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How to Solve Any Sentence Correction Problem on the GMAT, Part 2

With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

In Part 1 of this article, we talked about the five-step process to answer Sentence Correction (SC) problems:

  1. Take a first glance.
  2. Read the sentence.
  3. Find a starting point.
  4. Eliminate a
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4.

If you have not already learned that process, read Part 1 before continuing with this article.

Drills to Build Skills

How do you learn to do all this stuff? You are going to build some skills that will help at each stage of the way. The drills are summarized in this post; if you want the full description of each, check out the original article on the Manhattan GMAT blog.

Drill Number 1: Take a First Glance

Open up your Official Guide (OG) and find some lower-numbered SC questions that you have already tried in the past. Give yourself a few seconds (no more than five!) to glance at a problem, then look away and say out loud what you noticed in those few seconds.

As you develop your First Glance skills, start to read a couple of words: the one right before the underline and the first word of the underline. Do those give you any clues about what might be tested in the problem? For instance, consider this sentence:

Xxx xxxxxx xxxx xx and she xxx xxxxx xxxx xxxx xxx xxx xxxxx.

I have a strong suspicion that this problem might test parallelism, because the word and falls immediately before the underline. When I read the sentence, I will be looking for an X and Y parallelism structure.

Drill Number 2: Read the Sentence

Take a look at some OG problems you have tried before. Read only the original sentence. Then, look away from the book and articulate aloud, in your own words, what you think the sentence is trying to convey. You do not need to limit yourself to one sentence. You can also glance back at the problem to confirm details.

I want to stress the “out loud” part; you will be able to hear whether the explanation is sufficient. If so, try another problem.

If you are struggling or unsure, then one of two things is happening. Either you just do not understand, or the sentence actually does not have a clear meaning, and this is precisely why the choice is wrong! Decide which you think it is, and then check the explanation.

Next Steps

Spend the next week drilling these skills for steps 1 and 2. Then come back here to join us for the third part in this series, in which you will learn two more drills for the later steps of the SC process.




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