Skip to content

Improving MCAT Verbal Reasoning

2012 April 12
by Aaron

Last April, I scored a 13 on the Verbal Reasoning (VR) subsection of the MCAT. You can examine the Verbal Reasoning data (found below) from all of the 86,181 administrations of the MCAT in 2011, but I will briefly summarize. Only 1.1% of test-takers obtained a 13, and only .2% (that’s right only 173 people) scored better than I did. I am not giving you this information to brag, but rather to prove that I am uniquely qualified to help you all improve your MCAT Verbal Reasoning score.

Verbal Reasoning has the lowest mean score of any subsection. It is also almost unanimously considered the hardest score to improve upon. I don’t think that is true. This data shows me that there are tons of MCAT points just waiting to be had, especially in the VR section. How many people do you think each year don’t get into medical school because of a 6 or a 7 or a 8 on their VR sub-score? The answer is way too many, and I don’t want that to be you.

There are lots of “techniques” and “strategies” out there for this section, and for the most part I disagree with the test-prep companies. Over the course of the next 2 weeks I will be publishing a 4-part “Guide to MCAT Verbal Reasoning.” This is something that I have put a lot of work and thought into and I am extremely excited about it. I will cover common misconceptions about VR, how to approach the section successfully, a practice passage in action, and much more.

Update: Just to make navigation a bit easier, I have linked my 4 posts about improving MCAT Verbal Reasoning scores. I hope they help!

Part 1 – Misconceptions About Verbal Reasoning

Part 2 – The Right Way to Approach MCAT VR

Part 3 – My Easy Method in Action

Part 4 – Tips and Tricks for MCAT Verbal Reasoning


improving mcat verbal reasoning

17 Responses Post a comment
  1. Amrin permalink
    April 12, 2012

    Thats awesomeee!!! I am so grateful that you share your premed life and insights about the mcat. I am really looking forward in reading your guide for the VR. I need all the insight I can get. Really appreciate it. I’m currently a sophmore, and plan to take the mcat next spring. I have to started asap. Let the games begin!!

    Keep rocking!! :)

    • April 13, 2012

      Hi Amrin!

      I am really looking forward to these upcoming posts and I am glad you are too! If you are a sophomore you have plenty of time before you have to start worrying about the MCAT, but you should definitely be learning what the test is all about. Don’t spend more than 3-4 months studying for it hardcore though. It is a fun, difficult road to get into medical school. Stick around here and I will try and help you as much as I can.


  2. April 14, 2012

    I can’t wait for these posts! I currently have purchased the Berkeley Review Verbal and the Examkrackers 101 Verbal. I read that the Princeton Review Hyperlearning Verbal Workbook is very helpful. Do you recommend it?

    • April 14, 2012

      I love the ExamKrackers 101 Verbal Reasoning passages! They are really great practice and I did all 14 practice tests before taking the real MCAT (or even my first practice test). I am not familiar with Berkeley Review or Princeton Review products, but I will give my own helpful tips soon. Make sure to keep coming around here!

  3. April 15, 2012

    i’m excited to see what you post because i too scored high on VR but i wasn’t quite sure what was the method behind my madness. also, (and i’m not meaning to poke fun at you) i thought it was slightly ironic that you wrote “this data shows” when data is plural on an entry about verbal reasoning. :)

    • April 16, 2012

      Says the comment with zero capitalization. Grammar Nazi fail 😉

  4. Fiona permalink
    August 3, 2012

    You are such a Saint! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and dedicating so much time to helping us keeners :D.

    • August 4, 2012

      No problem Fiona! Are you taking the MCAT soon? If so, I hope that this helps you out.

  5. Beth permalink
    August 20, 2012

    Hi, thanks so much for the info! Has the guide been released yet?

    • August 21, 2012


      There are already 4 more posts about doing well on VR. They should be under the MCAT category.


  6. September 16, 2012

    I tested recieved a 13 and and i didn’t study at all. I am not a reader but always have been strong in math and tested out of courses in college. Make me wonder if strong math skills are really assoicated with individuals that test well in this section.

  7. Irfan Syed permalink
    January 20, 2013


    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences on the MCAT. I found your tips and strategies for the MCAT Verbal incredibly helpful – more so than my class lectures and verbal reasoning notes from my prep course. You concisely, yet accurately describe the daunting experiences of the test-taker during this section, and explain how to avoid those common mistakes, how to change ones approach, and also how to dispose of those myths and bad practices that are said to be beneficial for Test Day (such as ranking the difficulties of the passages and attempting them in a particular order). My exam is next week (Jan 26th) and I’m hoping that my verbal will be closer to my maximum score. Thanks again and I wish you all the best in the future!


    • January 22, 2013


      Thank you so much for taking the time to write me a nice comment. It made my day. I will be sending good thoughts your way on Jan 26th. I am sure you will do great. Good luck and let me know how it went.


  8. Talia S. permalink
    April 4, 2013


    I enjoyed reading what you had to say about this section. I’ve definitely been feeling the whiplash of Verbal Reasoning in the past few months and don’t know if I’m fully ready for this section of the test. I’m scheduled to take it in 5 weeks, do you think this is enough time to raise my score by 2 or 3 points in VR? Should I still buy the Examcrackers book? I took a Kaplan course but didn’t feel ready after I took the course itself and my VR score has been consistently between 6-8 every time. I would really appreciate your feedback. Thanks for putting so much time and effort into writing about your experiences to help others!

    • May 7, 2013

      Hi Talia,

      I would say that everyone is different. I really thought that the EK VR book was great for my score, but with only 5 weeks to go it is probably a bit late to do those as you should be doing practice tests.


  9. Jasmine permalink
    August 30, 2015

    I cant find an answer to this question in any of the blogs out there. How should I be reviewing my verbal questions after I take an exam? Should I be writing down the explaination? that seems like a waste, its not like I will have the passage in front of me when Im reviewing my notes. Should I just be reading it and taking note of the misktake I made?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Short List-July 2012 | PracticalPremed

Leave a Reply

Note: You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS