The verbal reasoning section of the MCAT test is primarily designed to assess an individual's reading comprehension skills. In order to test an individual's reading skills, the questions in the verbal section of the exam are designed specifically to analyze an individual's ability to understand the information he or she reads in a written passage, identify key attributes of the passage, and apply the information provided in the passage. The questions in this section that are designed to assess an individual's understanding of the passage and the individual's ability to identify key attributes of the passage will ask the individual to identify the main idea of the passage, identify the examples or explanations that support the main idea, identify background information related to the question, identify relationships between concepts or ideas included in the passage, identify assumptions made in the passage, identify a sentence as paraphrasing another more complex sentence in the passage, clarify a particular piece of information, or define a particular term from the passage based on the context.
The questions that require the individual to identify key attributes of the passage may also require the individual to use these attributes to evaluate the passage by determining whether the viewpoint established by the passage is valid or invalid, determine whether the viewpoint established by the passage appears to be from a credible source, determine whether the conclusion established by the passage is logical considering the reasoning that is included, determine the strength of a particular generalization or conclusion based on the examples and reasoning provided, determine whether or not a claim is sufficiently supported by examples and reasoning, or determine whether or not a particular piece of information is relevant to the viewpoint established by the passage. The questions in this section that require an individual to apply the information provided in the passage will ask the individual to make a hypothesis based on the information provided, use the information provided to solve a problem, determine the cause or result for the situation that is most likely, determine the importance of the conclusions or results included in the passage, determine how certain information in the passage can be applied to other situations, or identify a general theory or model that is established by the passage. These are not the only types of reading comprehension questions that will be included in the verbal reasoning section of the exam, but most of the questions will ask the individual to perform these tasks.
Last Updated: 04/23/2012