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OatsandTheWay

Getting that large improvement in Verbal, from 8 - 13

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Hey all,

 

I wrote the MCAT a couple of summers ago and through trials and tribulations managed to bring my verbal score from a consistent 7-8 in practice to a beautiful 13 on test day. It was a long and difficult road but I am well proud of that achievement. Since then I’ve actually found a career that makes me happy, and my premed days are over ☺. I recently spoke with a friend attending UofT about the MCAT, and he said that I should share what I learned with you guys to help others get through the gauntlet. I’m writing this post because I agree with him, I remember quite vividly how difficult the ordeal can be, and how stressful writing the MCAT is. Having said that, here are some key tips/tricks/skills that can help you out a lot. I don’t think I’m exactly reinventing the wheel here, but the correct application of these methods is so vital to improving your verbal score (and it’ll definitely help with bio too).

 

1) Read a lot. Like…a lot.

By this I mean at least 4-5 long, difficult articles from the internet every day. Great resources are the economist, new Yorker, even encyclopedia entries. The more diverse the exposure, the better!

2) Focus on when you stop paying attention.

We all drift away from what we’re reading from time to time. If you try and meta-cognitively catch yourself when this happens, you learn to catch yourself quicker and quicker until eventually you can read an entire passage without losing focus!

3) Topic shift

This is related to the point above, but kind of deserves its own point. A topic can severely derail a person’s attention. I’ve seen people completely lose focus on a passage because a new concept is mentioned. Being aware of this phenomenon will help you avoid it!

4) Read more

Did you follow the first point? Read more. Even more than that.

5) Explain yourself

The key to verbal success is to be able to read a passage and then be able to explain it. If you can do that in depth, then the questions themselves become far less of a challenge. The whole point is that by knowing the passage, you can easily attack questions without second-guessing yourself. It completely changes the way you’ll look at verbal.

 

Whew. Theres actually more to say, but I am tired and I think that’s about all I got for now. I hope some of you found this useful. If anyone would like clarification or to ask me questions please feel free to send me a private message. I probably won’t be sticking around the forum but I’ll check my inbox from time to time if anyone has any questions.

 

Otherwise I wish you all the best of luck. It’s a long, difficult road for you premeds, but a noble and interesting one as well. ☺

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Thanks for the advice. I have been reading quite aggressively lately so let's see how that works. I just started doing the passages, do you have input on how to approach certain passages and the questions?

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Hey all,

 

I wrote the MCAT a couple of summers ago and through trials and tribulations managed to bring my verbal score from a consistent 7-8 in practice to a beautiful 13 on test day. It was a long and difficult road but I am well proud of that achievement. Since then I’ve actually found a career that makes me happy, and my premed days are over ☺. I recently spoke with a friend attending UofT about the MCAT, and he said that I should share what I learned with you guys to help others get through the gauntlet. I’m writing this post because I agree with him, I remember quite vividly how difficult the ordeal can be, and how stressful writing the MCAT is. Having said that, here are some key tips/tricks/skills that can help you out a lot. I don’t think I’m exactly reinventing the wheel here, but the correct application of these methods is so vital to improving your verbal score (and it’ll definitely help with bio too).

 

1) Read a lot. Like…a lot.

By this I mean at least 4-5 long, difficult articles from the internet every day. Great resources are the economist, new Yorker, even encyclopedia entries. The more diverse the exposure, the better!

2) Focus on when you stop paying attention.

We all drift away from what we’re reading from time to time. If you try and meta-cognitively catch yourself when this happens, you learn to catch yourself quicker and quicker until eventually you can read an entire passage without losing focus!

3) Topic shift

This is related to the point above, but kind of deserves its own point. A topic can severely derail a person’s attention. I’ve seen people completely lose focus on a passage because a new concept is mentioned. Being aware of this phenomenon will help you avoid it!

4) Read more

Did you follow the first point? Read more. Even more than that.

5) Explain yourself

The key to verbal success is to be able to read a passage and then be able to explain it. If you can do that in depth, then the questions themselves become far less of a challenge. The whole point is that by knowing the passage, you can easily attack questions without second-guessing yourself. It completely changes the way you’ll look at verbal.

Whew. Theres actually more to say, but I am tired and I think that’s about all I got for now. I hope some of you found this useful. If anyone would like clarification or to ask me questions please feel free to send me a private message. I probably won’t be sticking around the forum but I’ll check my inbox from time to time if anyone has any questions.

 

Otherwise I wish you all the best of luck. It’s a long, difficult road for you premeds, but a noble and interesting one as well. ☺

 

 

 

1. Summarize the idea of each paragraph 

 

2. try to see what the author is arguing or point is a better strategy

 

3. review all your right and wrong answers

 

4. avoid answers that contain "only" "always"   

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Definitely good VR advice! I've taught and tutored VR for a couple years now, and another important thing is assessing where your weaknesses are. Usually it's either going to be in reading the passage and understanding it's Main Idea, or in navigating the questions. 

 

I really recommend writing down an Anatomy of the Passage when you're not timing yourself. It's not easy for most science students who are used to right and wrong answers, but it's invaluable for going back after you answer practice questions to see where you could improve your Main Idea.

 

Topic - this is easy, just a couple words or a phrase on what the passage is about (e.g.. Migration patterns of monarchs) 

Scope - this one is less intuitive, but comes with practice. Basically you're narrowing down the topic. If the passage has 4 or fewer main points, maybe mention them all. More than that and stay fairly general. (e.g. how these migration patterns are affected by daylight hours, temperature, and prevailing winds)

Tone - one of the following: positive, negative, or neutral. Don't think there will be an even distribution. Most passages will be neutral. 

Purpose - why did the author write this? Take the tone + topic: neutral = to explain, to describe, etc. (e.g. To explain the migration patterns of monarchs)

Main Idea - The holy grail! This is what you need to do well on VR. (e.g. The migration patterns of monarchs are influenced by daylight hours, temperature, and prevailing winds)

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Hey all,

 

I wrote the MCAT a couple of summers ago and through trials and tribulations managed to bring my verbal score from a consistent 7-8 in practice to a beautiful 13 on test day. It was a long and difficult road but I am well proud of that achievement. Since then I’ve actually found a career that makes me happy, and my premed days are over ☺. I recently spoke with a friend attending UofT about the MCAT, and he said that I should share what I learned with you guys to help others get through the gauntlet. I’m writing this post because I agree with him, I remember quite vividly how difficult the ordeal can be, and how stressful writing the MCAT is. Having said that, here are some key tips/tricks/skills that can help you out a lot. I don’t think I’m exactly reinventing the wheel here, but the correct application of these methods is so vital to improving your verbal score (and it’ll definitely help with bio too).

 

1) Read a lot. Like…a lot.

By this I mean at least 4-5 long, difficult articles from the internet every day. Great resources are the economist, new Yorker, even encyclopedia entries. The more diverse the exposure, the better!

2) Focus on when you stop paying attention.

We all drift away from what we’re reading from time to time. If you try and meta-cognitively catch yourself when this happens, you learn to catch yourself quicker and quicker until eventually you can read an entire passage without losing focus!

3) Topic shift

This is related to the point above, but kind of deserves its own point. A topic can severely derail a person’s attention. I’ve seen people completely lose focus on a passage because a new concept is mentioned. Being aware of this phenomenon will help you avoid it!

4) Read more

Did you follow the first point? Read more. Even more than that.

5) Explain yourself

The key to verbal success is to be able to read a passage and then be able to explain it. If you can do that in depth, then the questions themselves become far less of a challenge. The whole point is that by knowing the passage, you can easily attack questions without second-guessing yourself. It completely changes the way you’ll look at verbal.

Whew. Theres actually more to say, but I am tired and I think that’s about all I got for now. I hope some of you found this useful. If anyone would like clarification or to ask me questions please feel free to send me a private message. I probably won’t be sticking around the forum but I’ll check my inbox from time to time if anyone has any questions.

 

Otherwise I wish you all the best of luck. It’s a long, difficult road for you premeds, but a noble and interesting one as well. ☺

 

 

 

 

In terms of point 5, would you recommend summarizing the whole passage during the actual MCAT? or just during practice?

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