magictouch

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Hows verbal been treating you on the FLs? Original scores vs as you've honed the method.

I'm interested in trying your scores as now that my sciences have hit the teens I'm working on bring that verbal up from the constant 10. I also love philosophy and logic, and enjoyed your "VR Primer".
 
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Hows verbal been treating you on the FLs? Original scores vs as you've honed the method.

I'm interested in trying your scores as now that my sciences have hit the teens I'm working on bring that verbal up from the constant 10. I also love philosophy and logic, and enjoyed your "VR Primer".
I started out with 11s and 12s, and after I implemented my method (in its entirety) I have been consistently scoring 14s. Before writing this guide I decided to solve passages from EK, TBR, TPR, and Kaplan; in order to test it on different planes. It worked like a charm :luck:.

I hope you enjoy the completed primer this time around. I did my best to condense it while retaining all of the relevant information.

I did notice a few grammatical errors, so please forgive me for those. There's no excuse for poor grammar, but I really wanted to finish the guide :).
 
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When you read the questions first, do you remember all of them? When I read them first, I tend to remember only 1-2 and tend to focus on details + deviate from the main point..
 
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When you read the questions first, do you remember all of them? When I read them first, I tend to remember only 1-2 and tend to focus on details + deviate from the main point..
It's like an easter egg hunt. Your mother tells you to find the pink and yellow eggs, and not the red and blue eggs. All I recall is that I need to find pink and yellow eggs. So, to answer your question, I definitely remember what information I need to answer questions. I don't necessarily place a great importance on the order of the questions, or specific wordings.

I provide two examples in the pdf version of the guide where I breakdown precisely how I read questions, and what information I extract from them. I actually use that step to determine the main point of the passage. It's pretty neat.
 
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It's like an easter egg hunt. Your mother tells you to find the pink and yellow eggs, and not the red and blue eggs. All I recall is that I need to find pink and yellow eggs. So, to answer your question, I definitely remember what information I need to answer questions. I don't necessarily place a great importance on the order of the questions, or specific wordings.

I provide two examples in the pdf version of the guide where I breakdown precisely how I read questions, and what information I extract from them. I actually use that step to determine the main point of the passage. It's pretty neat.
Thank you. I mite try this strategy out.
 

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A marvelous compilation of strategies and tips for MCAT VR.

It ALL boils down to rational analysis of the answer choices in the passage. All you have to spot is the logical fallacy that invalidates the 3 wrong ones over the 1 correct one.
 
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HinduHammer

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Introduction

Hello. You can call me Saree.

Like you, I am studying and preparing to write the MCAT with little time to spare. I have devoted the past several months to the singular pursuit of attaining a high score on the MCAT, and I hope that you, my dear reader, share a similar fervent desire.

I will not do you the dishonor of preaching to you about the difficulty of the MCAT. I believe that you are all too aware of the arduous task awaits you. However, one cannot expect to enter the battlefield with a defeated mindset and expect victory. One's psychological disposition is of utmost importance, and I recommend approaching the MCAT with an unflappable confidence.

I believe that the Verbal section of the MCAT has been received as the most difficult section test, and therefore as a corollary, we test-takers devote an inordinate amount of time seeking to master the Verbal section. The question before us, then, is precisely how to achieve our goal.

I would like to propose one such method – the Draupadi Method. My verbal strategy is based on how I think, and it is informed by my previous experiences. Therefore, my "process" - my strategy - is unique to me. It may or may not work for you! I sincerely believe that life, and the progression of knowledge is cumulative – we are constantly adding to our knowledge base. So, please, if any part of my primer is of value to you, use it! If you can adapt it to your existing methodology all the better!


There are many ways to reach the mountain-top, and this primer simply offers one perspective.



All the best,

DoctorInASaree

Section 1: Procedure

0) Flow of Information [constant - given]

-Your methodology. Your framework.
- As you move from passage to passage this is the singular constant. My methodology, as stated above, is based upon my own unique experiences and perspectives. I will edify several indispensable methods as you progress through this primer.

1) Read the Questions[<20 seconds]

- Read them in numeric order
- Do NOT read the answer choices
- Before immersing yourself into the passage, imagine for a moment that you are cooking a feast for a large banquet hall. People have ordered meals X, Y, and Z, and your task as the chef is to figure out a) the requisite ingredients & b) the procedure in which to mix them all together (quantities, etc.) in order to produce a meal.
My technique employs a similar methodology. By reading the questions first I am doing two things:
1. I am extracting the theme (crux) of the passage. I can map out the structure of the passage and what the author has argued simply by reading the questions.
2. Most importantly, like the chef, I am figuring out which details (ingredients) I must attain or understand in order to answer the questions (produce a meal).

- Lastly, this will stop you from thinking about previous passages. You will be turning your brain's focus to the current passage as you begin to focus on the passage's content before the passage itself is read.

2) Read the passage
[<3 minutes]
- Fairly obvious...read the passage! ;)Each and every word! DO NOT speed-read - no matter how skilled you believe yourself to be. There is no reason to rush through the verbal section. Be calm and pay attention to each and every word the author has written on the page, for they have done so for a reason. Do not miss out on vital details!
- Read with purpose: you know what the passage is demanding of you (the questions), so read with the intent of answering those questions.
- Your duty is not to engage in an academic quest of figuring out some deep mystery about the subject matter. Your duty is to answer the questions - that's it. Everything else is irrelevant.

3) Deduce the crux of the passage[<10 seconds]
- I cannot stress how important this step is.
- Ask yourself the following question: how can I best summarize the contents of the entire passage into one statement. What is this passage truly about? What is the author conveying to the reader about topic Z?
Intro/concluding paragraphs -> contain the crux of the passage - what the author believes. In the “sandwich paragraphs” one will find supporting and/or contrasting arguments which reveals how and why the author agrees or disagrees. How does the author reach his/her conclusions? Premises! How does the author validate their premises?
- How does one go about testing the value of premises? By employing logic, and testing the validity of statements by identifying the presence of logical fallacies, or lack thereof.
- Take a deep breath of air because it is time to begin answering passage questions.

4) Answer the questions[<3.5 minutes]
- At this point, you know the methodology, the crux of the passage, arguments that support or weaken the author's position, the premises that underlie the author's conclusion, etc. Have no fear, and answer the questions!

Aside: I apply my Verbal strategy to the other two sections of the MCAT. Instead of reading the passage (and their wasteful two paragraphs which contain an introduction to the mechanisms of a toilet - looking at your TBR Ch7), look for key equations, tables of values, and graphs.

Looking at my Verbal strategy is like gazing upon the night sky for the very first time. What are those lustrous objects in the sky? What am I, a little child, to make of this grand cosmic universe? In the next section, I will edify the tools I use to analyze and synthesize passages, as well as how and when to precisely apply those tools.

Section 2: Dual Modes of Thinking [see pdf version]
Section 3: Verbal Methodology - ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SECTIONS [see pdf version]
Section 4: Logic [see pdf version]
Section 5: The Anatomy of an Argument [see pdf version]
Section 6: Fallacies [see pdf version]
Section 7: Spotting Arguments [see pdf version]
Section 8: Application (Saree solves passages) IMPORTANT [see pdf version]

Section 9: Verbal Tips

Oh my, where to start?!

Sherlock Holmes’ Process of Elimination

· Question: why is a basic process of elimination strategy not sufficient?

· One of Sherlock Holmes most notable quotes is the following:“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”
· In my opinion, people tend to get carried away with feel-good premises, and end up choosing the incorrect answer choice. The Sherlock Holmes’ PoE strategy is demanding in so far as it requires the test-taker to prove that the premise that is being advocated is IMPOSSIBLE. What do I mean by impossible? That means one of two things (a) that nowhere in the passage can one find a single data point or any type of evidence to prove the premise true (b) the author would not agree with the premise.

· This is an exhaustive technique of approaching premises, but it is one, that in time, (through developing intuition) is one of the most rewarding MCAT Verbal strategies that I know of.

· For example, refer back to the passage concerning Social Darwinism (Example #3); I was not comfortable with the conclusion regarding homosexuals. However, I eliminated the other three answer choices as IMPOSSIBLE, and therefore, even though I was not comfortable with the answer and I didn’t think it was a probable answer (from my perspective) it was the right one to choose.

· The Sherlock Holmes’ PoE strategy divorces your experiences and therefore your biases from the MCAT Verbal passage. Yes, it is an exacting strategy, but well worth it.

Time Management

· Practice, practice, practice. This is the only way that I know of that one may begin to develop an intuition for MCAT Verbal passages. I recommend getting your hands on any resource available to you!

· Confidence (more on this later). Earlier on in my MCAT studies I had developed a troublesome habit of second-guessing my answer choices, and therefore, invariably, I would spend more time than desired on a single question. You must learn to trust yourself, and your intuition. Once you mistrust yourself then you end up with the following problem…

· Over-Analysis! Remember this line: over analysis leads to paralysis! Focus on what is relevant and do not analyze more than you have to. You see a man across the street from you, and you begin to analyze his character: his age, gait, weight, oh is he my Prince Charming? This is a classic high-school example of over-analyzing a situation. What is the relevance? None. If you deliberate for too long on answer choices not only are you improperly managing your time, but you are also confusing yourself. Do not hesitate to act! Do your duty and solve the question. Find pertinent information that will allow you to do your duty.



Post-Passage Analysis

There is nothing complicated about “post-game analysis”, and there need not be anything scary about it either. As stated earlier, there are two types of arguments: inductive and deductive arguments. Let’s review!

A deductive argument has three stages: 1. premise(s) 2. inference 3. Conclusion. If it is invalid or has one or more false premises, it will be unsound. An inductive argument: the premises actually provide the required degree of support for the conclusion, and then the argument is a good argument.

Summary: A valid argument transmits truth from the premises to the conclusion. All of the premises must be true for the truth to be transmitted.

· Therefore, an incorrect answer choice is selected because the test-taker has selected an incorrect premise and/or conclusion. This is why the Sherlock Holmes method is important!

· For a deductive argument: you must test premise(s) and inference(s)! If you review my example passages, you will see that I often make statements such as:

o Wild assumption!

o Not supported by evidence in the passage.

o Inference that is not supported by premises

· Always be sure to review your answers in the context of your methodology – inductive and deductive reasoning.

· An author once posed the following question at a book club meeting she attended: John Watson is Sherlock Holmes’ assistant and good friend. He wrote all of the detective cases the Mr Holmes worked on. Question: Why doesn’t Mr Watson display a mastery of deductive reasoning? Answer: He makes unfounded assumptions, because it is easy. Don’t think like Mr Watson, think like Mr Holmes!

· There are other ways of incorrectly answering a question such as:

o Misreading a question

o Lack of knowledge

· However, all of those cases invariably lead where one has selected an incorrect premise and/or conclusion.

Summary: To analyze why you selected an incorrect answer choice, you must first analyze where your inductive or deductive reasoning lead you astray. Which premises did you take for granted?

In Closing

Scoring well on the Verbal Section of the MCAT is no easy feat, and there is no singular way to score well. I’ve encountered, in the past several months, several people who sought out miracle stories, of individuals who scored 14 or 15 on the VR section due to some inherent advantage. I’m here to tell you there are no miracle people. To paragraph Mr Feynman - there’s no talent or special miracle ability. There is no special MCAT Verbal gene, hormone, or potion that one can make use of it to achieve a better score. It comes through practice, studying, reading, learning, being curious, and devoting a great deal of time.

There is no royal road to knowledge – Euclid


Therefore, the potential to score well resides in every single test-taker. Whether you realize that potential or not is up to you.


In Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow wanted a brain, the Tin Man a heart, the Lion courage and Dorothy to return to Kansas.

The Wizard solved the first three (with a diploma, a testimonial and a medal) but it took the Good Witch of the North to explain to Dorothy that all she had to do was click her heels while repeating “there’s no place like home.”

So why the need for the flying monkeys, talking trees, dissolving witches and munchkins before Dorothy’s enlightenment?

The Witch explained that, while Dorothy always had the power to go home, she had to learn it on her own.

Dorothy vowed that “if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard.”

The solution resides within you. I hope that my method is of value to you.

All the best,

:love:Saree:flame:

Lol isn't Draupadi supposed to be like the most beautiful woman in the entire Mahabharata...

Anyway, your post seems to be an amalgamation of all the currently accepted VR strategies - which is not a bad thing. It seems like more of a compilation than any new idea or strategy. Its clear you enjoy writing and apparently to an audience, but I think much of this stuff is unnecessary... Again, I say this not to take anything away from your process or your post, but to dissuade others from trying to implement what appears to me to be a rather cumbersome potpurri of techniques... I personally never had time to go over the three stages of a deductive argument...

Also, some MCAT VR questions just do not follow logic or deductive reasoning or whatever. Many times 2 of 4 answers may be equally "right" based on logic, but it is a, for lack of a better word, 'gut' feeling or emergent intuition that comes from the totality of the passage. Often times it is indeed just the right answer because the test-maker said it was. Sometimes, a throw-away part of one sentence is all the justification the test needs to make that the right answer, even though it flies in the face of all the deductive reasoning and logic of the rest of the passage.

Specifically, I disagree that one should read the passage in 3 minutes or less. IMO, one should read the passage being engaged as possible, read every word in order, do not repeat read sentences or paragraphs, just keep going (credit @BloodySurgeon from a few years ago I believe), and however long it takes (within reason) is fine.

I also disagree with reading the questions before the passage, because 1. it subconsciously biases your reading of the passage ("oh this part is extra important because a question is asked about it, I better pay attention to it and re-read it several times to make sure I really get it" 2. you may forget the questions anyway while reading the passage so you've just wasted precious seconds.

FWIW, what worked for me was trying to be engaged as possible in the reading, reading everything once through to begin with, and referring to the passage as needed. 90%+ of the time the answer is somewhat straight forward. Disclaimer: I "only" got an 11 on my VR section.

It also seems to me to be a bit premature making a VR strategy without having received your mcat score back....

Anyway good luck to you.
 
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bookmarked!!

and btw I totally inspired that title didnt I? :p @DoctorInASaree

Yes, yes you did! :flame: I can't wait to finish with the MCAT...you're way ahead of me! I have some serious catching up to do on that show. :D My brother loves Karna, like you do, but I will never forgive Karna for what he did.:(

Lol isn't Draupadi supposed to be like the most beautiful woman in the entire Mahabharata...

Anyway, your post seems to be an amalgamation of all the currently accepted VR strategies - which is not a bad thing. It seems like more of a compilation than any new idea or strategy. Its clear you enjoy writing and apparently to an audience, but I think much of this stuff is unnecessary... Again, I say this not to take anything away from your process or your post, but to dissuade others from trying to implement what appears to me to be a rather cumbersome potpurri of techniques... I personally never had time to go over the three stages of a deductive argument...

Also, some MCAT VR questions just do not follow logic or deductive reasoning or whatever. Many times 2 of 4 answers may be equally "right" based on logic, but it is a, for lack of a better word, 'gut' feeling or emergent intuition that comes from the totality of the passage. Often times it is indeed just the right answer because the test-maker said it was. Sometimes, a throw-away part of one sentence is all the justification the test needs to make that the right answer, even though it flies in the face of all the deductive reasoning and logic of the rest of the passage.

Specifically, I disagree that one should read the passage in 3 minutes or less. IMO, one should read the passage being engaged as possible, read every word in order, do not repeat read sentences or paragraphs, just keep going (credit @BloodySurgeon from a few years ago I believe), and however long it takes (within reason) is fine.

I also disagree with reading the questions before the passage, because 1. it subconsciously biases your reading of the passage ("oh this part is extra important because a question is asked about it, I better pay attention to it and re-read it several times to make sure I really get it" 2. you may forget the questions anyway while reading the passage so you've just wasted precious seconds.

FWIW, what worked for me was trying to be engaged as possible in the reading, reading everything once through to begin with, and referring to the passage as needed. 90%+ of the time the answer is somewhat straight forward. Disclaimer: I "only" got an 11 on my VR section.

It also seems to me to be a bit premature making a VR strategy without having received your mcat score back....

Anyway good luck to you.
I believe I began my primer stating this is only one perspective of looking at the Verbal section. I, in no capacity, claimed that this guide is the final perspective on Verbal, and that I have the final say or a monopoly on Verbal strategies. No, no, no! Also, I don't believe to have claimed to be presenting any new knowledge! Inductive reasoning, Deductive reasoning, Logic, analyzing arguments - these are things that have been around long before me, and I expect, long after me.:p

Saree why did you add Section's 3-7 to your primer?


If you think that approaching a verbal passage via logic is too cumbersome, then I respect your perspective. Sections 3-7 deals with logic and arguments. Why is this important? It is important because the author is making arguments or proposing arguments articulated by others. It is required of us to meticulously analyze those arguments. My methodology is concerned with exactly how to do that.

I disagree that answers are right based off of a "gut feeling" and/or "just because the author said so". I believe that there is at least one reason as to why one has selected the correct answer. I have never come across a single Verbal question, where I cannot discern a precise reason for an answer being correct. I say this from solving passages from EK, TPR, TBR, Kaplan, and AAMC. This is indubitably demonstrated in my guide through the use of examples.

Time Management

I agree with your statements on reading the passage. One should not skip words, be absentminded, and re-read paragraphs or statements. You say within reason, I define "within reason" as three minutes. Why? A Verbal passage must be solved in six to seven minutes. I find that if I devote more than 50% of my time towards reading the passage; it does not leave me with enough time to properly answer the questions. Yes, one must devote a reasonable amount of time towards reading the passage, but also towards answering passage questions. It is a question of balance, and I am presenting the balance that works for me. :)

Reading Questions first?

Yes, of course it creates a bias with respect to how one reads the passage.
That is the point! It's like going to a grocery store:

Scenario A: Let me go to the store and figure out what I need as I peruse through Aisles 1-8.

Scenario B: My wife has given me a grocery list, and I know with exact precision which items I need to purchase (unless I want to reap my wife's fiery wrath! :D).

I will argue in favor of Scenario B. Am I discriminating against other goods and services that the store offers? Yes, but with good reason. I don't much care about the contents of a Verbal passage, because my duty is solely to answer the questions. I go over this in great detail in the PDF version of the primer. Furthermore, I never forget what information I need to answer questions. I go over what information I extract from reading questions in my primer.

Efficacy of Saree's Methodology

The methods presented in this guide may not answer every question. For the simple reason because I don’t know and nobody knows the questions that will be asked of us. This guide is a systematic approach to most of the questions that one will encounter in the Verbal section. Think of it like a probability distribution, no one can account for the left hand or right hand tail of the distribution curve. However, if I look at a passage with say 6 questions, and 4 of them can be analyzed using my method then that is 67% right away. It is much better than the alternative of no method at all, or a method that is lacking logic based analysis.

Yes, I understand, that some people may answer Verbal questions based on their "gut feelings", and that is a valid technique. I'm confident that people have scored well using such a technique. However, for people of a similar disposition to me, that simply isn't good enough. I go over this with my Sherlock Holmes strategy, and I do state that it is a demanding strategy. However, if one would like to be confident of their answer selection, then that is what it takes. It isn't easy, nor is it for the faint of heart.

Further Discussion

Perhaps, I am being premature in posting a Verbal primer, if one defines maturity in this context as the experience of writing the MCAT. However, I believe in the cumulative progression of knowledge, and this is my contribution. I wholeheartedly welcome the perspective of those individuals who have had the experience of writing the MCAT, and I will fervently embrace their contributions to this thread.

I thank you for your critique, and I hope that you continue to share your perspective with us in this thread. Congratulations on scoring 11 on the VR section :).

I would like to reiterate what I stated in my second post: I am looking forward to a valuable discussion on anything Verbal related :D Let us not solely discuss the contents of my primer, but all Verbal related strategies and methodologies. This is a complicated and important topic, and there is not a singular solution.

Note: Please be advised that the opening post you have read is analogous to a mini-book presented in a magazine; with the full contents being published in a book. For a detailed explanation of my methodology please refer to the PDF. I explain in great detail how one should apply my procedures, and provide four examples. It is imperative that you read the examples provided at the end of the primer.
 
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lazyindy

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I did about 6 passages today from TPR hyperlearning and only got 4 wrong!! I am so ecstatic right now I can't even describe it. THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR METHOD!!!!! :clap::clap:

I think we have a very similar thought-process when it comes to answering questions so that may explain why this method works for us. You are simply awesome!!

I highly urge people to give this method a try, its worthwhile.
 
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gene_pool

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Very cool, definitely will give this a careful read!

After reading a few books on skill development, deliberate practice, etc. I am unsure what would be the best way to fully implement and master each aspect of this strategy (or any verbal strategy in general)? Do people that do well implement strategies as a whole when they practice, or do they focus on working on developing individual aspects first? Books I've read seem to advocate for developing/drilling one specific skill at a time and then putting yourself in real situations. For example: putting more focus on Sherlock Holmes Method during one session, and then developing the main idea skills during another session.

So my question is this: do you feel that when practicing verbal strategy, one should try and drill down specific skills in the beginning and work their way towards developing the strategy as a whole? Or should one try to implement the strategy in its entirety from the get-go? What would you think is most efficient? How did you, specifically, go about developing certain skills?

I probably should just try for myself but I also want to see what your take is on this!

Some background: I just took my MCAT and feel like I absolutely bombed verbal (poor concentration because of horrible physics section and poor rest). I felt like I had a strong strategy from EK Verbal, but I guess I never mastered it correctly (never broke 9 on practice, but also crammed the strategy into my last three weeks). Since taking the Cat, I've just been reading A TON of books for leisure, because I'm afraid to start practicing Verbal again for real and because I don't have much materials right now. Definitely want to get it right this time though. I'll be re-taking in January. Thanks for any help!
 
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I did about 6 passages today from TPR hyperlearning and only got 4 wrong!! I am so ecstatic right now I can't even describe it. THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR METHOD!!!!! :clap::clap:

I think we have a very similar thought-process when it comes to answering questions so that may explain why this method works for us. You are simply awesome!!

I highly urge people to give this method a try, its worthwhile.
How are you doing it? I've received numerous questions asking about the "why are you reading questions first, and how do you find that it helps you?".

What say you, Karna? :D

@gene_pool - Not ignoring you; I will have a reply tonight :D

Happy studying. :flame:
 
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Hey Saree, is everything you wrote on your pdf? I want to be able to sit down one day and read everything. I need to do well on verbal(worst area for me). Thank you!
 
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Hey Saree, is everything you wrote on your pdf? I want to be able to sit down one day and read everything. I need to do well on verbal(worst area for me). Thank you!
Technically, yes. Although I hope to make additions to it as this thread progresses, and others contribute :) Try it out for yourself, and let us know what worked and what didn't work for you!
 

lazyindy

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How are you doing it? I've received numerous questions asking about the "why are you reading questions first, and how do you find that it helps you?".

What say you, Karna? :D

@gene_pool - Not ignoring you; I will have a reply tonight :D

Happy studying. :flame:
Hey sorry for the late reply. I find that reading the questions first allows me to not only get a glimpse of the content of the passage but also the author's position/argument!

I'm going to use Passage III from EK 101 test 7 to illustrate an example:

question number 8: Author's reference to...."antiquated technologies"
question number 9: According to the passage, "system failure" of Unites States overseas presence would result in....
question number 10: According to the passage, the Cold War design...
question number 11: According to the passage, why is "our overseas presence..perilously close to the point of system failure"?

just by reading these 4 questions you can deduce that the author will be talking about U.S. foreign policy/relations with other nations. Not only that you can also safely guess that the author thinks U.S. foreign relations is not in a favorable state and one of the underlying reasons could be "antiquated technologies" from the question stem in number 8. Now you can attack the passage already knowing a major part of the thesis or crux (as you like to call it) will be. This allows you to read with a purpose to pick out the author's references, justifications, and examples from the rest of the body of the passage in relation to the main idea. Then when you finish reading the passage you can quickly answer the questions because they're already in the back of your mind and the answer will be obvious most of the time if you really understood the author's argument and got a feel for his tone.

People will say you will forget the questions once you read them but this is not the case when you read them with a purpose of extracting as much information about the passage content as possible. Your brain actually remembers what you read if read with intent.
 
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Thoughts on time management with respect to Verbal passages?
 

lazyindy

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Thoughts on time management with respect to Verbal passages?
I usually time myself 7 mins per passage and find myself finishing at or near the time limit. On the real exam you get about 8 and half minutes so by practicing under more stringent timed conditions, you train yourself to read effectively (quickly). This gives you a few more minutes to look back at the passage if you're unsure about a question.

the 7 minutes per passage and your strategy of reading the questions first have tremendously improved my scoring. Really hope I can hit in the 13+ range soon.
 
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I usually time myself 7 mins per passage and find myself finishing at or near the time limit. On the real exam you get about 8 and half minutes so by practicing under more stringent timed conditions, you train yourself to read effectively (quickly). This gives you a few more minutes to look back at the passage if you're unsure about a question.

the 7 minutes per passage and your strategy of reading the questions first have tremendously improved my scoring. Really hope I can hit in the 13+ range soon.
Call me silly, but I wasn't aware of the 8.5minute time constraint. Thanks for the information!

For what it's worth here's my perspective: the challenge I faced with scoring 13+ was: myself. I knew that in order to score 13+ I could not afford to make silly mistakes, and that had a negative impact on my confidence. I began second guessing almost all of my answers 'hey Saree, are you sure about that answer choice? If you get it wrong you won't score 13+!'. I'm not sure if that helps, but for me, I had to believe in myself (methodology and reasoning). Oh, and practice helps a lot :). Also, given your recent practice scores, you're already on track to scoring 13+. :woot:
 
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lazyindy

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Call me silly, but I wasn't aware of the 8.5minute time constraint. Thanks for the information!

For what it's worth here's my perspective: the challenge I faced with scoring 13+ was: myself. I knew that in order to score 13+ I could not afford to make silly mistakes, and that had a negative impact on my confidence. I began second guessing almost all of my answers 'hey Saree, are you sure about that answer choice? If you get it wrong you won't score 13+!'. I'm not sure if that helps, but for me, I had to believe in myself (methodology and reasoning). Oh, and practice helps a lot :). Also, given your recent practice scores, you're already on track to scoring 13+. :woot:
I'm sort of the opposite: Whenever I feel too confident about an answer it usually turns out being wrong haha! So this is why I try to look for the "least wrong" answer which is neutral in tone. It might not feel good bubbling the wishy-washy answer in but if its correct who cares eh?

Thanks and given that you're a verbal goddess ;) I'm sure a 15 for you is in sight!
 
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I'm sort of the opposite: Whenever I feel too confident about an answer it usually turns out being wrong haha! So this is why I try to look for the "least wrong" answer which is neutral in tone. It might not feel good bubbling the wishy-washy answer in but if its correct who cares eh?

Thanks and given that you're a verbal goddess ;) I'm sure a 15 for you is in sight!
You have a point! One cannot let themselves be blinded by arrogance (either that, or too much MB for me lately). I agree, that sometimes we have to settle for the most probable answer, because that is reflected in real life. It's the balance of probabilities strategy (Sherlock Holmes uses this quite often), where we look for the most likely answer choice - this reasoning is of course grounded in our intuition and understand of the passage and the author's perspective.

Oh, you flatter me! :D

Very cool, definitely will give this a careful read!

After reading a few books on skill development, deliberate practice, etc. I am unsure what would be the best way to fully implement and master each aspect of this strategy (or any verbal strategy in general)? Do people that do well implement strategies as a whole when they practice, or do they focus on working on developing individual aspects first? Books I've read seem to advocate for developing/drilling one specific skill at a time and then putting yourself in real situations. For example: putting more focus on Sherlock Holmes Method during one session, and then developing the main idea skills during another session.

So my question is this: do you feel that when practicing verbal strategy, one should try and drill down specific skills in the beginning and work their way towards developing the strategy as a whole? Or should one try to implement the strategy in its entirety from the get-go? What would you think is most efficient? How did you, specifically, go about developing certain skills?

I probably should just try for myself but I also want to see what your take is on this!

Some background: I just took my MCAT and feel like I absolutely bombed verbal (poor concentration because of horrible physics section and poor rest). I felt like I had a strong strategy from EK Verbal, but I guess I never mastered it correctly (never broke 9 on practice, but also crammed the strategy into my last three weeks). Since taking the Cat, I've just been reading A TON of books for leisure, because I'm afraid to start practicing Verbal again for real and because I don't have much materials right now. Definitely want to get it right this time though. I'll be re-taking in January. Thanks for any help!
Yes, I agree with that statement. No one sits and dreams of their strategy in one night, we accumulate experiences, ideas, etc. over time. It's a cumulative process, so no, I would not expect anyone to be able to fully understand and apply these concepts in a short period of time (given that the concepts are new to them).

For your edification, consider this: In order to successfully apply the Sherlock Holmes strategy, you must have an ossified understanding of inductive and deductive reasoning. So, I would therefore suggest, that you first understand the two different types of reasoning before moving on to strategies and my procedure. Furthermore, you may, along the way, develop your own strategies and magic tricks!

Finally - I did not learn these things in one sitting. My method has been a work in progress for many years. :)

--- EK? Does EK really present you with a strategy? Or just tips? I feel as though many of the MCAT prep books throw test-takers in the deep end of the pool and expect us to swim. So, perhaps, it is time that you craft your own methodology (I hope my primer can be of assistance in that endeavor). Reading books is quite important, I could suggest a few, although I will readily admit that I am partial to classic Western literature.

Last but not least: The essence of my methodology is to equip oneself with tools to understand the passage and its questions. You want to maximize your understanding, while minimizing errors, yes? The only way I know how is to understand what an argument is, what types of arguments are there, and how to (in)validate arguments.

Question: How do I cross out incorrect statements? Answer: Sherlock Holmes! Inductive & Deductive reasoning! Logical fallacies! Those are the only ways, that I am aware of, to confidently select the correct answer choice.

Do the premises (the assumptions) add up? Do they make sense? Are the corroborated by evidence presented in the passage? If so, is the evidence provided weak or strong? How does the author perceive those arguments?

I believe this video to be the most succinct explanation:

Question: Can you invalidate the premises - the guess?

If you can then it is wrong. If the guess does not agree with experiment, or in our case, evidence provided in the passage, then it is wrong. Strike out that answer choice. Verbal tests logical reasoning - scientific reasoning. Understanding the scientific method is imperative.

In the video, Mr Feynman states that: one can disprove any definite theory. To invalidate guesses or premises, I use the SH strategy, which is founded upon inductive and deductive reasoning.

In conclusion: You can disprove or prove any statement any question presented to you in the Verbal section of the MCAT if you are equipped with the requisite tools.
 
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Hi Saree,

Your work has definitely not gone unnoticed. Thank you for your immense contribution!

I began reading your first primer, but as you already know, it is quite long. I wish I had come across it years ago and had it by my side as something I utilized in expanding my mind and modes of thinking. In any case, your condensed version looks great. Thanks again!
 
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gene_pool

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Hey @DoctorInASaree, perfect post and a great way to look at things.

I think I have been trying to look too hard for a perfect approach and expecting it to work right away, quickly testing and discarding strategies before giving myself a chance to develop any of the real skills needed to do well in verbal. I like the metaphor you used about jumping off the deep end. Jumping off the deep end and just randomly trying different motions without sticking to any specific movements would probably lead someone to drown. Like you mentioned, swimming and other skill development comes from continuous honing of certain skills. Specifically, I like how you recommend honing in on the right skills - the one's that will ultimately lead to results (logic, etc.). Also, what you said about developing our own personal methodology really struck a lightbulb, too. We all have our subtle differences on how we think, read, perceive, and analyze things. You don't have to go around following other people's methods word for word.

Thanks for the great post! You really spelled things out with regards to the actual purpose of having a methodology. I'm a person who is always looking to "hack" everything and find shortcuts. I'll try to be more patient with Verbal this time around. I still haven't started my second round of studying for the MCAT, but will definitely take this advice and give your primer a good read. I'm sure it will help and I'll chime in later to tell you how it goes :)
 
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Thyr0id

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Wow, I am going to try this out later! i've been struggling with verbal, its been the bane of my existence thus far xD Ill give this a go with TPR Hyperlearning later tonight im actually excited.... man im freaking weird.
 
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Wow, I am going to try this out later! i've been struggling with verbal, its been the bane of my existence thus far xD Ill give this a go with TPR Hyperlearning later tonight im actually excited.... man im freaking weird.
Do let us know how it went :)
 
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I read your PDF, and I have a serious question.

Is this the way you methodically answer the questions, or is this a very detailed explanation of the innate and automatic processes in your mind?

When I read your work, it was easy to see your general "verbal" skill. Although you describe your thought processes very well, I think the time that would be required to use such a schematic wouldn't be effective for someone with a weaker "verbal" skill than you. If they were already strong in that skill and could fully absorb your thought process, they would be scoring at least a 10 by now.

Forgive me if I'm wrong.

I'm also not knocking you. This method is one of the most thoughtful presentations of someone's strategy, but the MCAT is scaled, so people will eventually fall within their natural range no matter what they do within a realistic time constraint.
 
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I read your PDF, and I have a serious question.

Is this the way you methodically answer the questions, or is this a very detailed explanation of the innate and automatic processes in your mind?

When I read your work, it was easy to see your general "verbal" skill. Although you describe your thought processes very well, I think the time that would be required to use such a schematic wouldn't be effective for someone with a weaker "verbal" skill than you. If they were already strong in that skill and could fully absorb your thought process, they would be scoring at least a 10 by now.

Forgive me if I'm wrong.

I'm also not knocking you. This method is one of the most thoughtful presentations of someone's strategy, but the MCAT is scaled, so people will eventually fall within their natural range no matter what they do within a realistic time constraint.
I don't know what natural range means :confused: I don't think anyone has a natural score. I believe, that at some level, everyone has an understanding of the content in my primer. So, either they have a bit more information to absorb, or they know more than what is covered in my primer. I don't believe that anyone studying for the MCAT starts their car on empty :p.

You are quite correct. While reading a verbal passage, one should not be asking themselves if sentence A contains an argument or not, and whether said argument is inductive or deductive. The goal of the Methodology section is to familiarize the reader with the anatomy of an argument, and inductive and deductive reasoning, with the intention of developing an intuition for those concepts. Developing intuition takes time, but I believe as one continues to solve Verbal passages, that intuition will begin to materialize.

When I first began reading Verbal passages, I meticulously dissected a few passages, to establish which statements were arguments and which types of arguments they were. Furthermore, I had to test the arguments that the author was making. Reading methodology is fascinating, but precisely applying the methodology is equally important (and useful).

To provide you with a direct answer - my methodology (including sections on logic and the anatomy of an argument) informs my strategy and they way that I approach verbal passages.
 
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Update!

After two weeks of not solving a single Verbal passage...I decided to start again this morning :) I'm not sure if I mentioned this in an earlier posting, but I don't think that there's a problem with referring back to the passage if need be. I know EK urges their readers not to look back at the passage (most likely due to time constraints), but I find it to be quite useful and not taxing.

I also tried to eliminate, Step 3) Deduce the crux of the passage[<10 seconds], and the results were less than desirable. Afterwards, I decided to increase that amount to twenty seconds (maximum), and it worked wonders!

Timing*:

constraint: 7minutes (optimal)
20 second scan of passage Qs
3minutes to read the passage
20 seconds to discern the crux
-----------------------------------
Total: 3minutes 40s...round up to 4minutes that leaves one with 3 minutes to solve 5-7 questions. At a minimum, that's 25seconds per question (max 36s). Which is a lot of time, if one considers that we pre-read the questions already!

If one encounters a cantankerous passage, we have 8minutes!


*Using generous numbers.

I just realized that the title of this thread, Verbsies, may be slightly misleading...but I have no idea how to rename it to Verbal :(
 
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gene_pool

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Hey @DoctorInASaree

Okay, so I've barely started getting back into doing passages today.

So far I've tried your methods and have gotten decent results. Your ideas on using logic over emotion has really helped make the correct answers stick out much more. I've been practicing my "if and then logic" and it seems to have really help my thinking so far. Timing now is my biggest problem. I'll need to quicker at reading questions and getting the crux, but I think that will come with the practice.

Quick Questions:

About how many passages would you practice at a time or on a daily basis? When would you do the analysis: right after or the day after?

For others:
I highly recommend these methods! Knowing a little bit about basic logic can really expose wrong answers fast! This is the antidote for those who subconciously bring outside information to your answering process..

Thanks Saree, I'll try to keep you updated on progress
 
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Hey @DoctorInASaree

Okay, so I've barely started getting back into doing passages today.

So far I've tried your methods and have gotten decent results. Your ideas on using logic over emotion has really helped make the correct answers stick out much more. I've been practicing my "if and then logic" and it seems to have really help my thinking so far. Timing now is my biggest problem. I'll need to quicker at reading questions and getting the crux, but I think that will come with the practice.

Quick Questions:

About how many passages would you practice at a time or on a daily basis? When would you do the analysis: right after or the day after?

For others:
I highly recommend these methods! Knowing a little bit about basic logic can really expose wrong answers fast! This is the antidote for those who subconciously bring outside information to your answering process..

Thanks Saree, I'll try to keep you updated on progress
Thanks for the feedback! It sounds like you're doing well, and I'm glad to hear it :)

Here's what I suggest: don't time yourself!

Solve at least ten passages without timing yourself and focus on what is slowing you down.

As far as identifying the crux of the passage...MCAT Verbal questions identify the crux for you. By pre-reading the passage Qs you should already have a fairly good grip on what the crux of the passage is about. Question - why would MCAT authors ask you questions that are not relevant to the central theme of the passage? Of course they wouldn't, because the questions deal with the central theme of the passage. Therefore, you should be able to deduce the crux of from the passage Qs. At the very least, pre-reading questions will put you on the right track towards identifying the crux as you read the passage. This is why I find pre-reading questions to be invaluable.

Questions: At least 3 verbal passages a day. I find the verbal passages...entertaining...fun :D Analysis? Oh, right after! I'm a very curious person, and I don't think I would have the patience to wait until the day after...
 

Doug Underhill

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Hi, I'm wondering on what basis you're advancing this method. Do you have a MCAT score, or some AAMC FL scores? You mentioned in another thread that you still had AAMC FLs to take. I got an 11 VR on the real deal and scored between 11 and 14 on the FLs. I was not able to discern any change in difficulty between the sections I scored 11 on and the sections I scored 14 on. Indeed, some of the questions seemed to be pure luck in whether or not you thought like the passage author. I feel like the best way to drive your score up to the high 30s-and that's all you'll need for any school-is to master PS and BS and just go for a 10 in VR, which you can achieve in practice. PS and BS seem far more skill-dependent and easy to rack up the points on.(although the recent PS sections have been terrifying)

In many ways, you shouldn't be overthinking things on VR. It is possible to get a 10 with simple reading comprehension.
 
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Do you have any suggestions on how I might use the VR SA? I purchased it today and was thinking of splitting the 120 questions into two 60 minute sessions. But when I was two passages in, I realized that the easier passages are in the beginning, so my intended strategy won't really work. Would you recommend timing each passage individually instead?

The thing is, I usually end up figuring out what the right answer is when I have a lot of time per passage. I only make comprehension errors when I am trying to finish each passage in under 8 minutes.

What should I do? Focus on familiarizing myself with the question types and not worry about timing? Or finish each passage under strict timed conditions? What would you recommend? Thanks!
 
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Also, how useful is the VR SA in its predictive value? I am questioning whether or not it will actually serve any purpose.
 
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@MinervaMcGonagall

Hello Professor! :D

Verbal SA -

Timing? A bit of both actually. I would split this up into at least 3 blocks. First block not timed, only several passages Second block timed session (8min per passage minimum) with review immediately after. What were the differences between the 1st and 2nd block? Any mistakes? If so, why? Third block Solve remaining passages Fourth block if required to finish remaining passages

The 8minute time constraint will almost always be present, and that is something that you will have to adapt to. I never look at the timer when I solve passages (regardless of the subjection section). I never think about how much time I have left, or how much time I have to spend per passage.

Verbal SA objective: To acclimate yourself with Verbal PoE and question types. By the time you are ready to write the MCAT; you want your PoE to be lightning quick. At that point, you won't be worried about time.

Predictive value? I don't know. To me, it's practice. If you are scoring well in non-timed sessions, I think it boils down to one thing: you need a faster PoE, and that will only come through practice!


---------

I'm going to be overhauling this guide with a lot of goodies next week :D:D Thank you so much to those who have sent me PMs and posted in this thread; your input has been quite valuable :woot:

This time I will be posting an abbreviated version :p

On that note, is there anything specific that anyone here would like to see?
 
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@MinervaMcGonagall

Hello Professor! :D

Verbal SA -

Timing? A bit of both actually. I would split this up into at least 3 blocks. First block not timed, only several passages Second block timed session (8min per passage minimum) with review immediately after. What were the differences between the 1st and 2nd block? Any mistakes? If so, why? Third block Solve remaining passages Fourth block if required to finish remaining passages

The 8minute time constraint will almost always be present, and that is something that you will have to adapt to. I never look at the timer when I solve passages (regardless of the subjection section). I never think about how much time I have left, or how much time I have to spend per passage.

Verbal SA objective: To acclimate yourself with Verbal PoE and question types. By the time you are ready to write the MCAT; you want your PoE to be lightning quick. At that point, you won't be worried about time.

Predictive value? I don't know. To me, it's practice. If you are scoring well in non-timed sessions, I think it boils down to one thing: you need a faster PoE, and that will only come through practice!


---------

I'm going to be overhauling this guide with a lot of goodies next week :D:D Thank you so much to those who have sent me PMs and posted in this thread; your input has been quite valuable :woot:

This time I will be posting an abbreviated version :p

On that note, is there anything specific that anyone here would like to see?

Thanks, Draupadi!
 
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ConfusedChemist

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Edit Oct 6th: Download PDF at the bottom of this post. Please read the methodology and example section!

Introduction


Hello. You can call me Saree.

Like you, I am studying and preparing to write the MCAT with little time to spare. I have devoted the past several months to the singular pursuit of attaining a high score on the MCAT, and I hope that you, my dear reader, share a similar fervent desire.

I will not do you the dishonor of preaching to you about the difficulty of the MCAT. I believe that you are all too aware of the arduous task awaits you. However, one cannot expect to enter the battlefield with a defeated mindset and expect victory. One's psychological disposition is of utmost importance, and I recommend approaching the MCAT with an unflappable confidence.

I believe that the Verbal section of the MCAT has been received as the most difficult section test, and therefore as a corollary, we test-takers devote an inordinate amount of time seeking to master the Verbal section. The question before us, then, is precisely how to achieve our goal.

I would like to propose one such method – the Draupadi Method. My verbal strategy is based on how I think, and it is informed by my previous experiences. Therefore, my "process" - my strategy - is unique to me. It may or may not work for you! I sincerely believe that life, and the progression of knowledge is cumulative – we are constantly adding to our knowledge base. So, please, if any part of my primer is of value to you, use it! If you can adapt it to your existing methodology all the better!


There are many ways to reach the mountain-top, and this primer simply offers one perspective.



All the best,

DoctorInASaree

Section 1: Procedure

0) Flow of Information [constant - given]

-Your methodology. Your framework.
- As you move from passage to passage this is the singular constant. My methodology, as stated above, is based upon my own unique experiences and perspectives. I will edify several indispensable methods as you progress through this primer.

1) Read the Questions[<20 seconds]

- Read them in numeric order
- Do NOT read the answer choices
- Before immersing yourself into the passage, imagine for a moment that you are cooking a feast for a large banquet hall. People have ordered meals X, Y, and Z, and your task as the chef is to figure out a) the requisite ingredients & b) the procedure in which to mix them all together (quantities, etc.) in order to produce a meal.
My technique employs a similar methodology. By reading the questions first I am doing two things:
1. I am extracting the theme (crux) of the passage. I can map out the structure of the passage and what the author has argued simply by reading the questions.
2. Most importantly, like the chef, I am figuring out which details (ingredients) I must attain or understand in order to answer the questions (produce a meal).

- Lastly, this will stop you from thinking about previous passages. You will be turning your brain's focus to the current passage as you begin to focus on the passage's content before the passage itself is read.

2) Read the passage
[<3 minutes]
- Fairly obvious...read the passage! ;)Each and every word! DO NOT speed-read - no matter how skilled you believe yourself to be. There is no reason to rush through the verbal section. Be calm and pay attention to each and every word the author has written on the page, for they have done so for a reason. Do not miss out on vital details!
- Read with purpose: you know what the passage is demanding of you (the questions), so read with the intent of answering those questions.
- Your duty is not to engage in an academic quest of figuring out some deep mystery about the subject matter. Your duty is to answer the questions - that's it. Everything else is irrelevant.

3) Deduce the crux of the passage[<10 seconds]
- I cannot stress how important this step is.
- Ask yourself the following question: how can I best summarize the contents of the entire passage into one statement. What is this passage truly about? What is the author conveying to the reader about topic Z?
Intro/concluding paragraphs -> contain the crux of the passage - what the author believes. In the “sandwich paragraphs” one will find supporting and/or contrasting arguments which reveals how and why the author agrees or disagrees. How does the author reach his/her conclusions? Premises! How does the author validate their premises?
- How does one go about testing the value of premises? By employing logic, and testing the validity of statements by identifying the presence of logical fallacies, or lack thereof.
- Take a deep breath of air because it is time to begin answering passage questions.

4) Answer the questions[<3.5 minutes]
- At this point, you know the methodology, the crux of the passage, arguments that support or weaken the author's position, the premises that underlie the author's conclusion, etc. Have no fear, and answer the questions!

Aside: I apply my Verbal strategy to the other two sections of the MCAT. Instead of reading the passage (and their wasteful two paragraphs which contain an introduction to the mechanisms of a toilet - looking at your TBR Ch7), look for key equations, tables of values, and graphs.

Looking at my Verbal strategy is like gazing upon the night sky for the very first time. What are those lustrous objects in the sky? What am I, a little child, to make of this grand cosmic universe? In the next section, I will edify the tools I use to analyze and synthesize passages, as well as how and when to precisely apply those tools.

Section 2: Dual Modes of Thinking [see pdf version]
Section 3: Verbal Methodology - ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SECTIONS [see pdf version]
Section 4: Logic [see pdf version]
Section 5: The Anatomy of an Argument [see pdf version]
Section 6: Fallacies [see pdf version]
Section 7: Spotting Arguments [see pdf version]
Section 8: Application (Saree solves passages) IMPORTANT [see pdf version]

Section 9: Verbal Tips

Oh my, where to start?!

Sherlock Holmes’ Process of Elimination

· Question: why is a basic process of elimination strategy not sufficient?

· One of Sherlock Holmes most notable quotes is the following:“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”
· In my opinion, people tend to get carried away with feel-good premises, and end up choosing the incorrect answer choice. The Sherlock Holmes’ PoE strategy is demanding in so far as it requires the test-taker to prove that the premise that is being advocated is IMPOSSIBLE. What do I mean by impossible? That means one of two things (a) that nowhere in the passage can one find a single data point or any type of evidence to prove the premise true (b) the author would not agree with the premise.

· This is an exhaustive technique of approaching premises, but it is one, that in time, (through developing intuition) is one of the most rewarding MCAT Verbal strategies that I know of.

· For example, refer back to the passage concerning Social Darwinism (Example #3); I was not comfortable with the conclusion regarding homosexuals. However, I eliminated the other three answer choices as IMPOSSIBLE, and therefore, even though I was not comfortable with the answer and I didn’t think it was a probable answer (from my perspective) it was the right one to choose.

· The Sherlock Holmes’ PoE strategy divorces your experiences and therefore your biases from the MCAT Verbal passage. Yes, it is an exacting strategy, but well worth it.

Time Management

· Practice, practice, practice. This is the only way that I know of that one may begin to develop an intuition for MCAT Verbal passages. I recommend getting your hands on any resource available to you!

· Confidence (more on this later). Earlier on in my MCAT studies I had developed a troublesome habit of second-guessing my answer choices, and therefore, invariably, I would spend more time than desired on a single question. You must learn to trust yourself, and your intuition. Once you mistrust yourself then you end up with the following problem…

· Over-Analysis! Remember this line: over analysis leads to paralysis! Focus on what is relevant and do not analyze more than you have to. You see a man across the street from you, and you begin to analyze his character: his age, gait, weight, oh is he my Prince Charming? This is a classic high-school example of over-analyzing a situation. What is the relevance? None. If you deliberate for too long on answer choices not only are you improperly managing your time, but you are also confusing yourself. Do not hesitate to act! Do your duty and solve the question. Find pertinent information that will allow you to do your duty.



Post-Passage Analysis

There is nothing complicated about “post-game analysis”, and there need not be anything scary about it either. As stated earlier, there are two types of arguments: inductive and deductive arguments. Let’s review!

A deductive argument has three stages: 1. premise(s) 2. inference 3. Conclusion. If it is invalid or has one or more false premises, it will be unsound. An inductive argument: the premises actually provide the required degree of support for the conclusion, and then the argument is a good argument.

Summary: A valid argument transmits truth from the premises to the conclusion. All of the premises must be true for the truth to be transmitted.

· Therefore, an incorrect answer choice is selected because the test-taker has selected an incorrect premise and/or conclusion. This is why the Sherlock Holmes method is important!

· For a deductive argument: you must test premise(s) and inference(s)! If you review my example passages, you will see that I often make statements such as:

o Wild assumption!

o Not supported by evidence in the passage.

o Inference that is not supported by premises

· Always be sure to review your answers in the context of your methodology – inductive and deductive reasoning.

· An author once posed the following question at a book club meeting she attended: John Watson is Sherlock Holmes’ assistant and good friend. He wrote all of the detective cases the Mr Holmes worked on. Question: Why doesn’t Mr Watson display a mastery of deductive reasoning? Answer: He makes unfounded assumptions, because it is easy. Don’t think like Mr Watson, think like Mr Holmes!

· There are other ways of incorrectly answering a question such as:

o Misreading a question

o Lack of knowledge

· However, all of those cases invariably lead where one has selected an incorrect premise and/or conclusion.

Summary: To analyze why you selected an incorrect answer choice, you must first analyze where your inductive or deductive reasoning lead you astray. Which premises did you take for granted?

In Closing

Scoring well on the Verbal Section of the MCAT is no easy feat, and there is no singular way to score well. I’ve encountered, in the past several months, several people who sought out miracle stories, of individuals who scored 14 or 15 on the VR section due to some inherent advantage. I’m here to tell you there are no miracle people. To paragraph Mr Feynman - there’s no talent or special miracle ability. There is no special MCAT Verbal gene, hormone, or potion that one can make use of it to achieve a better score. It comes through practice, studying, reading, learning, being curious, and devoting a great deal of time.

There is no royal road to knowledge – Euclid


Therefore, the potential to score well resides in every single test-taker. Whether you realize that potential or not is up to you.


In Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow wanted a brain, the Tin Man a heart, the Lion courage and Dorothy to return to Kansas.

The Wizard solved the first three (with a diploma, a testimonial and a medal) but it took the Good Witch of the North to explain to Dorothy that all she had to do was click her heels while repeating “there’s no place like home.”

So why the need for the flying monkeys, talking trees, dissolving witches and munchkins before Dorothy’s enlightenment?

The Witch explained that, while Dorothy always had the power to go home, she had to learn it on her own.

Dorothy vowed that “if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard.”

The solution resides within you. I hope that my method is of value to you.

All the best,

:love:Saree:flame:
So....
Has anyone else noticed that this 'expert' here has yet to actually take the MCAT....
 
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lazyindy

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Jan 2, 2011
856
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New York, NY
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Dental Student
So....
Has anyone else noticed that this 'expert' here has yet to actually take the MCAT....
She already did on Dec 6. From what it seems, she was scoring in the 13-15 range for VR on her AAMCs so I don't doubt her credibility. Before deciding to bash someone for giving useful advice do a little research on the forums.
 

Cawolf

Medical Student
5+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2013
3,396
2,152
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Medical Student
So....
Has anyone else noticed that this 'expert' here has yet to actually take the MCAT....
That's pretty rude.

Regardless of whether she did or didn't, who cares?

I found her opinions quite helpful and really appreciate the time she took to make the write up.

It would probably be best if you left the thread without anything constructive to say.

You are obviously in here looking to improve your verbal score. . .
 

ConfusedChemist

2+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2014
804
399
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Medical Student
That's pretty rude.

Regardless of whether she did or didn't, who cares?

I found her opinions quite helpful and really appreciate the time she took to make the write up.

It would probably be best if you left the thread without anything constructive to say.

You are obviously in here looking to improve your verbal score. . .
That's true
I do think it's fine to ask where advice is coming from that's all. I think we all are (obviously) looking to improve verbal scores but I personally like to hear from people who have already written the exam
not to say this person won't get a good score, who knows
 
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Cawolf

Medical Student
5+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2013
3,396
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That's true
I do think it's fine to ask where advice is coming from that's all. I think we all are (obviously) looking to improve verbal scores but I personally like to hear from people who have already written the exam
not to say this person won't get a good score, who knows
You have the luxury of choosing which advice to take.

Your post comes off as suspicious and condescending.
 

Mavs88

5+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2013
994
512
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I've found this method helpful by sticking to the basics of...read questions, read passage, think about the author's message/POV, answer questions.

AAMC FL 3 - 8 on VR
(started this technique)
EK1001 passages I, II, III - 9 on all of them
AAMC 4 - 10 on VR.

Advice for more improvement?
 
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faith hopelove

God Fearing
5+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2012
99
6
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Pre-Medical
I have not taken the exam yet but I must say practicing this method has helped me tremendously! I am more focused and reading more actively than I can say before. I won't lie, I haven't done my passages timed yet but I hope to keep the momentum going and the scoring up. I start to get nervous when I am going to time myself (I don't know why). Any way so far I just wanted to say thanks for the insight. It helped me to look at the passages and questions differently. It's almost like the cloud was moved away and now I can see the rainbow. HAHA! Any advice with timing myself? I will be taking this exam in 4 weeks. :scared:
 
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gene_pool

2+ Year Member
Aug 29, 2014
172
84
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Pre-Medical
I found this method to be very helpful as well.

I'm getting a lot more confident with my answers, but timing is still some concern.

Just curious, are you guys really spending only 30 seconds skimming the questions?
 
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Mavs88

5+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2013
994
512
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I found this method to be very helpful as well.

I'm getting a lot more confident with my answers, but timing is still some concern.

Just curious, are you guys really spending only 30 seconds skimming the questions?
Yeah, I just read the questions, not the answer choices.

As far as timing goes, maybe try and give yourself about 7 minutes for each passage. Time yourself on just one passage and see how you do. Probably just once you get a feel for the style, you will naturally get faster.
 
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Visible Ghost

2+ Year Member
Oct 14, 2014
257
89
This method works. Thanks a lot for sharing this. I have the verbal sections from AAMC self assessment left. What other verbal practice passages should I use outside of TPR?
 
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OP
D
Jun 5, 2014
289
382
Hi everyone! I'm glad to see some new faces in this thread :) I will be posting my overhauled Verbsies guide in a couple of days. It's incredible to take a moment and realize how far we have all come in these past few months...I've learned so much!

QUESTION: I think the psychological dimension of writing the MCAT is very important - do you guys think I should spent a page or two addressing this? Fear, etc.

Thanks, Draupadi!
Did you just call me...??? Thank you so much :D Beyond flattered right now!

So....
Has anyone else noticed that this 'expert' here has yet to actually take the MCAT....
I applaud your skepticism ;)

I've found this method helpful by sticking to the basics of...read questions, read passage, think about the author's message/POV, answer questions.

AAMC FL 3 - 8 on VR
(started this technique)
EK1001 passages I, II, III - 9 on all of them
AAMC 4 - 10 on VR.

Advice for more improvement?
I'm glad the method is working for you :D

What sorts of mistakes are you making? What are some of the conclusions of your post-game analyses?

Can't wait to hear how you fine tune your approach :)
I have not taken the exam yet but I must say practicing this method has helped me tremendously! I am more focused and reading more actively than I can say before. I won't lie, I haven't done my passages timed yet but I hope to keep the momentum going and the scoring up. I start to get nervous when I am going to time myself (I don't know why). Any way so far I just wanted to say thanks for the insight. It helped me to look at the passages and questions differently. It's almost like the cloud was moved away and now I can see the rainbow. HAHA! Any advice with timing myself? I will be taking this exam in 4 weeks. :scared:
I'm so happy to hear that! :D I started with non-timed passages as well...You'll be writing timed passages soon enough :)

I can relate to your time related anxiety...I'm definitely going to address this in my update.

This method works. Thanks a lot for sharing this. I have the verbal sections from AAMC self assessment left. What other verbal practice passages should I use outside of TPR?
Priority: AAMC Verbal SA
TBR/EK.
 
Last edited:
Apr 12, 2014
15
10
Status
Pre-Medical
QUESTION: I think the psychological dimension of writing the MCAT is very important - do you guys think I should spent a page or two addressing this? Fear, etc.

Yes, please! And thank you!
 
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