Four Weeks to Go

There are four weeks left.  Here’s where I’m at so far.

  • I am about 1/3 of the way through the Exam Krackers 101 VR workbook.  I’ve been working passages in sets of 4-5 and then trying to review them the next day.  My scores have seemed to fluctuate a bit – I scored what was probably a 7 this afternoon on a set of passages and a 10 on another set a couple days ago.  I’m really worried that I’m going to wind up with a low verbal score.  I can completely see a scenario where I’m unable to get into medical school because an exam that is made intentionally vague and ambiguous concludes that I cannot read.
  • Mostly completed all of my content review – I have about one section or so for each of the four subjects.
  • I’m planning to take all of the AAMC practice exams between now and the exam and then do heavy post-test analysis on what I missed, what I got right, and why.
  • At the same time, I’m going to go back through all of the chapters in my review books and work the remainder of the passages for each chapter and try to make a summary sheet for each major topic.  Mostly the basic things that I need to have cold – pKa estimates, amino acid structure, net equations for glycolysis, summaries of the basic physiology systems, and a few of the more notable MCAT organic reactions (e.g., aldol condensation).
  • I’m really worried about verbal.

That’s more or less a summary of my plan for the next four weeks.  If I’m not scoring in the mid-30s a couple of weeks before the exam, I may postpone until February, but I really don’t want to do that.  I just want to be done with this infernal thing so that I can go on and finish the other things I’m working on – research, some other teaching things, work.  If verbal doesn’t improve though, I’m screwed – not seeing any point in applying to medical school or even taking the exam if I’m scoring 7s on the verbal section.


13 Responses

  1. I never thought verbal scores could be improved until I took the MCAT and practiced my ASS off. It paid off. Went from an 8 to a 12 on that section. Don’t ask me how. I’d always been terrible at reading comprehension in the past.

    All of this is to say: Stay strong! You can do it! I have faith in you!

    • That’s the strange thing. I read really well – I don’t know if I’m over-thinking the questions or what. Is four weeks enough to time to bring it up at all?

      • 4 weeks is DEFINITELY enough time.

        Try doing full length verbal sections timed. It’s practice for the real thing and you (I’m guessing) won’t have time to overthink. I’m not sure I applied any particular strategy and I’m reluctant to suggest one in case I’m talking out of my ass (also it may not work for you since everyone’s different)…. but seriously, keep at it. You will improve. Don’t give up. You’re smart. You can do it.

      • I’ve been doing all of my passages timed. I guess I’ll just keep charging ahead and trying to identify the types of questions that I end up missing. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  2. My verbal score improved from a 7 to a 12 by taking the AAMC practice tests. What has worked for me is just keeping in mind some of the tricks Examkrackers tells you like reading as if you’re listening to a friend tell you a story: you’re only really focused on the main idea. Also taking a 5 sec break between passages has helped me stay focused. While examkrackers was great, there’s nothing like practicing with the real deal. Good luck!!!

    • Good to hear. Reading for the main idea is how I normally read. The questions I miss are usually based upon some detail. I did one today that I missed because I didn’t pick up on the word “solely” in an answer. These little details are what are killing me. Maybe I’ll do better on the AAMC exams. The passages I’ve been doing out of the EK 101 book have me scoring around an 8.

    • I went through a few of the verbal passages I did yesterday and it looks like I’m overlooking the right answer and trying to find a way to justify that the wrong answer is right.

  3. Cool blog. Just read a few of your posts and I especially liked the one about Charles Krauthammer. Good luck with your studies!

  4. Great blog. If you are still in need of some VR help, check out my website. I did a series of posts about improving one’s Verbal Reasoning score. They were pretty popular, and I spelled out exactly how I managed to get a 13 in that subsection.

    Good luck to you!

    • Thanks. I really appreciate all the encouraging comments and replies I’ve gotten here as well as on Twitter. I’m nearing the end of a really long push and I’m really starting to notice the drag.

    • Also, just checked out your blog – I really like it. Once I get some free time, I’ll have to read through it. Thanks for commenting.

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