fun8stuff

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Do you find that you 100% know the answer after reading the question or is it more of a process of elimination and picking the one that sounds the best (or sounds the least wrong)? Do you know you aced it or do you have unsure feelings? Just curious....
 

traumamonkey

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dear fun8stuff
i didn't get a 15 or anything silly like that on the verbal, but i did feel going in that verbal was my strongest.

i would say that in most cases i felt pretty strongly about an answer. occasionally (few questions per exam) i was debating between two questions.

some people advocate reading the questions first, but that didn't really work for me. instead, the few times i tried it i only ended up getting distracted by thinking about the questions. i did find the kaplan strategy of outlining fairly helpful, though i modified it. i basically underlined and circled key concepts and words and maybe wrote something brief in the margin (not as much as kaplan, but enough so that i knew what was there)

people say you can't improve in verbal, but i think you can definitely get more comfortable with the style of reading, which is clearly not like any other reading you do.

as far as how i felt...well, i think i was pretty accurate. the practice tests i felt best on i did the best (13, 14) and the real deal kicked my a$$. that was the first exam i didn't have a lot of extra time to go over any questions i wasn't sure of, and i got a lower score than my good practice tests.

hope that addresses your question...good luck!!
 

canada

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for the real deal, i thought i really did poorly. like 4-6, no higher. but i ended up doing really well, better than i've ever done on the practice questions.

unlike noami, my feelings didn't correlate well with the actual score.

i dunno how to improve, or at least in the few weeks that i did before the mcats but i think it's possible. the only problem is that you'll have to start very much in advace of the real thing, like a year or so or a couple months. i'm sure if i did those kind of verbal tests since university, i'll definitely have done better. however, if that's not possible then just do your best and keep up a good attitude.
 
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W222

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I took to Princeton course and literally did every verbal test they gave. I ended up spending most of my time doing verbal and it really paid off. I went from an 8 on my previous MCAT to a 12 this time around. I really just tried to learn how they try to trick you and pull you in with other answers that sound right, then I chose the most correct answer. I swear that just getting comfortable with the passages is a big help also. Good luck, its a tough section but dont believe people who say you cant improve on a verbal score (tell them to come talk to me). I would say to just practice, practice, and do some more practicing.
 

roja

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After teaching for 5 years for MCAT prep, I can say you can definately improve. And practice is definately key.

Verbal was my best subject, and I did very well. You also need to figure out your basic weakness (where are yoru weakness) so you aren't just repeating the same mistakes over and over.
 

canada

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i also did ALL the practice tests but it didn't help me. i dunno why. i even did more than they assigned but i just couldnt' bump up my score. very disappointing.
 

ZekeMD

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I am horrible at verbal. So I picked the one that sounded least like the others.

500th post! :clap:
 

jhk43

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dont get intimidated by the passage - when i feel the urge to stress over a passage, i just remind myself that some AAMC hillbillies in the midwest are writing these questions. or is it new jersey. whatevers, their job is equivalent to the guillotine man.
 

dantheman

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Read your A#@ off. Thats what I did. I literally spent like an hour a day reading boring MCAT "verbal like" magazine articles and did passages from the princeton review. I would always try to apply the verbal techniques from class to the outside reading. I would try to think about the main point of the article what was the authors tone and crap like that. I read from magazines like the economist :sleep: and I read a lot from a collection of essays by Stephen J Gould.

It certainly helped me I went from an like an 8 or 9 on the 1st practice test to a 13 on the real thing. Once I was able to do a passage with good accuracy I worked on my stamina and slowly built up my reading and mental endurance.

Overall it took most of the summer, but don't let people tell you that you can't improve on verbal. It just takes a lot of work. Be patient and work at it consistently.

Good luck.
DTM
 

IrishOarsman

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W222 said:
I really just tried to learn how they try to trick you
This is the key. I was getting good (10ish) verbal scores while practicing... then I went through each practice test answer set and figured out exactly how the test and I differed in our thinking. That, plus a tendency to do preferentially well in verbal, made it my strongest section.
 

hakksar

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I did well on Verbal (12) and what I did was looked for ways to confirm that an answer was wrong to get it down to 2 and then reread the areas that contained info on the last 2 to pick the right one. Also, a big key was triaging the passages at the beginning and spending more time on easier passages and leaving the hardest passages for the end so that if I ran out of time and had to guess I wasn't blowing easy questions.
 

WatchingWaiting

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hakksar said:
I did well on Verbal (12) and what I did was looked for ways to confirm that an answer was wrong to get it down to 2 and then reread the areas that contained info on the last 2 to pick the right one. Also, a big key was triaging the passages at the beginning and spending more time on easier passages and leaving the hardest passages for the end so that if I ran out of time and had to guess I wasn't blowing easy questions.
Hmmm... I had a similar score on the verbal, but I used almost the opposite of that strategy. I went through the test focused, in order, and spent a roughly equal amount of time on each passage (though not on each question, of course). I found the easy passages (social sciences for me) generally didn't require much time at all, whereas the artsy/humanities type passages I would often have to read through twice to really figure out the tone and thesis.

As to the op's question, for most questions (especially on science and social science) I felt pretty confident and could figure out which was right without POE. For probably a quarter of the questions, I did have to use POE though. Also, I think everyone ends up with at least five or six questions that they narrowed down to 2 and just said, "I just can't know for sure, but this one feels vaguely better" and moved on (there was this Confucious passage on one of the aamc sample tests that I will probably remember for the rest of my life because I felt lost on almost every question about it).
 

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I am a fast reader, so I would read through the passage first, then answer each question and check back in the passage to make sure my answer was correct. I also marked all over the passages, underlining key sentences and circling key words. This helped me whenever I looked back at the passage to confirm my answers. I would skip questions that were really hard or that I was brain-farting on, and went back to them at the end. But maybe my strategy only works for fast readers... I dunno.
 

TexasRose

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This is going to sound stupid, but it works for me. (14)

1- be open to the passages you are reading. No matter how lame or strange they might be. you need to be able to learn something from them. this will help you glean the info you need and keep the mental blocks to a minimum. too many people waste energy and time being annoyed with the passages, it's counter productive.

2- Read journals and articles from high quality magazines and newspapers. The better you get at reading that certain style of overly complex writing, the easier it will become.

3-the usual, practice, practice, practice. If you are making errors, try to find out why and really understand what the questions are looking for.

good luck!
 

Kimmer

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TexasRose said:
This is going to sound stupid, but it works for me. (14)

1- be open to the passages you are reading. No matter how lame or strange they might be. you need to be able to learn something from them. this will help you glean the info you need and keep the mental blocks to a minimum.
good luck!
I had to quote this because I couldn't think of a way to describe this. Pretend to yourself that you are reading the best thing you have ever read and you will absorb the information. You can't fight the words and comprehend them at the same time. I got a 12 and I didn't have a real technique other than conciously sustaining my interest and energy. My only trick was to look for a sanctimonious tone in some of the answers. Again I am bad at describing things, but I swear some of the correct answers seem to just radiate "smugness".
This is really unhelpful, sorry! Good luck though.
 

bobbo

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I disagree with everyone who says read the passages like you're interested in them...I think that if you do that you'll be thinking too much and may draw you're own conclusions about the topic - which is bad, since you're only interested in what the author thinks.

I took Kaplan and wasn't a big fan of a lot of their techniques, but I do think their VR strategies were on - read so you know where the info you'll need is, don't worry about digesting it. When you read the questions, you'll be able to refer back to exactly where that info is. Also remember that you shouldn't add any outside knowledge, everything you need to answer the question is in the passage...

On the actual MCAT I felt very confident after that section and I ended up doing better than any of my practices.
 

TexasRose

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bobbo said:
I disagree with everyone who says read the passages like you're interested in them...I think that if you do that you'll be thinking too much and may draw you're own conclusions about the topic - which is bad, since you're only interested in what the author thinks.

I took Kaplan and wasn't a big fan of a lot of their techniques, but I do think their VR strategies were on - read so you know where the info you'll need is, don't worry about digesting it. When you read the questions, you'll be able to refer back to exactly where that info is. Also remember that you shouldn't add any outside knowledge, everything you need to answer the question is in the passage...

On the actual MCAT I felt very confident after that section and I ended up doing better than any of my practices.
I think you misunderstood me. I was talking about attitude, not overthinking or adding outside info. A lot of people have really negative attitudes towards the VS and I think it's counter productive.
 
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