Verbal Reasoning

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Full Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 28, 2012
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Any recommendations on Verbal books besides EK 101 and Princeton Review Hyper Learning?

Definitely AAMC's VR Self Assessment.

Other than that, I know about some others but cannot comment on their helpfulness (or lack thereof).

1. The Berkeley Review Verbal Reasoning: A large book with many VR passages, answer keys, and lots of information.

2. The Gold Standard's (I think) 20 CBT VR practice tests.

3. Kaplan Verbal Reasoning Review

I wish there was a giant polls only thread sticky. Where people could get a real quick visual of stuff like this, voters: check off the books you found helpful (don't check unhelpful or unused books).

John Richards

New Member
Nov 7, 2013
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What is the AAMC VR Self Assessment composed of? How many passages? Are they the same passages from the AAMC practice tests?

Why is TBR Verbal bad?

Blueprint MCAT Tutor

7+ Year Member
Sep 30, 2013
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Heya John,

Here's my quickie cheat sheet on what you'll need to prep for verbal:

1. Start reading every day.

Spend ~45 minutes reading non-MCAT stuff (humanities, etc.) that's written at an MCAT level. Many folks recommend The Economist, and that's certainly a fine choice, but my preference is actually a college philosophy textbook. Pick up an old copy of Reason & Responsibility. Get an old, used edition for like $5 on Amazon. It's a classic philosophy 101 textbook used in Universities all over the country. It'll cover lots of different very abstract, very challenging ideas.

2. Get Verbal Practice Book(s).

The only materials I "officially" endorse are the AAMC Practice Tests, the AAMC Self-Assessment Packages, and the AAMC MCAT Official Guide (has a handful of practice questions not found elsewhere). After that, you could buy the verbal book from KTP, TPR, TBR, EK. They'll run you $20 - $60 a pop and the quality varies but it can be good to hear several different suggestions for how to do verbal.

3. Get online verbal practice.

Here, you can go with Gold Standards full exams (decent quality, very good price), the MCATquestion.com guys have ~30 passages in their question pool. Again, varying quality but really good price. The TBR full exams are quite good, but kinda pricey and have pretty restrictive use policies.

4. Most importantly, use your materials WELL! Folks make the mistake of just wanting to buy more, more, more. Instead, you should very thoroughly be reviewing every passage. Analyze the questions/passages/explanations AT LENGTH. My rule of thumb is that it should take you 1.5x to 2x as long to review materials as doing it in the first place. Most students will rush through only doing a fraction of that.

Good luck! :)