All You Need to Know About the MCAT Verbal Reasoning

The verbal reasoning section of the MCAT consists of about 60 questions, that needs to be completed in one hour and 15 minutes. The candidates are tested for their critical reading skills. The section consists of all reading comprehension type questions that make it similar in pattern to the verbal reasoning sections of other similar entrance tests. Understanding the writer’s tone and what he wants to convey through the passage, will help one answer the questions better. The conclusions and interferences drawn from the passage would appear as questions at least once in the test. The type of questions asked in the test will require the candidate to think a lot, as some questions will want the candidate to think in the writer’s shoes and ask to interpret what the main idea behind the passage is, etc. Also, the candidate will have to apply the information to a particular situation mentioned in the question with suitable aids from the paragraph. The passages will be dry and challenging, so they will not seem easy at first; but understanding them will help solving the questions better.
A common mistake that students do while preparing for the MCAT is – not understanding the importance of the verbal section. Many spend a lot of time and concentrate on the sciences sections and fail to recognize this section as potentially important. This could cause them to score lower on the test, a mistake that one could have avoided during the preparation phase itself.
One can improve verbal reasoning skills by making it a habit to start reading newspapers and magazines at the early stages of preparation itself. Without stopping at just skimming the text, one can write down three sentences about each article. One: an alternative title; Two: the author’s intention that he is trying to convey through the passage.

What I have always advised and also followed in answering the reading-type questions is that one must skim the passage at first and then write down main concepts that are covered in each paragraph. If there is not sufficient time, one can just read the first two sentences of the paragraph and try to understand what is being said. For example, take a passage about a country – the first paragraph would be about the introduction to the topic, the size and geography of it. The second would be about the people and their cultures. The third may be about the political conditions of the country and the final one would be about the importance or problems faced by the nation. Since one can comprehend what each paragraph is about, one can write these down as hints and use them to locate answers. If a question about the cultural habit of the residents of the country, then the candidate can directly go to paragraph three, instead of reading the passage from the beginning.


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