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Help with VR...


missmathematics18

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Hey,

 

I will do my best to make suggestions for VR... The first time I wrote I had an 8, then I bumped it up to a 13. Do you find yourself pressed for time in the VR section? Is english your first language? What have you been doing so far to practice?

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If you read the EK VR prep book, it says that you have to become proficient at answers written 'in that peculiar MCAT sort of way'. It's true - I really had self-doubts and have stressed for a whole year over my 2 consecutive 7's in my real MCATs which have been holding me back in a big way with my applications (post-interview! :S). This is definitely because I did not even have a strategy during VR - just `relaxation`while I did my practice tests and then non-relaxation (hence the 7) on my real MCATs. However, when I abandoned all preconceptions and went with the EK strategy, my score reached 11 quickly (today! and I'm still practising for the real thing in August). I think my VR will also continue to climb.

 

What I recommend is, and what made my score go up was: do not write ANYTHING (often 3-4 minutes is all it takes to go from one double-digit score to the next, or even 2) and hold it all in your head. This said, think about what the AUTHOR thinks about the issue at hand as soon as you finish reading the passage (about 10 seconds). Then, once you write a test and get a bunch wrong, REALLY evaluate exactly what was running through your head when you picked the wrong answers you did. For example, I saw I had scratched out many answers that were actually correct and found that I had re-interpreted the question in the wrong way when I was second-guessing myself. I never would have known this unless I had immediately gone back to the answers I got wrong.

 

If you really analyze the answers, you'll find there are only 2 answers that ever make sense - the rest are totally from Mars and or inconsistent with the main idea. (This said, most of the time there's only one logical answer - I was shocked when I did this analysis and found this result). I don't think I was concentrating as much on the logic of the answers until I found this out. I'm still not perfect at it, but I am improving solely based on how much I really think to myself 'did the answer I just picked sound logical`. This may mean that you have to 1) slow down when you`re reading the questions the first time AND READ FOR LESS TIME (this is very important) or 2) If you just want to get through the test like me, you can answer fast, then read the question again and the right answer will just pop out at you.

 

I have to say that the MCAT logic they use is sometimes um... strange - hence EK`s description of the MCAT answers as `peculiar`. I can`t stress enough that before you get enough practice under your belt, you might not ever understand their logic, but after a while you will start thinking like `they`do. EK`s materials imitate the AAMC tests really well. If you start out with the EK 1001 passages and then move onto all the AAMC tests, you should be in good shape.

 

A final note is that I finally started to improve drastically when I realized that you can see right through this test - it`s written in the same `peculiar`way every time and you can master it. It`s so transparent and ridiculous that I think they`re just testing perserverance on the VR. That being said, I think that`s what med schools want and in Canadian adcoms` eyes, it`s `all the rage` to get a good verbal score. And you can do it!

 

Those are my 2 cents.

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Oops!! I just checked again and I actually had a 12 (hahahahaa I guess i'm not so great at reading after all!).

 

But anyways... To improve my score I really focused on "immersing myself in the passage." I tried to eliminate all other distractions (including the stress of the exam, or the worries of getting a bad score in your case), and really just tried to focus on what the author was saying, and what overall tone the passage had. The fact that you have never been stressed for time is a little bit strange to me... Do you have a lot of time left over? It could be that you are rushing through the passages, and really missing the point of them. Maybe try to slow down and get a better understanding of the passage.

 

After reading the passages I would go slowly through the questions, and then through the solutions. I would literally read the same passage again and again until I understood their answer, and could see how they reached their conclusions. After awhile I just started identifying the kind of question I would struggle with, and got better at seeing the wrong answer... even if the "correct" one still seemed funny to me. I'm sorry, I wish I could be more specific than this.

 

Again, to reiterate, I would guess that you are missing the undertones of the passage, since you clearly understand the literal meaning "word-for-word." For the inference questions I found that I had to sit and think carefully about the meaning of some of the more challenging vocabulary terms. I found that the MCAT liked to use difficult words to try to throw people off.

 

**BTW I didn't mean to be rude when I asked if english was your first language, I just wouldn't know how to help if there was a language barrier, since its not something I'm familiar with.

 

**also, I only used the kaplan study books, as these were the only ones available to me.

 

Good luck (and stop stressing. Stress is the quickest way to failure) :)

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hey missmathematics,

 

it's my pleasure.

 

one note is: aim for a couple of points higher than you need but don't hyperventilate if you don't get 15's. This is especially true if you have a killer oGPA (87% or above). Why? If they're sitting on the fence about you academically, your VR can help them say 'oh, she's actually awesome!'. If they have no doubts about you academically, why should you kill yourself (and the pressure will make you nervous) to get a 15?

 

Up to you though, the sky's the limit! Now I want a 15 now that I know that it's possible, and you might feel the same way. :)

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anyone know if there are torrents available for verbal practise passages? especially the Berkeley ones...? Can't seem to be able to find one anywhere...legally or otherwise...

 

on a side note...anyone know if verbal practise problems for other tests (ie. LSAT, GMAT) would help for the MCAT?

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I don't mean to hijack this thread but I also have a similar problem. This is my first time writing the MCAT and after writing a few full lengths, I found my Verbal score to be stuck at 7 while my Physical and Biological Scores were 10 or 11. I guess the main reason I am doing so poorly in verbal is because I am not getting a proper grasp on the passages. I really need to bring verbal up to at least an 11 but I have no idea where to start. It seems like doing Verbal section tests are not really helping. I'm thinking that I'll start off by doing one passage at a time, first at my own pace to see if I can fully understand the passage and answer the questions. Then I'll give myself 8 minutes or so per passage and evaluate my performance under pressure. Thoughts? Would appreciate constructive criticism/advice!

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hey,

 

You have to slow right down and make sure you are accurate when you respond. Otherwise, what good is it to keep going faster? Read at a reasonable rate (3.5 min) for one passage and then take as much time on the questions as you need, and then analyze the answers to the max. That's the only way to improve your score.

 

Good luck

 

EK

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Hi,

 

I seem to do much better on verbal tests on paper vs test on the computer. Anyone else having the same problem? Any advice?

 

I just seem to have more difficulty locating the information when it's on a computer screen. My test is approaching and I am starting to freak out!

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Hi,

 

I seem to do much better on verbal tests on paper vs test on the computer. Anyone else having the same problem? Any advice?

 

I just seem to have more difficulty locating the information when it's on a computer screen. My test is approaching and I am starting to freak out!

 

i find i have a similar problem. its harder for me to concentrate when im reading something on a screen vs reading something on paper..

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i find i have a similar problem. its harder for me to concentrate when im reading something on a screen vs reading something on paper..

 

 

 

AHHH saaaaaaaaame! I wish the exam was still on paper, I find this to be true with almost every section. DISLIKE the fact that it's on a computer...advice? ANYEONE!?

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Slow down, pbear and don't panic - maybe the problem is that you're putting your finger on the words when you see them or you feel like you could if you wanted to? This is a visual problem and you can overcome it by being conscious of this fact when you read. This sounds awfully dumb, but I pretend my retinas can focus like laser beams on just the line I'm reading on the computer screen and this acts like a physical pointer on a piece of paper. It makes me speed up to read the passage and not skim/miss out words. Also, like anything, practice makes perfect. Practise like crazy ON THE COMPUTER and I don't think you'll find it'll take that long to catch up to your practice scores on paper. Humans have to habituate to stuff. It'd be so much less tiring to prepare for the MCAT if we were perfect already :P

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I just want to chime in on this thread. It is important to understand that an 8 or 9 in verbal isn't the end of the world. I know the 10/11 range is optimal but remember an 8/9 can definately give you a decent chance at meds. Look at it this way, with an 8 even you have a pretty good chance at U of A if you have a decent composite mcat score, good ECs and solid GPA (I am talking out OOP). Sask same idea, you need 8s in all categories and overall 26 with a strong GPA. Mac has casper now so you just need to compensate for that, Ottawa has no MCAT requirement and the same with Mcgill. Toronto you are flagged but a good GPA and personal statement can potentially overcome that. So what I am trying to say is focus on the GPA, keep it high. It hard to change GPA once it goes south but mcat you can keep trying and if you stay in the 8/9 range you still have decent hope.

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Slow down, pbear and don't panic - maybe the problem is that you're putting your finger on the words when you see them or you feel like you could if you wanted to? This is a visual problem and you can overcome it by being conscious of this fact when you read. This sounds awfully dumb, but I pretend my retinas can focus like laser beams on just the line I'm reading on the computer screen and this acts like a physical pointer on a piece of paper. It makes me speed up to read the passage and not skim/miss out words. Also, like anything, practice makes perfect. Practise like crazy ON THE COMPUTER and I don't think you'll find it'll take that long to catch up to your practice scores on paper. Humans have to habituate to stuff. It'd be so much less tiring to prepare for the MCAT if we were perfect already :P

 

Thanks Eternalkeener. And I agree with the person who posted right after you - my eyes actually hurt looking at a screen for as long as we're required to for the MCAT. I have terrible eyes as it is. I am NOT a computer person (sounds like I'm lying since I am on this forum right now but other than this forum which I barely go on I do NOT use the computer because I am 90 years old at heart and would rather wait for my morning news paper to arrive than get the news online) But anyway, I guess I'll begin practicing verbal on the computer until my eyes fall out.

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