This post is inspired by eogele’s comment on my previous MCAT tip post–sorry it has taken me so long to respond! One of the most difficult things about the verbal reasoning section is that you get questions wrong because you make false assumptions. This takes practice. Here are two tips that helped me, hopefully you will find this helpful.
#1. Write a quick map of the passage. Use your scratch paper to jot down notes. At first, you might find that it is counter-productive and time-consuming, but with practice, you’ll be able to write notes quickly and efficiently. Write only a few words to summarize each paragraph–don’t bother with complete sentences. This will make you read actively and likely remember more from each paragraph. Always try and understand the author’s purpose in writing each paragraph. It is important to read quickly, but do not skim too much or you will miss stuff.
#2. Keep in mind the author’s attitude toward the subject matter. This is one assumption that you should be able to safely make based on the tone of the writing. Understanding how the author feels about the topic is very important and will help you answer most questions that require you to make assumptions.
#3. Remember that each answer can be justified by what is in the passage. Any assumption you make to answer a question should be backed up in the passage somewhere. If you’re unsure whether your answer is correct or not, go back to the passage and look for supporting evidence. If it’s not there, your answer is likely wrong and you will find the right answer after looking for evidence. Your map will help with this, and with practice you will not have to go back as often and save time.
I hope these tips helped. Honestly, the verbal reasoning section was my worst section. I seriously think that the MCAT writers write questions to make people get them wrong. Some false answers might sound right but are missing clear supporting evidence, or they agree with the author’s tone but are too extreme. Let me know if you have any other tips in the comments section below!