October 25, 2012
- How does this author structure their passage? You have to know why any individual paragraph is there, and know that the purpose of the other information in that paragraph is likely to support the main idea of the paragraph! It is important, as a skill, to think about structure because when passages deviate from the expected structure there are likely points to be gained in your score (they're going on and on about advantages of something, and ... never mention disadvantages? That's odd! They must be biased.).
- What is the author's opinion? And -- for that matter -- if they mention other sources, what are their opinions? Opinion is always rich with opportunities for questions, of all different types
- What are the author's biases? Similar to the opinion, but you have to judge how neutral (or fair) they are. A whole passage defending a painter’s decline in status, for example, is filled with biases, opinions, etc. and you have to keep them straight!
- What is the significance of such a passage? The MCAT likes people who challenge the status quo. That's why "traditional" views are often refuted and "new" views are touted.