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What to do about this Verbal Reasoning? Here's my plan

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by HellomynameisV, 05.14.14.

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  1. HellomynameisV

    HellomynameisV Banned Banned Account on Hold

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    Hello.

    I don't know where I should post this but I guess this is the right place.

    I graduated in Biology with a minor in chemistry, got an academic honors award for GE Honors program, sGPA of 3.57, cGPA of 3.60, and I took the MCAT twice. Did all pre-med requirements.
    1st time MCAT I got a total 25, with a VR 6, PS 10, BS 9
    2nd time MCAT I got a total 29, with VR 6, PS 12, BS 11.

    I think I'm moderate.
    I'm really proud that I scored well in my sciences but my VR score as you can see hasn't improved since the last I took it. I took the tests 6 months apart and I went overdrive with Verbal practices. I did 5 passages a day, and reviewed each one, making sure I understood why I got the answers wrong. I followed the book and did everything I was supposed to yet I guess I fell short again. I don't know what it is, but for some reason, I just can't improve my Verbal Reasoning scores. It's tough if you don't have that natural ability and to me Verbal has always been a Hit-or-Miss.

    So my plan is simple. I'm going to apply anyway. I don't want to stall my applications for another year, so I'm going to do my best and try to make it happen. As a backup, I'm going to apply to PostBacs and SMP because I need something to fall back on to strengthen my next application in case I don't get accepted anywhere. I'm only applying to MD schools in the US.

    I know I have a lousy score of 29, but I can't breakthrough that glass ceiling called Verbal Reasoning; feels almost like it's made of diamond. I don't have money for prep courses and I never took one. I'm told I did better without one anyway.

    I want to get into an MD school because it has more options for Cardiothoracic Surgeon than DO. I love DOs though; they're really down to earth kind doctors. I don't want to go Caribbeans. So I'm hard set on MD.
    My fear is that I have to retake my MCAT for the third time for 2015 MCATs.


    So I don't know, I'm really scared of taking my MCAT again. It really hurts just thinking about it. If I do a postbac or SMP, I won't have time to prepare for Verbal. So I'll apply anyway.

    So anyway, thats my plan. I hope you like it and maybe it was helpful to you. Moral of the story, never give up!
     
    Last edited: 05.14.14
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  3. OneTwoThreeFour

    OneTwoThreeFour 2+ Year Member

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    Check the MSAR. Are there ANY MD schools in the US where a verbal score of 6 falls between the 10th and 90th percentile?
     
  4. Person0715

    Person0715 Socially awkward 2+ Year Member

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    The science scores look good, but the 6 in verbal may be somewhat of a red flag.
     
  5. DokterMom

    DokterMom 2+ Year Member

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    Is English your first language?
    Parents' educational backgrounds?

    Both of these can have a huge impact on your Verbal scores --
     
  6. Vans42

    Vans42 2+ Year Member

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    There was someone recently who claimed two 6's in verbal with basically the exact same GPA. I believe some adcoms who frequent this site said that a 6 is too low for MD. I don't think an SMP or Postbac will help since your GPA isn't in bad shape at all, your MCAT needs to be re-addressed. I took the MCAT 3 times with a two in the mid twenties and the last at 30. I got accepted to 7 MD schools but I really had to bring my MCAT score up (and the subscores do matter). I recommend opening up your mind to DO schools and retaking the MCAT as unfortunate as it is (I know, I had to do it).
     
  7. CherryRedDracul

    CherryRedDracul 2 Chainz Muscular Dystrophy 2+ Year Member

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    You said you followed "the book". Which book, may I ask? And have you figured out specifically why you were getting questions wrong? I know in my experience that overthinking = choosing an answer that was far out left-field.

    Personally, ExamKrackers Verbal Reasoning did wonders for me. I was consistently hitting ~12-13 on practice exams and scored 11 on the real thing.
     
  8. AliciaAccepted

    AliciaAccepted Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    Congratulations on such high scores on the MCAT for the sciences! With a 6 or lower in any section, your application will have to be reviewed by an academic committee if it makes it through the first round of reviews. I have seen students get into medical school with a 6 in the verbal but they were often students who were also applying as disadvantaged applicants who had compelling stories of overcoming significant barriers in their lives. If you are not applying as disadvantaged, I'm not sure if your application will make it through the committee reviews, if you do not have a clear explanation for why you were not able to improve your score. If you did not take an MCAT prep program because you could not afford it, please include this information. You did really well without one!

    For more tips and information on applying to medical school with a low MCAT score, please see this article. I wish you all the best!
     
  9. chenzt

    chenzt 2+ Year Member

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  10. Cersei_Lannister

    Cersei_Lannister

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    I second that. The first time I took the MCAT I used Kaplan and the second time I used ExamKrackers. My Verbal score went from an 8 to a 12.

    Just be careful if you decide to retake the exam that you don't focus on verbal to the detriment of PS and BS. Getting a 10 in verbal and lower scores in the sciences the third time around won't do you any favors.
     
  11. CherryRedDracul

    CherryRedDracul 2 Chainz Muscular Dystrophy 2+ Year Member

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  12. Boolean

    Boolean

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    Below average GPA for MD, and below average MCAT. Why not consider DO? DO's can and do match into quite a few specialties.

    In regards to raising the VR, which study materials are you using outside of the course? I understand they may be costly, but if your only preparation for MCAT is this course, you're certainly likely to meet your downfall. Self study is vital.
     
  13. boomshaketheroom

    boomshaketheroom 2+ Year Member

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    Low verbal scores (to me) mean you either aren't a native speaker or have trouble understanding how to correctly interpret types of information that are new to you. Try doing some sort of journal club where you read scientific papers and then see how they made their arguments based on their data. And think about whether they actually CAN make those arguments based on the data (or if they didn't go far enough). I work in a lab and we do journal club a lot. I don't think anything else was as helpful for verbal as that. To me, it is all about seeing what the facts are actually telling you vs. what non-fact-based conclusions and connections your mind makes on its own.
     
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  14. Maeby Funke

    Maeby Funke 5+ Year Member

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    I downloaded the Verbal Virtuoso PDF and their strategy seemed to work well for me. I put off my MCAT twice because I kept scoring in the 7-9 range for verbal and then ended up with an 11 on the real deal. I also used every practice passages I could find - Kaplan, EK, AMCAS, TPR.
     
  15. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    You might consider seeking out schools that historically have not looked at subscores, like SIU, Commonwealth (Pa), and EVMS. Or for schools that (at least, in past years) don't post a minimum cutoff subscore, like FIU, Oakland, Colorado, UKMC.
     
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  16. tantacles

    tantacles Lifetime Donor SDN Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    RFUMS has also accepted students in the past (one close friend in my class) with a verbal score of 6. Granted, the cumulative was as 33, but they haven't screened out 6's in the past.
     
  17. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    UIC has done the same, but I've only seen it for in-staters. That doesn't mean it couldn't happen anyway and they do take ~25% OOS.
     
  18. HellomynameisV

    HellomynameisV Banned Banned Account on Hold

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    OMG yes, English is my second language and my parents education is below high school.
     
    Last edited: 05.14.14
  19. Shark7500

    Shark7500 Clairvoyant 5+ Year Member

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    they're
     
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  20. Shark7500

    Shark7500 Clairvoyant 5+ Year Member

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    Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you're struggling to gain admission to an MD program, chances are you won't shine in medical school. You will most likely be somewhere in the middle of the pack, or more likely somewhere near the bottom. If you're putting forth your best effort now, you'll crumble when all of your classmates in medical school put forth THEIR best effort. I'm not saying that it is impossible for you to match into CT Surg, but realistically speaking, unless something drastic changes, you probably won't.

    The sad truth is this: Take one step at a time. Focus on what's directly ahead. There is plenty of time to decide which speciality you want to pursue when you get your acceptance. IF you get your acceptance.
     
  21. HellomynameisV

    HellomynameisV Banned Banned Account on Hold

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    Let me be clear. I will NOT crumble and I will not fall. When, NOT IF, I go to medical school, I will be free from the financial burdens of supporting my family so I have more time to study. They know this and are prepared. Once I'm free to study, I'll do very well alongside my classmates with full support from one another.
     
  22. Shark7500

    Shark7500 Clairvoyant 5+ Year Member

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    I'm inspired by your resolve. Best of luck.
     
  23. DokterMom

    DokterMom 2+ Year Member

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    This can explain everything -- I've seen the ridiculously unfair impact on non-native speakers who were extremely bright and competent, but had very low verbal scores because it was just that much harder for them. But then, I've also tried learning new material in a second language and know first-hand how extraordinarily difficult that is. (Did he really mean what I think he said?... Is it a language problem or a conceptual one?)

    Anyway - I see two basic paths:
    • Apply with what you've got now and hope for the best. So, probably DO or lower-tier MD. For this route, be sure to show how your background (non-native, parents' education) accounts for your low verbal score and edit the heck out of your essays and secondary responses to make sure they're clear and free of grammar errors. However, for this approach, I would actually not edit too much for 'un-natural phrasing' as this illustrates your point. You want to communicate clearly, but still show that you wrote it yourself and cause the user to wonder if English is not your first language if they hadn't already seen that it wasn't.
    • The other possibility is to make learning 'well-educated American English' your top priority for a year, and dedicate yourself to that specific task. This path would involve several hours per day of reading particularly well-written material (New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Wall Street Journal, Science) for style, content and nuance. I'd especially focus on reading things that offer the opportunity for informed discussion with other well-educated readers -- responses to editorials, discussion boards, etc.
    Three other questions -- Are you a US Citizen? (or otherwise eligible for loans?) What is your state of residency? And can you claim URM status? I'm assuming you can claim socioeconomic disadvantage and can bring some diversity to the class.
     
  24. chenzt

    chenzt 2+ Year Member

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    You were in a seven-week camp to study for the MCAT. As much as you want to blame TPR for their poor content review that resulted in your poor score, you still had seven weeks of dedicated MCAT study time, a luxury that a lot of other people didn't have.
     
  25. Ismet

    Ismet PGY-fun SDN Administrator 5+ Year Member

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    Closing thread, as OP has been banned.
     
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