tennisball80

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Hello,

I'm a high school senior and planning to get an early start on the MCAT verbal section. Since English is my second language, being successful on the Verbal section will be a though road to go. I will never ever give up until Burgerking does not produce my favorite food, double whopper anymore.

What are the things I can read for now to prepare for the MCAT Verbal section ?

Thanks for any comments in advance. :thumbup:
 

CScull

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Sorry i have no clue, but whats your first language?
 

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Go procure EK's 40 (or was it 10? regardless) full length verbals. That's what I used and scored high. In my opinion, simply reading complex journals is not too helpful without MCAT style questions to answer subsequently; hopefully for obvious reasons (critical reading does not necessarily guarantee you a 15; answering questions correctly does).
 

dienekes88

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Seriously? No one has told you to relax yet? Alright, it's up to me. Relax.

If you like reading (always a good thing!), then the economist, NYTimes, Wall Street Journal... are all good. Difficult journals like NEJM, Science, Nature... sure. However, with a lot of this stuff, you have to be able to read for content without reading the details. Don't try to remember the bit about the loss of function mutation in the rapidly acting delayed rectifier potassium channel and its role in Long QT syndrome... just pick up that it's a mutation.

The key for the MCAT is to be able to read quickly and pick up on the general idea... and know where the details are. In a reading passage, there are tons of details with only 4-7 questions. That means a lot of the stuff in the passage is useless.
 

Datdoctor

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You still have atleast 3 years before you even take the MCAT...relax. You might not even want to do medical school at that point.
 

MilkmanAl

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I'll second the "relax" sentiment and add that I don't think reading just for reading's sake is very useful where the MCAT is concerned. If you think it's going to be a problem, I'd sign up for a few literature courses in college where you'll be forced to analyze passages and interpret the information presented in them. The verbal section is all about reading comprehension, and practice makes perfect.
 

Law2Doc

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I'll second the "relax" sentiment and add that I don't think reading just for reading's sake is very useful where the MCAT is concerned. If you think it's going to be a problem, I'd sign up for a few literature courses in college where you'll be forced to analyze passages and interpret the information presented in them. The verbal section is all about reading comprehension, and practice makes perfect.
Totally disagree. Anecdotally the folks who were avid readers or folks coming from humanities and social science background which forced students to read more tended to have an advantage in this section. While I think it's horribly premature to start looking at EK or other MCAT specific materials at the high school level, it is never a bad idea to improve your reading skills and comprehension by reading more. This is doubly so for folks for whom english is not their first language, and even more so for such persons who plan to major in the sciences and thus won't have the extensive reading and writing exposure during their college curriculum. So I'd say doing reading for reading's sake is a GREAT idea for the OP, and I think the economist is as good as any place to start. Any literary/philosophical or other similar publication which is not amazingly reader friendly to parse out will do. So the economist is good, parts of the Wall Street Journal would be good, something trite like People magazine would not be good.
 

MilkmanAl

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Anecdotally the folks who were avid readers or folks coming from humanities and social science background which forced students to read more tended to have an advantage in this section.
That's what I was trying to get at. If you can't take humanities courses, I guess reading something challenging would be wise, but it still seems to me like learning reading comprehension in a structured environment would be far more useful than just reading stuff, especially if English isn't your first language. If you have someone - i.e., a professor - leading a discussion about what you've read, you can be sure you're getting the proper information and meaning out of the text.
 

Law2Doc

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but it still seems to me like learning reading comprehension in a structured environment would be far more useful than just reading stuff, especially if English isn't your first language.
Well, I get your point but would suggest that reading for reading's sake -- quantity over quality -- would actually be more helpful for someone than maybe taking a couple of semesters of freshman english. I don't recall any college courses that were well attuned to the verbal section of the MCAT. But I do suspect that reading something daily over several years makes you a better reader -- and that will be huge on the verbal section. So yeah, read for reading's sake. Don't hope that you can find some prof who structures discussions in a way that will help the verbal section. because nobody discusses literature paragraph by paragraph, and that is the kind of analysis that would really make you better on the verbal section. And that is something you need to do on your own regardless of what courses you take.
 

Terpskins99

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You still have atleast 3 years before you even take the MCAT...relax. You might not even want to do medical school at that point.
Except that the GRE, GMAT and LSAT also include verbal reasoning sections. Granted, not everyone is necessarily interested in obtaining a medical/graduate/mba/law degree... but I don't think its too unreasonable to prepare as if you'll be pursuing one of those in the near future.

I took both the MCAT and the LSAT, and the verbal reasoning/reading comprehension sections were identical in format (though I hear the MCAT has since reduced the total number of passages you are required to go through per section). Most passages had a theme that was either: technical/scientific (e.g. water on Mars), political opinion (e.g. zoning laws in certain districts) or "artsy fartsy" (e.g. interpretation of a painting/sculpture/poetry). The passage selection is almost always a chopped out section of a larger article, and it is your job to figure out the context from which the information within the article was taken.

I think the best preparation for them is to get used to reading/analyzing similar passages in the same fashion. Every now and then, borrow magazines like The New Yorker/Economist/Harpers or a collection of short stories (e.g. Norton's anthology) and practice reading the articles by starting somewhere in the middle. See if you can understand the gist of the article and especially the tone of the writer. What does the writer seem to be in favor of? Against? Then read the article from beginning to end to see how close you were and what made you believe otherwise.
 

tennisball80

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Thank you for spending some time writing down advises for me. :)

I got MCAT verbal strategy and 101 passages from examkrackers.

Is it best to start now to read for MCAT ?
 

Law2Doc

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Thank you for spending some time writing down advises for me. :)

I got MCAT verbal strategy and 101 passages from examkrackers.

Is it best to start now to read for MCAT ?
While in high school it is very premature to be doing anything MCAT specific.
 
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