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Strategy to use in tackling Section I

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Strategy to use in tackling Section I

Postby GOFORMED » Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:46 pm

Hi everyone,

English is not my first language and therefore I always find myself struggling in verbal reasoning section. Having had a month length of continuously reading and practicing Section I questions, I realise I have migrated into a stage in which the vocabulary is not a major crisis for me anymore. Instead, what I find the most challenging is not being able to comprehend the passage and trace sentences that support my choice for the question, in a limited time. It could have been a little easier if it is in my native language because I can comprehend the passage after only reading it once, whereas I often misread or am unable to pick up the central idea by reading it once. I don't know how other people whose English is first language feel about this.

The material I am using to practice verbal reasoning is MCAT 101 Passages by Exam Krackers. I feel that the passages in MCAT verbal reasoning is a lot harder to digest, nonetheless I am wary of poems in GAMSAT as well. Now you probably can tell how frustrated I am feeling toward verbal reasoning.

Just recently I start to believe that having a personalised strategy is about everything we need to achieve a high score in Section I. I've trialed two distinct strategies.

Number one, I read the first paragraph to quickly grasp the theme of the passage. Most of the time I didn't finish reading the first paragraph and went straight to reading question stems after grasping the theme. I then highlighted what to pay attention for in the passage. For instance, a question stem asked to assess line 3-4 and extrapolate from it. Then, after finishing reading the question stems, I moved on to reading the whole passage. And often I needed to refer back to the passage when I was doing questions. Overall, I think it was a good strategy because it made me focus on answering the questions specifically. However, the downsides of this strategy were: firstly, I run out of time with this strategy; secondly, because I forced myself to find the answer specifically, I often missed the big picture of the passage and how the sentences at different spots relate to one another. Hence, I often found myself got some operational questions incorrect.

Number two strategy I used was, I read the entire passage before moving on to the questions. I did not refer back to the passage and merely relied on my short memory. As a result, I got one question correct out of five or six, which is much worse than the score I obtained if I used the number one strategy.

In addition, I can manage to get all the questions correct if I make notes while reading through the passage and digest it properly. However, I don't have that leisure of time in a timed situation. It took me twice of thrice of the time allowed for each passage.

This is just my two cents. I would like to know how other people tackle this section, what strategy they use, and how they find it.

Thank you very much.
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