kryptonian

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I have been struggling a lot with the verbal on my AAMC full-lengths. I got an 8 on my first FL (AAMC 5), 7 on my second FL (AAMC 4), and 6 on my third FL (AAMC7). The trend is going down !!! I hopelessly do not know what else to do. I tried all strategies posted on the sticky for Verbal but none works. There are 2 problems happening with me. The first is, if I am exhausted by the PS section, then I tend to not understand the passages in VR. The second is, if I loosen on PS to save energy for VR, then I can read fast and understand the passage content but pick wrong answers. Sometimes I pick wrong answers because of incomplete comprehension of the passage (i.e. missing a few details) and sometimes I just pick wrong answers for no apparent reasons. What should I do now ? My test is on 04/28 !

I think I am doing well with the science sections (averaging 11 for PS and 12 for BS) but the verbal is the score killer. How should I analyze the FL better in regard to the VR ? What else should I do now for the next 1.5 weeks ?

Thanks a lot !


PS: English is my second language.
 

generic123

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I took the MCAT back in 2008 and scored a 12 on verbal (35 overall), and recently took it for a second time last week on the 13th. On my practice exams leading up to my most recent test I had been scoring consistently in the 11-13 range on verbal. This is my method:

I try to approach each verbal passage with a fresh/calm mind. Sometimes I'll close my eyes and take a deep breath before I start reading. Once I start, I try to read at a consistent pace without re-reading sentences or paragraphs. This helps me keep focused on the big picture without dwelling too much on each little detail. I feel that it is essential to focus on understanding the author's main idea (as it is usually the subject of the first question) and the overall feel of his/her tone while reading.

Once I'm done reading I go through each question in the order it's asked. My approach to verbal questions (and all MCAT questions in fact) is process of elimination. As I read each option I'll think in my head either "no" or "maybe" (never "yes" right away). If you're lucky you'll be able to eliminate all 3 wrong choices, leaving the correct answer. But it usually comes down to two options at which point I'll often re-read the questions and my remaining choices one more time and make my best judgement. The MCAT often tries to "trick" you by having the correct answer sound slightly off, and it is easy to pick the wrong choice. But stick to the process of elimination. When it's down to two options I feel it's easier to decipher which choice is wrong than which is right.

For questions which involve a specific sentence or paragraph I will ALWAYS refer back to the passage. For example, when the question asks what a certain word means in the context of the passage, I will not only read the specific sentence containing that word again but usually a couple sentences before to a couple sentences after. This helps to give me a better idea of the context in which the word is being used. For general questions like "what is the main idea of the passage" or "what is the tone of the author" I will try not to refer back, because I was honing in on that while I was reading.

This is the process I've been using for all standardized tests since the SAT and it's worked pretty well for me thus far! Hope this helps kryptonian! Good luck!
 

PingPongPro

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"Picking the wrong answer" is a terrible reason for why you are doing bad in verbal. You need to pinpoint why you are missing questions. There is always a reason for each mistake and you should be more honest with yourself so you can learn from it. Until you drastically change your postgaming strategy, you will find yourself stuck in a rut.
 

nabilesmail

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It seems like you are like me. I feel I get questions more wrong because of not understanding a passage rather then question strategy. I started following this guys method.

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=503250&page=22

scroll all the way down, the whole microtiming deal. This makes sense to me and I'm going to focus on this. Maybe it will help you too :]
 
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kryptonian

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I took the MCAT back in 2008 and scored a 12 on verbal (35 overall), and recently took it for a second time last week on the 13th. On my practice exams leading up to my most recent test I had been scoring consistently in the 11-13 range on verbal. This is my method:

I try to approach each verbal passage with a fresh/calm mind. Sometimes I'll close my eyes and take a deep breath before I start reading. Once I start, I try to read at a consistent pace without re-reading sentences or paragraphs. This helps me keep focused on the big picture without dwelling too much on each little detail. I feel that it is essential to focus on understanding the author's main idea (as it is usually the subject of the first question) and the overall feel of his/her tone while reading.

Once I'm done reading I go through each question in the order it's asked. My approach to verbal questions (and all MCAT questions in fact) is process of elimination. As I read each option I'll think in my head either "no" or "maybe" (never "yes" right away). If you're lucky you'll be able to eliminate all 3 wrong choices, leaving the correct answer. But it usually comes down to two options at which point I'll often re-read the questions and my remaining choices one more time and make my best judgement. The MCAT often tries to "trick" you by having the correct answer sound slightly off, and it is easy to pick the wrong choice. But stick to the process of elimination. When it's down to two options I feel it's easier to decipher which choice is wrong than which is right.

For questions which involve a specific sentence or paragraph I will ALWAYS refer back to the passage. For example, when the question asks what a certain word means in the context of the passage, I will not only read the specific sentence containing that word again but usually a couple sentences before to a couple sentences after. This helps to give me a better idea of the context in which the word is being used. For general questions like "what is the main idea of the passage" or "what is the tone of the author" I will try not to refer back, because I was honing in on that while I was reading.

This is the process I've been using for all standardized tests since the SAT and it's worked pretty well for me thus far! Hope this helps kryptonian! Good luck!

Thanks for sharing. This is actually the same strategy that I have been using since the very beginning of my study and so far, compared to all other strategies, this brings me the highest score (an 8). Probably 8 is my limit :(

It seems like you are like me. I feel I get questions more wrong because of not understanding a passage rather then question strategy. I started following this guys method.

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=503250&page=22

scroll all the way down, the whole microtiming deal. This makes sense to me and I'm going to focus on this. Maybe it will help you too :]

Thanks for the link. I've been trying this microtiming but seems like it doesn't work very well for me. I usually need almost 8.5 minutes to complete a passage and sometimes even have to rush to be in time. :(
 

arfandada

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I am in the same boat as op... Nothing seems to work I have tried numerous strategies consistently I just cant get a better score then 5-8.
 

kryptonian

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I am in the same boat as op... Nothing seems to work I have tried numerous strategies consistently I just cant get a better score then 5-8.

Yeah, we're both screwed. I've been getting in the same range as yours. Is English your second language ? When's your test ? I just hope I can get an 8 on Verbal so that I can go forward with my application, but that seems so far to reach.
 

folktale

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I've been averaging around a 7-8, with one where I got a 9. I'm also an ESL.

All I've been doing is basically reading the passage straight through once, taking my time, which usually is around 3.5 minutes rather than the suggested 2.5 minutes per passage. It all balance out for me because I finish the questions in less than a minute each. Also, I agree that for the main idea questions, never look back in the passage. You're supposed to have gotten the main idea already when you read it. For specific ones that includes reference to a phrase from the passage or a certain word, then definitely look back if you did not remember what the phrase/word was referring to.
 

kryptonian

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I've been averaging around a 7-8, with one where I got a 9. I'm also an ESL.

All I've been doing is basically reading the passage straight through once, taking my time, which usually is around 3.5 minutes rather than the suggested 2.5 minutes per passage. It all balance out for me because I finish the questions in less than a minute each. Also, I agree that for the main idea questions, never look back in the passage. You're supposed to have gotten the main idea already when you read it. For specific ones that includes reference to a phrase from the passage or a certain word, then definitely look back if you did not remember what the phrase/word was referring to.

How do you cope with the tough passages ? Usually I have no problem understanding the easy and moderate passages. For these ones, I tend to miss only 1 - 2 questions. But, for hard passages, like art and philosophy, I usually don't understand what the passage is about at all and this is the main reason I can only get 1 -2 questions right on these types of passages.
 

folktale

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How do you cope with the tough passages ? Usually I have no problem understanding the easy and moderate passages. For these ones, I tend to miss only 1 - 2 questions. But, for hard passages, like art and philosophy, I usually don't understand what the passage is about at all and this is the main reason I can only get 1 -2 questions right on these types of passages.

I usually feel like that too regarding those humanities passages. I tend not to skip passages though. I usually decide between the last two passages to do when I have like 16 minutes left for the two remaining passages. But I suggest not to skip passages, especially if you're already 1/4 through that particular passage. Even if halfway through, you feel like you're not getting the main idea, then you can't just decide to leave that passage and move on b/c that's a major waste of time obviously. The idea that I skipped a passage also lingers in my mind so that seems to be too distracting for me. Stick with it and continue. I also noticed that some of the harder passages, the author usually changes their attitude toward the topic not until the last paragraph.

Also, clear your mind after every passage. Once you finish one, don't have lingering thoughts of that passage or anything at all when you move on to the next one. Always clear your mind of everything other than reading and understanding the passage. I've realized that when reviewing my missed questions, I could've gotten it if I understood the passage more. I realized that my mind sometimes "drifts" when reading some of the passage, and that's what you have to improve. Read without thinking of anything else except the passage. I also try to envision someone reading me the passage, like a mother reading her child a storybook. Actually, no, not that, b/c that will put you to sleep lol. Think of some random dude telling you face to face what the passage is about. Imagine the author is talking to you face to face talking about his problems.
 

kryptonian

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I usually feel like that too regarding those humanities passages. I tend not to skip passages though. I usually decide between the last two passages to do when I have like 16 minutes left for the two remaining passages. But I suggest not to skip passages, especially if you're already 1/4 through that particular passage. Even if halfway through, you feel like you're not getting the main idea, then you can't just decide to leave that passage and move on b/c that's a major waste of time obviously. The idea that I skipped a passage also lingers in my mind so that seems to be too distracting for me. Stick with it and continue. I also noticed that some of the harder passages, the author usually changes their attitude toward the topic not until the last paragraph.

Also, clear your mind after every passage. Once you finish one, don't have lingering thoughts of that passage or anything at all when you move on to the next one. Always clear your mind of everything other than reading and understanding the passage. I've realized that when reviewing my missed questions, I could've gotten it if I understood the passage more. I realized that my mind sometimes "drifts" when reading some of the passage, and that's what you have to improve. Read without thinking of anything else except the passage. I also try to envision someone reading me the passage, like a mother reading her child a storybook. Actually, no, not that, b/c that will put you to sleep lol. Think of some random dude telling you face to face what the passage is about. Imagine the author is talking to you face to face talking about his problems.

Yeah, I also have that drifting problem when reading the passage. My mind starts wandering somewhere else when the passage gets boring. I guess after all it boils down to reading practice. Hopefully I won't have to retake because of that Verbal. Thanks for the advice :)
 
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