Verbal Reasoning on the MCAT

The Medical College Admissions Test strives to assess those specific skills that are predictive of future performance in medical school and on medical licensing examinations. Each of the four sections of the MCAT has been designed to measure specific knowledge and skills.

In the Verbal Reasoning section, the exam requires students to comprehend the content of a written passage; evaluate the information in the passage; apply this new information to situations not contained within the passage; and incorporate this information into a more general understanding of the subject.

Each of these tasks requires certain verbal skills. The ability to comprehend a written passage, for instance, depends on the ability to identify a thesis, to identify supporting evidence, to determine the meaning of vocabulary in context, to judge the relationships between ideas, and to identify the assumptions of the author. In order to evaluate a passage, students will need to be able to judge the soundness of reasoning, assess the credibility of sources, judge the strength of evidence, distinguish between supported and unsupported claims, and judge the relevance of information to an argument.

In order to apply the new information gleaned from a passage, students will need to predict the results based on the information given, recognize the scope of application for the information given, identify probable causes, and outline any general theories that are supported or refuted by the information.

Finally, in order to incorporate new information taken from the passage, students will need to be able to judge the importance of the new information, recognize any plausible alternatives to the arguments made by the passage, and determine how the conclusions of the passage and be made consistent with other outside information. All of these skills will be requisite for success on the Verbal Reasoning section of the MCAT.

Information provided by Morrison Media LLC

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