Harry Potter, Emily Dickinson, Ted Kaczynski, Tom Clancy. Read Dr Seuss. The Economist is fine, yeah, so are some general purpose academic journals. Read a pop-science book by, say, Steven Pinker (who has actually showed up on the MCAT before). Find some stuff that really interests you - you'll read a lot more if you're enjoying it than if it's a grueling chore.

Ideally, try to find some stuff that you can first read and then discuss with other people. Whether that's a journal club in your lab or a group of excitable preteens who are obsessed with Twilight, I don't care.

At your reading speed, you can probably burn through 2 pages of a regular paperback-sized book per minute. If you spend 30 minutes reading every day for the next 6 months, that's 2700 pages. You could read 10 books between now and your MCAT without ever cracking a spine outside of the bathroom.
 
Sep 29, 2009
1,054
25
Cleveland
Status
Medical Student
I actually found that reading for pleasure DID NOT help me improve my verbal score. I was stuck below ten on verbal for a couple months back when I took the MCAT. My problem was two-fold--I started reading at a very young age and always thought of myself as an excellent reader, and my reading habits were not conducive to what I needed to accomplish on the MCAT.

My advice is to read through the passage--don't skim. Write the main idea beside each paragraph. By this I don't mean noting what each paragraph was about, I mean stopping for a second and actually thinking about the main idea. This helps you slow down and actually think about what you just read.

Spending a little extra time reading the passage will help you when you get to the actual question. You won't have to constantly refer back to the passage if you have a solid understanding of what you just read. I found that digging through the passage for answers was actually the most time-consuming part of a VR passage.

tl;dr: quality of comprehension >>> speed of reading. Take it from a reformed speed reader who got a 14 on VR :D
 
OP
R
Nov 15, 2010
16
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I actually found that reading for pleasure DID NOT help me improve my verbal score. I was stuck below ten on verbal for a couple months back when I took the MCAT. My problem was two-fold--I started reading at a very young age and always thought of myself as an excellent reader, and my reading habits were not conducive to what I needed to accomplish on the MCAT.

My advice is to read through the passage--don't skim. Write the main idea beside each paragraph. By this I don't mean noting what each paragraph was about, I mean stopping for a second and actually thinking about the main idea. This helps you slow down and actually think about what you just read.

Spending a little extra time reading the passage will help you when you get to the actual question. You won't have to constantly refer back to the passage if you have a solid understanding of what you just read. I found that digging through the passage for answers was actually the most time-consuming part of a VR passage.

tl;dr: quality of comprehension >>> speed of reading. Take it from a reformed speed reader who got a 14 on VR :D
I probably explained it wrong when referring to reading magazines/books. I'm not actually reading an article and jumping on to the next one right away or reading it for fun. After couple paragraphs (from The Economist), I usually stop and think about the main idea. I'm treating the articles as a verbal passage. So I was just wondering if this is a good way to improve my comprehension. Other than that, I'm already doing 4-5 verbal passages per day (on top of the independent readings).

Btw, I realized that whenever I stop after each paragraph to write couple words about what that paragraph was about, I tend to lose my focus and waste time.
 
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