August 30, 2006

GMAT Sentence correction - 2 tips for effective learning

I received a bunch of e-mails asking for help with GMAT Sentence Correction. When I started preparation, I too ignored SC only to discover that it was my biggest weakness. I did a lot of catching up in 2 weeks.

The key to getting better at SC is practice - there is no substitution. If you are preparing for SC, keep in mind these things

  • You can certainly improve with some systematic practice
  • Do NOT rely on your basic knowledge of english to 'sniff' out mistakes. You have to understand the rules.
  • With some focused study and learning the typical SC 'corrections' that GMAT throws at you, you can substantially improve your score. But you must learn the rules and understsand how to identify mistakes in the paragraphs.
  • MGMAT SC and Princeton Review 2007 have good SC strategies. MGMAT SC is the best when it comes to teaching the concepts.
Now coming to practice itself, here is how I did it. (Click on image to see larger version)

The idea is this:

When you are solving a question, write down a,b,c,d,e with adequate space between them. As you tick off the answers, write down 'why' underneath them - using the standard terminologies. Don't write "this is weird", instead, write "pronoun reference error."

Once you do this repeatedly - identifying the type of problem, listing it, cross referencing the answer (both correct and wrong answers) - you will get better and better at it. I rapidly improved my score from low 60% to close to 90% within 2 weeks by using this style diligently. Maybe I'm suggesting complete common sense, but hey - I'm saying what I did.

You should also scan passages and catch errors as they occur. This will help you eliminate answer choices quickly.

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