MCAT Chaney`s Verbal Reasoning Mastery Lecture Notes #4

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Charles Chaney’s VR Mastery
•Curriculum for Increasing Verbal Reasoning
Scores
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Chaney’s VR Strategies
Addressing the Questions.
– Predicting the questions for each passage is vital
to scoring well on the VR section of the test.
• Can you anticipate the VR test questions and identify
wrong answer choices?
– In the final months of your training, plan on going through at
least 70 or more passages before you take the test.
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Cheney’s VR Strategies
– Addressing the Questions.
• Learn and become comfortable with the eight question
types.
– Main idea questions.
» The thesis of the passage tying everything together.
» Wrong answer choices are either too narrow in focus or
beyond the scope of the passage.
• Note: Just because an answer is true does not make it
correct or the best answer choice.
– Direct comprehension questions.
Comprises the majority of VR questions.
Asks you to draw the direct, non-implied conclusion based on
passage material (evidence).
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Cheney’s VR Strategies
– Addressing the Questions.
• Three point analysis strategy.
– Regarding the event, argument or phenomenon of the passage,
you need to answer three questions about it:
» What are the claims of this argument; what does it
represent or state?
» When does this argument succeed or fail; what weakens
and strengthens it?
» Who supports and rejects this argument and why?
– Key words in the question stem signalling a DC question:
» Can be concluded, which one best represents, are the
reasons for, which would be the most /least effective.
» Note: Make mental or physical notes about the main idea of
each paragraph of the passage as you read.
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Cheney’s VR Strategies
– Addressing the Questions.
• Direct reference question.
– A question stem that makes a direct reference to the material
and/or refers back to specific words in the passage.
» Don’t worry about looking back at the passage to answer
the question; rather you should look back only to confirm
your answer.
• Students typically waste too much time looking back
over the passage.
» These questions also test your understanding of
assumptions, implications, applications, function and
structure and deduction.
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Cheney’s VR Strategies
– Addressing the Questions.
• Inference question.
– Key words signaling inference questions include: imply, the
passage suggests, it can be inferred.
– Inference questions are not state explicitly, so you don’t need to
look back at the passage to identify the answer.
– This question stem tests your understanding of concepts and
ideas NOT stated in the passage.
» This question type entails that you understand
argumentation and how arguments are constructed.
• You must feel comfortable identifying:
• Stated conclusions.
• Stated evidence.
• Implied conclusions.
• Implied evidence.
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Cheney’s VR Strategies
– Addressing the Questions.
• Logical argument review.
– Premises—reasons and evidence.
– Conclusion—inference drawn from reasons and evidence.
– Evidence—Facts, opinions, assumptions (unstated evidence).
» Assumption questions dictate that the implied evidence
(unstated assumption/evidence) MUST be true in order
for the conclusion to be true.
• Therefore, the correct answer for an assumption
question MUST be true in order for the conclusion to
be true.
• Thus an answer that could be true, or is sometimes
true, is wrong.
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Cheney’s VR Strategies
– Addressing the Questions.
• Structure and function questions.
– These question stems test your ability to understand and appreciate the
arrangement of the passages as well as the purpose of the passage or key
parts of it (ideas, phrases, etc).
» Avoid confusing main idea questions with structure function questions.
• The main idea is often distinctly different from the passages’
purpose.
• Note: Whenever you’re confronted by facts or evidence from the
passage, always ask yourself why the author presents it.
– Questions asking for the purpose of a word or phrase are really testing your
understanding of the author’s arguments and ideas
» Read below the surface of the test to understand the purpose and
structure of each paragraph and frequently ask why and how given
information is presented in the passage.
» Key words signaling structure and function questions:
• The purpose of, probable reason for, in order to, the structure of,
what role, etc.
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Cheney’s VR Strategies
– Addressing the Questions.
• Strengthen and weaken questions.
– These question stems test your ability to understand and appreciate how
concepts, ideas and arguments in the passage succeed or fail.
» You need to think about ways in which an argument can be
strengthened or weakened.
• Note: Use answer elimination strategies for these questions.
• There’s a trend indicating that one answer choice is the
OPPOSITE to what the question asks.
• There’s a trend indicating that one answer choice NEITHER
strengthens NOR weakens the argument.
• Note: Whenever you’re confronted by facts or evidence from the
passage, always ask yourself why the author presents it.
– Key words in the stem signaling a strengthen and weaken question:
» Which would weaken, which would strengthen, which would be most
troublesome, which would most help to clarify, which statement is
inconsistent with, etc.
• Note: Answer choices that use extreme language MUST be
explicitly supported or they can quickly be
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Cheney’s VR Strategies
– Addressing the Questions.
• About the author questions.
– These question stems test your ability to understand and
appreciate your awareness of the author’s attitude toward the
topic.
» Identifying the author’s argument will go a long way to
helping get a better idea of the author’s attitude.
» Pay close attention to the deeper levels of meaning, such as
the inferences and tone, the author’s vantage point, etc.
» Key words in the stem signaling about the author questions:
• The author would most likely agree with, the opinion of
the author, the tone of the author, the author’s point,
the author’s attitude, etc.
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Cheney’s VR Strategies
– Addressing the Questions.
• New information questions.
– These question stems test your ability to apply and incorporate new
concepts from outside/inside the passage.
» Avoid the temptation to select the answer that looks most similar to
the passage.
• Try answering the question yourself before looking at the
answer choices.
» A four-step method for new information questions:
• Summarize the main points of each paragraph.
• Determine the how, who and what for each point.
• Make a prediction of the answer in your own words.
• Compare answer choices.
» Key words in the stem signaling new information questions:
• Suppose it were demonstrated, given the following were true,
consider the following, etc.
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Cheney’s VR Strategies
– Addressing the Questions.
• Final advice.
– How do you avoid attractive answer choices that are wrong?
» Always attempt to answer the question on your own first,
then look for two fairly common wrong choices: the
answer is opposite to what is being asked and the answer
that is never mentioned in the passage.
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