REMEMBER THIS IS ALL THE WAY I AM STUDYING. THESE TIPS ARE WHAT I HAVE FOUND USEFUL, YOUR WAY MIGHT BE DIFFERENT.
Also, this is kind of a long post…sorry.
From the Kaplan book: “The Passages you’ll confront on test day probably won’t be fun to read. Odds are, they’ll be boring. If they’re too engaging, check the cover. You may be taking the wrong test” (31)
I read this chapter and then took the first practice test and thought, “Well this is awkward, I like most of these passages…” (probably because they were about things that related to my major, which is not put under “Science” but under “Arts”/Social Sciences). Anyways….
Kaplan has done and amazing job, yet again, at breaking down the Verbal Reasoning section of the “Pre-2015” MCAT. Here, I will be paraphrasing and quoting what they are saying. I am mixing what they are telling me with stuff I have personally learned and what I have been told. I am not a paid sponsor of Kaplan, I just really like how they’ve laid out the information.
They, and other test preppers, make a point that most students “blow-off” this section because its “just reading and responding to content questions”… HAAAAAA… what a joke.
Bottom line: Its just like any other section, YOU MUST STUDY AND PRACTICE.
7 passages—> 4 to 7 questions per passage.
Time per passage: (60 minutes/7 passages)=8.5714285~ 8 minutes
Passages pull from: Social Sciences (no wonder, anthro=social science), philosophy, and other humanities, and sciences
Types of Questions: "Successfully answering the questions depends on your ability to quickly glean the author’s point, to map out the passage in your mind, and to assess the inferences" (32)
1. Main Point: looking for exactly what it says, the main point usually can be found in (1) the first paragraph (2) the last paragraph (3) somewhere else. Look for the main point in those areas in order. Strategy: wrong answers will either be too narrow or too broad
Ex: "The author’s main purpose is…", "The main idea of the Passage…", "The general theme is…"
2. Detail: looking for you to recall a specific point and this will come FROM THE PASSAGE. You can point these out from words like EXCEPT or INCLUDING. Strategy: refer to your notes you’ve made in the margins (I write everywhere). YOU DO NOT NEED TO MEMORIZE DETAILS. Look for answers that don’t make sense and eliminate them,
Ex: “According to the Passage…”, “Based on the information in the passage…”
3. Inference: Now its time to make the small leap. The important part of this is the correct answers with have a certain degree of distance from the passage. Not too close to be a detail but not illogical. It won’t be a restatement of information already presented within the text. Strategy: sit is not going to be super out of the way, its going to be LOGICAL
Ex:"It can be inferred from the passage that…", or "the author suggests…"
4. Application: Here you are taking the main idea and relating it to a new context. (Wait, but what does that mean, you ask?) It means that you’ll need to figure out how certain metaphors and analogies relate to the passage, it must parallel the passage. Strategy: the answer will “translate” an idea parallel to the passage.
Ex: "the passage was probably written by a…", "The example in paragraph 2 would be most similar to…"
5. Tone: looking to determine the attitude of the passage, do this by using your “gut-feeling”(at least that’s what my notes say…crazy notes, whaaaaa). Kaplan says your “gut-feeling” is either “positive, neutral or negative" (40). Strategy: gut-feeling. You really have to get the true meaning of what “tone” is from an english class, but really its how the author is feeling about the topic they are writing about.
Ex: "The author’s attitude can best be described as….", "The author would likely agree with…", "The tone of the passage is best described as…"
6. Logic: okay, now you can analyze… most often, however, it is based off of the structure or layout of the passage. Look at your "mental" or written map of the passage. Strategy: the answer will maintain “integrity” of the layout of the passage.
Ex: “The third paragraph serves to…”, “Which of the following would strengthen the author’s point of view?”, “The author raises the point in paragraph 3 in order to…”
Tips and Guidelines
It gives you NO advantage to read the questions first. Just remember that. (also this is not the SAT or ACT )
The Passages are generally well structured. They are indeed pretty logical to follow. Mostly all of your important stuff for is in the first and last paragraph and the first sentence of every other paragraph. (Im not saying that is all you need to read, just briefly skim the other stuff). You want to know structure and the main point of the passage.
Main Point: might not always be in the first paragraph, if not the first then look in the last paragraph. Not there? It’s in the middle…
Stay OBJECTIVE. Don’t analyze. Just don’t do it, okay?
Look for KEYWORDS that “hold ideas together” (e.g. consequently). Your goal is to “figure out what the author is saying and how the ideas are linked" (32).
You do not need to know a ton of outside knowledge about the topic to answer the question, all of the answers can be found in the passage. (thank goodness, right?)
Okay, I am tired now… I had my first day of class, and everyone else is going out and I am studying and blogging #nerdalert
But, I love you guys and I promised to keep up with this! Dedication is key.
In February I start with Biology… with my involvement on campus and stuff its gonna be difficult to blog (challenge accepted!)…. I’ll try to update every weekend to tell my progress.
Breathe y’all, its only the first few weeks of class.
GO TO CLASS and do the detailed work, it’ll pay off at the end of the semester when you aren’t killing yourself.