Thursday, April 21, 2011

Verbal strategies part deux

These days my verbal scores are improving and are pretty consistent. I ended up with an "8" in the first chapter of the EK 101 verbal passages books and here's what's been most interesting about my studies. I purchased these books back in 2004 and over the years as I've prepared for the MCAT and taken the exam (and NOT taken the exam), I've kept track of my progress in a notebook. What I've found to be amazingly interesting is that in a lot of cases, I'm missing THE SAME questions I missed in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. THE EXACT SAME QUESTIONS which means for all the "studying" I claimed to be doing for the MCAT in verbal over the years, I was really just wasting time since I didn't improve significantly. And it was this knowledge that was the impetus for completely restrategizing (is that a word ??) my approach to verbal passages.

So what have I done? First, I no longer read the questions first EVER, because I find myself reading the passage in the context of the questions instead of the other way around. I also take notes in the margins of the passages to keep me from having to reread the them. I also ask myself what type of questions are on the test (via TPR) since that does help me to know what type of answer I should be looking for. What I found when I did last take the MCAT is that the EK 101 books are far more difficult than the actual exam but then things could have changed since 2007 or 2008 which was the last time I took the exam.

On to other things, I'm in the process of setting up a meeting with a PI who's known in the area as the 10 million dollar man because he has a million dollar "portfolio" of R01 grants. And obviously this is HUGE for my predoctoral studies and beyond. This PI is also on the adcom of said university and does bioinformatics and health disparities research, so this really could be a big deal in my career right now. So what's the downside? I hear he can be a beast to work for but what "10 million dollar man" isn't'? I've actually worked with him before when I was at the NCI doing Genetic/Cancer Epidemiology but considering I was far down the totem pole in terms of rank, he probably doesn't remember me at all. At any rate, I'm definitely going to give this a shot!!

The only other thing going on in my life right now is that my kid is out for Spring Break so I've kinda been chillin' at home with her (no Java programming of Bioinfo this week, just MCAT stuff). I figure this is probably the LAST opportunity where I'm going to have this kinda time for a VERY long while, so I may as well enjoy it!

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