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Verbal Strategy: Skipping A Passage

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by maxsmyles, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. maxsmyles

    2+ Year Member

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    Hi,

    How many of u allocate the full hour on the verbal section to doing 6 passages and then randomly guessing on 1 of the passages (usually the hardest passage in the section).

    My goal is a 10 in Verbal. I am sure for 12+ hitters, this is not recommended but for others in my shoes, should this be beneficial?

    TPR told me to do this, but I am always hesitant to try it out.
     
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  3. akademix

    10+ Year Member

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    Are you serious bro? Lets go to the numbers... You have a 1/4 shot each question, and say there are 6 questions a passage--the numbers really arent on your side at all to randomly guess...assume youre spending the ideal 8 minutes per passage how many are you getting wrong when you try attempting each passage? Time to brizzeak it down...

    assume that you employ your strategy, thereby saving yourself the 8 minutes from the hard passage to distribute among 6 passages--roughly equal to 1.3 minutes or 78 seconds per. How many more questions do you think you'd get right with an extra 1.3 minutes--would it be enough to negate the 75% chance of missing a question in an entire passage that you skipped/blindly guessed on?

    What's more is this: If youre aiming for a 10 which on AAMC tests is usually ~7-9 wrongs, then we can assume that on average youre only going to get somewhere between 1 and 2 questions right on the hypothetical six question passage you guess on, meaning that more likely than not youre going to miss 4 questions with that strategy. Now again, your threshold is 7-9 wrongs to get that magical number of 10...but we can say that by blindly guessing, youve already "used" up half the errors youre allocated...So really the question is, do you think the extra 78 seconds will allow you to minimize the rest of your errors, meaning averaging somewhere between 3-5 errors TOTAL through the other six passages? To put it in perspective, 3-5 errors in 34 questions is like basically the equivalent of getting between 4-6 wrong on a seven passage section--meaning it's like scoring an 11-12 on the rest of the passages...So basically, if you think that the 78 seconds you save by blindly guessing will let you increase your performance to that of somebody scoring an 11-12 on the rest of the passages, then go for it...I find that hard to believe though.

    Personally (despite not knowing you but having also struggled with VR), I think you either need to improve your reading skills (speed, avoid re-reading sentences etc.) or stop overthinking questions. To me, especially with verbal, Ive found the more I overthink the worse I perform--go with your guts.

    Those statistics are all rough calculations of averages and what not, but the point is, the numbers aren't on your side.

    Be easy

    --Akademix Esquire
     
  4. SN2ed

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    If you want to do well (9+), this won't work. Honestly, no one should go into the test thinking they'll randomly guess on an entire passage. Go into the test with that kind of mentality and you might as well donate your $200 something to the AAMC.
     
  5. Tourterm

    5+ Year Member

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    You're kidding, right? Did one of their teachers mention this? Either way, this is an incredibly horrible strategy. Don't think of it as doing well on all but 1 passage and just guessing and skirting by with enough to get a 10, but that you have a whole passage you can use to boost your score, that you are just giving up on. You don't want to do that.

    Here is a binomial table. The odds are not in your favor.
    http://frank.mtsu.edu/~bfreeman/Binomial/Image6.gif

    There is a wealth of information on these boards on how to improve your verbal score that will better serve you then this gimmick.
     
  6. rbaksi

    7+ Year Member

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    I would suggest against it. As Akademix pointed out the little gain you might get from the increased time on the other passages is less than the cost of guessing on the last passage.
     

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