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Verbal improvement strategy in 1 month?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Doo, Mar 31, 2012.

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  1. Doo

    Doo 2+ Year Member

    Mar 31, 2012
    Hi guys,

    I'm applying to med schools in the coming up summer, and I'm just wondering if anyone has any good strategy for verbal improvement.

    I've taken 4 practice exams (1 from AAMC, 3 from kaplan) and my scores on the verbal section were 10, 10, 10, 9. (all of them are 1 question away from 1 point less... :( scary... )

    I'm fairly good at the other two sections, have been getting 13-14 consistently on PS, and 11-12 on BS. My aim is to get into a top 10 school (if I even have a shot), so I think I desperately need to improve my verbal. Anyone has any good suggestions? Much appreciate it!

    Another question is, how bad is an unbalanced score? Say PS-VR-BS: 14 - 10 - 12, or even 14 - 9 - 12? Do I still have a shot for top 10 if my score is unbalanced like this? Science GPA 3.7, go to an ivy school, solid letters, have volunteering and research experience and is about to be listed as second author on a paper to be published in a few months. Personally, I've been pretty pessimistic about my chance to get into top 10 because I'm really freaking out about MCAT... Thanks again, guys.
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  3. pfaction

    pfaction 7+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2010
    I'd also like a method to improve my verbal in a month since I'm doing very poorly across the board.
  4. gumbyj

    gumbyj 7+ Year Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Do AS MANY passages as you can possibly get your hands on. After finishing (I usually do this the next day) make an excel spreadsheet of all of the questions and categorize them by type (author's tone, inference from passage) and the type of passage (humanities, natural science etc.).

    When I started doing this I immediately saw a pattern and was able to raise my verbal from a 6,7 on my first two EKs to a consistent 12-13. I also stopped highlighting or underlining, because I found the passages I didn't do that I was scoring just as high and it slowed me down.

    Just my 2 cents. I would KILL for your PS and BS scores :)
  5. nimchimpsky2


    Apr 1, 2012
    Your profile is almost exactly the same as mine, MCAT, GPA, everything, although I'm somewhat of an non-traditional student.

    I also struggled with breaking the 10 barrier on verbal. My issue was I tried to take everyone's advice into consideration and I got nowhere. EK, Kaplan, they all had different tricks to make things easier. In retrospect, perhaps the best thing is just to go with your gut on what seems to work best for you and practice over and over. Reading other material definitely helps but in a month, I'm not sure how much extra reading you can/are willing to do.

    One of my issues is I just zone out when I try and read something dense. One thing that helped was mentally summarizing a paragraph in my head, just the main idea. That kept me into the passage when I would otherwise just gloss over it. But then again, if you underline your textbooks or write notes in the margin, do that. Just practice is my advice.

    As for getting into a top school, I think my problem was I applied to late. Finished secondaries in mid September. Waited on LOR's for several months. Lots of procrastinating. By the time I was complete, some schools, like U Mich, had already reached the 70% mark of their interview spot, where the number of invites dropped dramatically. In the end, I got a whole bunch of secondaries but no II's.

    My advice to you is to apply early, finish the primary by late June, and secondaries by mid-late July. Really work on those essays, they are the only thing that admission's committee see about you and because they are subjective in nature, it's your chance to sway them. A good essay(s), will look a lot better than some number you had on one section of a test that you were probably stressed out of your mind for.

    If my experience is any indication, there isn't any straightforward way to guarantee an interview let alone acceptance at a top-10 university. Numbers start to fade in the eyes of the admission's committee. What really differentiates you is the rest of your application. The MCAT seems to me pretty minor compared to my other issues so I would advise you not to worry so much about the MCAT, or improving your verbal score, and focus on just applying.

    Hope that helps, PM me if you have more questions.
  6. MedOldAge

    MedOldAge 5+ Year Member

    Feb 7, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  7. chemhead123

    chemhead123 2+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    Doing exams is important... but you must also review the exams in detail to really gain the benefit. They should take you at least as long to review as it took you to answer them... at least that is what I have been doing and it seems to be helping me.

    Figure out why you aren't seeing the right answer the first time around and why the trick answer choices are fooling you.
  8. Doo

    Doo 2+ Year Member

    Mar 31, 2012
    ya, i think practice is the only way. thanks!
  9. Doo

    Doo 2+ Year Member

    Mar 31, 2012
    ya, i think practice is important. also, i'll definitely make sure i submit the apps early. i was just a little worried that if i get a 9 on VR, they won't even look at my apps.. thanks!
  10. Doo

    Doo 2+ Year Member

    Mar 31, 2012
  11. Doo

    Doo 2+ Year Member

    Mar 31, 2012
    thanks for the advice. i think deep error analysis will help greatly.
  12. TBR_Doc

    TBR_Doc Lifetime Donor 5+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2012
    You can improve in one month. Practice as many passages as you can. Focus on reading only for the main idea and ignore the details. Summarize the passage as you read. And when you answer questions, always answer them using the main idea.

    A lot of pre-meds have the same unbalanced score. If you can bring your Verbal score up, your application will stand out more. That being said, I know lots of people who are docs now with lower Verbal scores than their science scores.

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