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What is your VR STRATEGY? SCORING HIGH 10+

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by zizebrazi, May 16, 2007.

  1. zizebrazi

    zizebrazi New Member
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    I was wondering if anyone has any verbal reasoning strategies (methods) that will work for MCAT CBT to score high on this section. I keep on struggling on the VR section. I really want to raise my score!!! How should I focus on this section for the passages? ANY TIPS, TRICKS, SUGGESTIONS, TECHNIQUES PLEASE!!!
     
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  3. .surgical.

    .surgical. Senior Member
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    Practice till your eyes bleed.

    Then practice some more.

    Then take full-length practice tests, sandwiching in verbal practice. Before you go to sleep at night, do a passage or two. Stuck in the bathroom, keep a set of passages close by.

    As for direct strategies???
    1. Don't rank passages or fall for the kaplan/TPR trick that you can skip the "tougher" passages if you want double digits.
    2. Become an absolute master at finding the main idea, the first time you finish reading a passage, without writing it down.
    3. Learn to judge the authors opinion, or if it is subjective, and answer questions accordingly.
    4. Don't re-read things too many times if you don't understand, you just don't have the time on the real thing.
    5. During practice exams, if you think you are finishing too fast or early--GOOD!!! On the real deal, the passages were twice as long and the section takes twice as much time. Be fast, be fast during practice, be fast on test day!
    6. If you find you are running out of time, make sure you get to the easier questions first... like Vocab in context and main idea (there will be a main idea question on EVERY passage, fail-safe).
    7. If you decide to skip a difficult question, go back to it after you finish the other questions for that same passage (but do NOT move on to the next passage). A lot of times, after answering more questions, you will have answered the tough one or know where to find the answer.
    8. Practice doing passages
    9. Practice doing sets of passages
    10. Practice doing partial passages

    I scored in double digits on all Verbal sections I took, including on all of the AAMC practice exams and TPR practice exams. I also just found out I got an 11 VR on the April 12th actual MCAT from this cycle.

    g/l to you, don't be intimidated by verbal. Everyone hates it, but I found it to be a very nice breath of fresh air mixed in with all the science.
     
  4. ylong08

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    You can try the Kaplan passage mapping strategy. Just use a short phrase to summarize each paragraph of the passage to get the main idea and author's opinion across. It helps tie the whole passage together and keeps you focused while you're reading. Sometimes this strategy works very well and other times it doesn't. If you're crunched for time on the last passage or something, don't do it.
     
  5. zizebrazi

    zizebrazi New Member
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    How do you deal with the timer that keeps on popping up during the verbal passages? Is there any way to disable it? I don't want to lose concentration on the verbal section? Thanks.
     
  6. secure

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    surgical, thanks for advice.

    congrats on the great scores...

    I took the August 2006 MCAT and scored well on sciences, I scored 5 on verbal. I was devastated, I worked so hard (I also work full time).

    I re-took the test on April 16 and scored 10/10 in sciences, and 6 in verbal. I tried improving on my reading skills since August with books, Economist, etc. On practice test on the verbal section I was getting inconsistent scores 5,7,9,10.

    What should my next step be at this point ?
     
  7. poly800rock

    poly800rock Member
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    i did my best for verbal, practiced a lot. consistent 8-9. everytime. my real cbt, i thought the best i could have done was an 8, worst being a 6. ended with an 11. Everyone says ek this and ek that, and while it's true that the main idea will get you a solid 9, you have to just do what works for you to break that. for me, that meant just being able to skip the ones i couldn't get so that i could finish.
     
  8. .surgical.

    .surgical. Senior Member
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    Yeah poly is right, unfortunetly there is no "end all, be all" strategy for magic verbal success. Every single person has different ways of dealing with how their mind reacts to what they just read, and the MCAT does go out of its way to exploit the "scientific" way of thinking, knowing that MCAT students are mostly scientific people. The VR section specifically works against this by not having simple "find the answer" type questions. There are usually either 2 right answers, or NO right answers.

    There will be 2 choices you are down to nearly EVERY SINGLE QUESTION on the verbal reasoning. The reason I say practice, practice, practice... is because the MCAT is like a game, and you can figure out the "MCAT" choice based on practice. By the time test day came, I felt like I could read the choices on main idea questions and know the answer just based on how it was worded, without even reading the question. It's a manner of figuring out the test, not figuring out the answer.

    EK has some good practice sections, though their verbal book is really small by comparison. They have a section where they re-word every answer choice down to its simplest components, I thought this helped a lot. Its like reading a choice and thinking "OK, what are they REALLY saying beneath this overly-verbose paragraph in answer choice A."

    Some more common tactics that these books use:
    1. Read a section and answer every question before reading any choices, then choose the answer that best matches what you wrote down.
    2. Read just the answer choices and try to predict the question, then choose an answer.
    3. Write down everything you know about the author when you are done reading: Is it a man/woman? Is it a scientist/artist/layperson? Are they an "expert" on some topic? Do they have a strong opinion about something? Do you think they are a conservative/liberal? NOW... after writing down your "bio" of the author, go answer the questions based on what you know.
    4. Do a full passage and do NOT check the answers. The next day, go back and answer all the questions over again WITHOUT re-reading the passage... see what you remember or see how well you can work through a question without referring back.

    I'm not saying all of these strategies are fool-proof, but the more ways you analyze yourself, the more you can improve. The next step is to really break down your own performances. Is there any question type you are consistently missing??? For me, I BOMBED the ROMAN NUMERAL questions. Those were the death of me, and I began to purposely save them for last every passage. This helped me tremendously so I knew I could get the "easier" questions out of the way first.

    Again, I'll offer help in any way I can... feel free to PM me with questions any time.
     
  9. secure

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    thanx alot. I Will try practicing with your methods.
     
  10. poly800rock

    poly800rock Member
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    i tried the EK method, and it didn't work for me. Simply because it's so freaking time consuming. I don't doubt it works, but you have to be VERY disiplined to follow their method to a T
     
  11. .surgical.

    .surgical. Senior Member
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    Yeah I agree that the methodology comes off as "strange" at first. I tell people that are really struggling to raise their score that anything is worth a shot. You never really know what helps your mind wrap around the MCAT VR, the exercises are just a way of "training" you to digest a passage the right way.
     

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