yanks26dmb

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So I've done very little additional MCAT prep to this point, but have started with verbal reasoning to gauge my current standing. I've done several timed VR sections, as well as one off passages here and there when I have time.

I'm going for pure speed and am consistently scoring between 12-14, finishing well under the time limit per section/passage. I'm pretty sure I could get closer to 13-15 if I used all my time, but I digress..

Should I spend much time on VR, or just assume I'm pretty much at my ceiling and use my time on BS and PS material? Further, has anyone else foundd VR to be particularly easy? I hear so many people talk about their difficulties on VR and I'm worried I'm getting a bit over-confident/disillusioned. As an aside, I took the LSAT, and did fairly well on it (86th percentile) and found the reading comp. on that exam to be much more difficult. Anyone have familiarity with both exams?
 

DokterMom

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So I've done very little additional MCAT prep to this point, but have started with verbal reasoning to gauge my current standing. I've done several timed VR sections, as well as one off passages here and there when I have time.

I'm going for pure speed and am consistently scoring between 12-14, finishing well under the time limit per section/passage. I'm pretty sure I could get closer to 13-15 if I used all my time, but I digress..

Should I spend much time on VR,
Seems you're a natural for the type of VR questions on the MCAT, so I'd spend a few minutes thanking whoever it is you'd thank for such a gift, then spend the majority of your time on the other sections. Your potential upside on the VR is what, 3? But your potential upside on the BS and PS sections are likely much higher.
 
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I took the SAT (75th percentile) and tried practice GRE before and found it to be ridiculously hard, yet I did very well on my VR MCAT (in the 12-14 range).

I think MCAT reading is more about speed and recollection of informations you just read rather than deep comprehension of complex passages. A lot of people I know who did well on the VR tend to read very quickly, and the fact that you can finish well within the time limit put you in a really nice spot for the VR section. Just work on the BS and PS, plus it is much easier to cram for those sections than the VR section.
 
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yanks26dmb

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I took the SAT (75th percentile) and tried practice GRE before and found it to be ridiculously hard, yet I did very well on my VR MCAT (in the 12-14 range).

I think MCAT reading is more about speed and recollection of informations you just read rather than deep comprehension of complex passages. A lot of people I know who did well on the VR tend to read very quickly, and the fact that you can finish well within the time limit put you in a really nice spot for the VR section. Just work on the BS and PS, plus it is much easier to cram for those sections than the VR section.

That's what I was noticing too, but wasn't sure if my passages I've done to this point were just "easier". So many of these questions can be answered without any deep thought, whereas LSAT required trying to decipher the meanings of words I've never seen before, plus tying multiple arguments/thoughts together to unlock a big picture. MCAT VR seems to be largely recollection of what you've read/light critical thinking.
 
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So I've done very little additional MCAT prep to this point, but have started with verbal reasoning to gauge my current standing. I've done several timed VR sections, as well as one off passages here and there when I have time.

I'm going for pure speed and am consistently scoring between 12-14, finishing well under the time limit per section/passage. I'm pretty sure I could get closer to 13-15 if I used all my time, but I digress..

Should I spend much time on VR, or just assume I'm pretty much at my ceiling and use my time on BS and PS material? Further, has anyone else foundd VR to be particularly easy? I hear so many people talk about their difficulties on VR and I'm worried I'm getting a bit over-confident/disillusioned. As an aside, I took the LSAT, and did fairly well on it (86th percentile) and found the reading comp. on that exam to be much more difficult. Anyone have familiarity with both exams?
You should spend zero time on VR except for doing the passages in your full lengths. You are at the ceiling; the VR scale generally means 1 wrong = 14, 2 wrong = 13, and not even the best can get perfect every time (there will always be a question or two that are truly subjective).

I was similar in my VR ability going into the MCAT, and my actual test VR section was easier than the practice AAMC VR sections. Presumably to be at this point you read (and possibly write) prodigiously in your life anyway; just keep up that. You will gain nothing by trying to improve this section. Spend all your study time on the science sections.
 
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That's what I was noticing too, but wasn't sure if my passages I've done to this point were just "easier". So many of these questions can be answered without any deep thought, whereas LSAT required trying to decipher the meanings of words I've never seen before, plus tying multiple arguments/thoughts together to unlock a big picture. MCAT VR seems to be largely recollection of what you've read/light critical thinking.
One of thing I learned during my study was to not overthink the question. Keeping it simple and to go with the most obvious choice usually results in the right answer.

Considering law is all about making vague connections with questionable logics to help your argument, it is only natural that they test you on that :sneaky:
 

Meredith92

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So I've done very little additional MCAT prep to this point, but have started with verbal reasoning to gauge my current standing. I've done several timed VR sections, as well as one off passages here and there when I have time.

I'm going for pure speed and am consistently scoring between 12-14, finishing well under the time limit per section/passage. I'm pretty sure I could get closer to 13-15 if I used all my time, but I digress..

Should I spend much time on VR, or just assume I'm pretty much at my ceiling and use my time on BS and PS material? Further, has anyone else foundd VR to be particularly easy? I hear so many people talk about their difficulties on VR and I'm worried I'm getting a bit over-confident/disillusioned. As an aside, I took the LSAT, and did fairly well on it (86th percentile) and found the reading comp. on that exam to be much more difficult. Anyone have familiarity with both exams?
What type of practice exams were you using when practicing VR? I would get 14s on Kaplan but then 11s on aamc. Just want to check that you're getting representative practice material before deciding to hold off. If it's aamc then congrats on having a good natural abilities for VR!
 

nemo123

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What type of practice exams were you using when practicing VR? I would get 14s on Kaplan but then 11s on aamc. Just want to check that you're getting representative practice material before deciding to hold off. If it's aamc then congrats on having a good natural abilities for VR!
Seconded. I used to get 12-13s on EK101, but got 10-11s on AAMC practice tests. Unless it was AAMC 8, where I was just like :eek: at all the passages and got a 9 lol.
 

Omppu27

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I feel like one hits their ceiling fairly quickly in mcat verbal studying. The real prep for this section of the exam takes place in the year or so prior during your leisure reading (or lack there of).
 
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What type of practice exams were you using when practicing VR? I would get 14s on Kaplan but then 11s on aamc. Just want to check that you're getting representative practice material before deciding to hold off. If it's aamc then congrats on having a good natural abilities for VR!
Kaplan tend to be more specific detail heavy with questions that can easily be answered by going back to the passage whereas AAMC have more main idea questions. Sometimes it also gets really annoying as they like to ask 'which is false' type of questions and therefore you can't just go look for the one right answer but you have to look for all three right answers before you can be sure.

Some people might do better with main idea questions because they're good at making general inferences while others might be better at specific detail questions because they notice tiny details that most would miss. I've seen people struggle with Kaplan but do well on AAMC.

OP: just make sure you're getting 12-14 on all types of practice exam (EK, Kaplan, AAMC, etc), in case you get a quirky set of passages on the real MCAT.

P.S., for some reason, I couldn't crack a 6 on my Princeton Review verbal. I guess that's the one company I wouldn't recommend.
 

nemo123

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P.S., for some reason, I couldn't crack a 6 on my Princeton Review verbal. I guess that's the one company I wouldn't recommend.
TPRH or just regular PR? I haven't used TPRH Verbal myself (too expensive lol), but isn't it touted as the second best resource (behind the AAMCs) for preparing for the MCAT verbal?
 

Euxox

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TPRH or just regular PR? I haven't used TPRH Verbal myself (too expensive lol), but isn't it touted as the second best resource (behind the AAMCs) for preparing for the MCAT verbal?
Regular PR? That's so old that I think it's become a collectible. :D

But yes, I found TPRH to be much better than EK. (I'm not sure why so many people liked EK to be honest. The questions could be awfully odd at times and the answer key was filled with errors.)
 
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yanks26dmb

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What type of practice exams were you using when practicing VR? I would get 14s on Kaplan but then 11s on aamc. Just want to check that you're getting representative practice material before deciding to hold off. If it's aamc then congrats on having a good natural abilities for VR!
Ah...yes, I'm using Kaplan. I should probably try out some of the AAMC material to see how I do on those. What's the best place to get practice AAMC tests. Alternatively, can you simply buy AAMC passages per section instead of full on tests?
 
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TPRH or just regular PR? I haven't used TPRH Verbal myself (too expensive lol), but isn't it touted as the second best resource (behind the AAMCs) for preparing for the MCAT verbal?
I thought the second best was exam cracker? anyways, I bought the princeton review cracking the MCAT and used the four online full length practice that it came with. Idk why I did worse with PR, even my PS and BS were couple points lower. But verbal score just SHOCKED me. Especially when I was scoring 11-13 regularly on every other test. I remember not able to focus on the passage for some reason, thinking how their online format was just so awful, and thought the passage was SO boring and confusing as heck. (And I'm the weird guy who generally enjoys the useless info you learn from these MCAT passages)

Ah...yes, I'm using Kaplan. I should probably try out some of the AAMC material to see how I do on those. What's the best place to get practice AAMC tests. Alternatively, can you simply buy AAMC passages per section instead of full on tests?
AAMC 3 is free.
 
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Regular PR? That's so old that I think it's become a collectible. :D

But yes, I found TPRH to be much better than EK. (I'm not sure why so many people liked EK to be honest. The questions could be awfully odd at times and the answer key was filled with errors.)
So what have I been using when I studied the MCAT lol? It was princeton review cracking the MCAT 2013 edition, but definitely not hyperlearning.
 

nemo123

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Regular PR? That's so old that I think it's become a collectible. :D

But yes, I found TPRH to be much better than EK. (I'm not sure why so many people liked EK to be honest. The questions could be awfully odd at times and the answer key was filled with errors.)
Lol they sell some of their MCAT books in Barnes&Noble, and they probably have a verbal reasoning one.

I think the reason why I did so well on EK is because you have to take the passages very literally in EK in order to get the right answer. If you interpret any part of the passage, you will almost always get the question wrong. AAMCs were much more tricky in this respect.
 

nemo123

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So what have I been using when I studied the MCAT lol? It was princeton review cracking the MCAT 2013 edition, but definitely not hyperbole.
Lol TPRH=Princeton Review's Hyperlearning set. They're only available to people who enroll in their $2000 courses. But some people sell theirs (for $200) after taking their MCAT.
 
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Lol TPRH=Princeton Review's Hyperlearning set. They're only available to people who enroll in their $2000 courses. But some people sell theirs (for $200) after taking their MCAT.
Darn, I thought I caught that mistake quickly enough that no one would see... :whistle:

Lol they sell some of their MCAT books in Barnes&Noble, and they probably have a verbal reasoning one.

I think the reason why I did so well on EK is because you have to take the passages very literally in EK in order to get the right answer. If you interpret any part of the passage, you will almost always get the question wrong. AAMCs were much more tricky in this respect.
+1. That's where I learned to basically tell myself, pretend your an idiot who knows nothing outside of what's given in the passage... Although I still think it helped to not overthink things.
 

Euxox

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So what have I been using when I studied the MCAT lol? It was princeton review cracking the MCAT 2013 edition, but definitely not hyperlearning.
Lol they sell some of their MCAT books in Barnes&Noble, and they probably have a verbal reasoning one.
They have Cracking the MCAT, Hyperlearning, and now that I've done a Google search, it looks like there is something called Verbal Accelerator as well. Hyperlearning is what they use in the classroom and online courses and they don't sell those books separately. (But, of course, you can always find used Hyperlearning books on ebay.) Hyperlearning is actually the second, improved, set of workbooks that they used for the classroom course. Before that they had books that were just "Princeton Review MCAT Biology," "Princeton Review MCAT Verbal," and so on. At least that is what I was told by others. There are currently books that are called "Princeton Review Biology Review" and such, but those are content books, not workbooks.

EDIT: These are the older workbooks I'm talking about. This one is from 2001: http://www.amazon.com/The-Princeton-Review-MCAT-Workbook/dp/B000LMK49E

I think the reason why I did so well on EK is because you have to take the passages very literally in EK in order to get the right answer. If you interpret any part of the passage, you will almost always get the question wrong. AAMCs were much more tricky in this respect.
Ugh. I always overthought the questions. I think that's why Verbal scores tend to fluctuate so much. I'd take a practice test one day and get a 10 on VR and the very next day I would get a 13. And then on the third day I'd go back down to a 10. My best guess is that it's about whether or not you harmonized with the specific passages and started seeing them the same way the writers did.

I don't agree with the seeing them as an idiot thing. I don't think the questions were that simple. The SAT Critical Reading was more like that I think.
 
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Meredith92

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Ah...yes, I'm using Kaplan. I should probably try out some of the AAMC material to see how I do on those. What's the best place to get practice AAMC tests. Alternatively, can you simply buy AAMC passages per section instead of full on tests?
I recommend alternating everyday with EK and TPR. The last two weeks I only did aamc material (verbal self assessment) I think that was crucial because I was able to have the aamc style questions/ answers fresh in my head.

I'm sorry I had to burst your bubble about Kaplan :( I felt bad... But hopefully you'll keep scoring high with the other material! Best of luck!
 
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Same here, OP. I did well on verbal from the beginning, so I stopped doing prep for it pretty early on and focused on PS, which was my weak spot. I will never in my life understand how someone can get 13's in PS and BS and a 7 or 8 in verbal. My mind just isn't wired that way. I got an 11 in verbal with very little studying and worked my a** off for an 8 in PS.
 

Anicetus

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Same here, OP. I did well on verbal from the beginning, so I stopped doing prep for it pretty early on and focused on PS, which was my weak spot. I will never in my life understand how someone can get 13's in PS and BS and a 7 or 8 in verbal. My mind just isn't wired that way. I got an 11 in verbal with very little studying and worked my a** off for an 8 in PS.
14/6/11 here.

It happens. I'm very good at reading sciences and problem solving, not the structure of a Russian rule or the economics of ancient china.
 
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Wow - that is an awesome PS score!!! I honestly don't think I could have ever gotten to that point in PS, no matter how many hours I put in. I really wish I could have found someone to study with that had opposite strengths as me. It would have been so helpful.
 

Anicetus

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Wow - that is an awesome PS score!!! I honestly don't think I could have ever gotten to that point in PS, no matter how many hours I put in. I really wish I could have found someone to study with that had opposite strengths as me. It would have been so helpful.
We could fuse and become an MCAT god. I put in a year of VR stuff and it was super sporadic with my scoring. Never really had a pattern.

I kind of deserve it though since I didn't read much as a kid at all or in school. Used book summaries to do well in English and did miserable on the SAT verbal. I was pompous when I was younger thinking all I needed was science skills to succeed.
 
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I really don't read many books other than textbooks, either. Too busy. I did read a lot as a kid, though. I also read a lot of random online debates. I always thought I was pretty ignorant of current events because I hate watching the news. Turns out I know more than I thought I did just from reading other people fight about different issues. Way more informative and entertaining! lol
 

Mt Kilimanjaro

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So I've done very little additional MCAT prep to this point, but have started with verbal reasoning to gauge my current standing. I've done several timed VR sections, as well as one off passages here and there when I have time.

I'm going for pure speed and am consistently scoring between 12-14, finishing well under the time limit per section/passage. I'm pretty sure I could get closer to 13-15 if I used all my time, but I digress..

Should I spend much time on VR, or just assume I'm pretty much at my ceiling and use my time on BS and PS material? Further, has anyone else foundd VR to be particularly easy? I hear so many people talk about their difficulties on VR and I'm worried I'm getting a bit over-confident/disillusioned. As an aside, I took the LSAT, and did fairly well on it (86th percentile) and found the reading comp. on that exam to be much more difficult. Anyone have familiarity with both exams?
I started with some Kaplan passages and was consistently scoring 11-13 with time to spare. I even took a couple practice Kaplan VR tests without reading any of the passages and scored over 10. I found the AAMC tests and ExamKracker much harder and got <10 on the real thing. So, don't completely skip VR until you've knocked out a few timed AAMC tests. I agree with other posters that the PS and BS sections are much higher yield in terms of studying, so focus the majority of your efforts on gaining points on those sections.
 
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I'd do just sporadic VR passages to keep yourself sharp, like 1 a night before bed. I got a 14 on the VR, was in a pretty similar boat to the OP and this helped me stay focused on the right material without getting rusty or overconfident (ExamKracker passages are great, they're probably a little trickier than the actual ones).
 
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This is me, also. I know that it is down to voracious reading from pre-K on.

Somewhere on this site, someone related an anecdote about their English major friend taking the MCAT "as a reading comprehension exam." He had no science background - just worked from the premise that the answers lay in decoding the passages - and scored 30ish. I would so love to know if that actually happened.