blazinfury

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So I have been doing verbal religiously for 3 months now, but am stuck. I improved a little but avg getting around 65% of the quest correct in 3-passages combined. I know that it is not good, but I don't know how else to improve. I am used EK 1001, Kaplan, TBR, and Princeton. In all of these companies, my score is around there. I don't know what to do.

I've recently implemented a strategy where I do the passages timed in the morning, but don't look at the answers. Then I redo them in the evening untimed, but I write a reason for every answer why I feel that it's right and/or wrong. However, my score still has remained stagnant. Any advice. Thanks.
 

bigballer27

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i was pretty much at the same place

are you finishing in time, or do you feel rushed?
if so, then thats the first place you should try to improve....by making sure u finish in time.
i found the easiest way was to cut down my reading time...maybe look into how long u are spending with each question


then you should pay attention to what traps you are falling for, cuz i bet they are the same things over and over again that are getting you

when you do the passages, try doing them actively, dont just go with the motions...really try and understand why you are missing/picking certain answer choices.

i don't think redoing passages is helpful though...you should spend time slowly at first and then once you increase accuracy, then work on your pacing...its pointless to go fast if youre still missing the same # of questions

lastly....have some confidence and keep drilling...VR becomes a semi-intuition thing i think, you start feeling what questions are asking what, etc...

a few others helped me with my struggles...thought id pass what i learned along
 

blazinfury

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Thanks for your advice. I do compare my rationales with their's. However, I sometimes disagree with their explanation and/or rationale. What do I do in these cases? Like what does it mean to "thoroughly" go over your answers. And how do you learn to apply that knowledge to future passages?
 

g8orlife

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Thanks for your advice. I do compare my rationales with their's. However, I sometimes disagree with their explanation and/or rationale. What do I do in these cases? Like what does it mean to "thoroughly" go over your answers. And how do you learn to apply that knowledge to future passages?
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=509702

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showpost.php?p=6022602&postcount=96

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=223930

In I improved a little but I am still not where I want to be, what should I do?

Try getting all the questions right on the passages that you feel most confident with, because there will always be one passage on the tests that will leave you stumped. Instead of being discouraged, do extremely well on the easier ones and let the hard ones sleigh. Remember your score is not based on what you get right, but how many of them you do. Try practicing everyday and maybe read an hour of outside material like The Economist or The New Yorker. Keep a log of the questions that really get you. I have a notebook that I keep to myself and I record any word that I don't know but think I should know (especially a word I don't know in the question) and I look it up by the end of the day. At the end of the week, I review those words along with questions I got wrong because I didn't think the right way...

Answers to keep an eye at:

Be wary of EXTREME answer choices unless the author has an extreme opinion. If the answer choices have always or never, they are USUALLY never right.

'However when they ask for something that "most strengthens" or "most weakens" an argument, you want to pick an extreme answer choice (added by Bravesfan113)'

Also look for answer choices that use the words like might, maybe, or possibly. REMEMBER this is about the author.... so if you hear the authors opinion that's a red flag for a question answer.

[Added Excerpts from My Log]

BloodySurgeon's Log:

Verbal Log:

1) Which of the following is a claim made by the author but NOT supported in the passage by evidence, explanation, or example?

-->If it is not stated, it is not the answer
-->If the sentence is on its own, it is usually the right answer
-->An assertion might be supported within the same sentence

2) This new information would most CHALLENGE the claim that:

--> The "claim" has to be one made in the passage. If it isn't, then it is not correct.

3) For which of the following conclusions does the passage offer the least support?

-->There may be no support for an answer. However, you must ensure that the answer choice falls into the category of being a "conclusion."

4) Author provides no support or substantiation

-->Answer could be something that was never stated

5) The passage suggests that its author would probably disagree with which of the following statement?

--> If the passage does not suggest this statement, then we cannot argue that the author would agree or disagree based upon passage information.
6) Be aware of the different question types on the verbal section. The princeton review book has a list of these, and I think the Kaplan one does as well. In addition, when you are reviewing your practice exams you should make your own list of what you think the different question types are. As to HOW to answer every question type; This is one of the major areas where practice comes into it. As you get better, you'll begin to realize the types of things that look like 'correct' answers, and you get a feel for the types of things that the examiner is looking for. Check out the "process of elimination" section (number 8 in this post).

7) Do heavy post-game analysis. You must, must, must go back over your verbal questions and ensure that your thought process was correct for the questions that you got right. Figuring out what exactly you were thinking when you answered a question incorrectly is absolutely essential. That way, when you find yourself thinking in a similar way on a future exam, you might stop and think twice about your answer. Do not ever say, "Oh I totally should have gotten that question! It's easy!" If you missed a question, you missed it for a reason. Instead of passing it off as a "stupid mistake" make sure you understand exactly why you made that mistake, and what you were thinking when you made it. Then, you should try and figure which types of questions you are most often missing and analyze your thought process to see what wrong thought caused you to pick a wrong answer. Then, be aware, and fix that thought process.

8) Learn to use process of elimination (POE). There are a few tricks you can use to POE the hell out of some verbal questions.
- Extreme sounding answers are almost always wrong. Exception: If the passage itself sounds extreme. You should still make sure that your answer choice fits with the logic of the question and the passage itself. For instance, the question could ask, "Which of the following is NOT representative of the author's stance of issue X". In these types of questions, the extreme answer might be right.

- In questions that ask you to describe the 'mood' of the author, or any question with 'one word' answer choices, answers that are similar or say the same thing are almost always both wrong. Check and see if you picked an answer that sounds very similar to another one, and make sure you know exactly why you chose that answer. The MCAT will never be cut and dry, so just make sure your logic about an answer choice is clear.
- Watch out answer choices with identical or similar vocabulary to the passage. A very common trick is that often words that were used in the passage will be transplanted into an answer choice with either: 1) a cause and effect relationship reversed so that it is wrong, 2) a fact from the passage taken out of context, 3) a hypothesis that is mis-stated, 4) a slight twisting of the author's logic, 5) an incorrect detail has been inserted into the answer choice. Watch out for these, and when you see an answer choice with alot of identical words to the passage, be very sure to dissect it so that you understand its meaning. As you practice more and more, you'll begin to find other curious aspects of answer choices and question stems that stick out at you.