Sentence Correction

November 27, 2006

Correction Center

One thing common to all high scorers is that they all do the SC's with almost 100% accuracy. I feel that Sentence Correction is very very tricky and can make or break your 750+ dream. But even while I'm writing this post, I'm not so sure how to make the best of it. I am confused as to whether I discuss the grammar rules here, or make it a discussion forum for SC questions. So, just now I've decided not to do any of those and tell you how you can master SC. You must have heard that thing about giving a hungry man a fish to eat, or teaching him to fish and help him feed himself for the rest of his life. So I think I'll help you learn fishing. Let's fish!!

Your fishing gear:

  1. Official Guide
  2. Mahattan SC
  3. Kaplan Verbal Workbook
  4. A good eyesight!!
In addition to all this, i would recommend you to keep a good grammar book handy for reference. I have my good old Wren & Martin. My mantra is to keep your basics straight. Right after you finish reading this post, go and wipe off the dust off the book and start with the following topics:
  1. Nouns -- collective nouns, singular/plural rules
  2. Verbs -- subject-verb agreement
  3. Pronouns -- antecedents
  4. Adverbs
  5. Tenses, sequence of tenses
This is pretty much which you can cover from your grammar book. Once you enter the GMAT land, you will see many new terms -- dangling modifiers, split infinitives, things like that...scary stuff. But don't be scared. Just make sure you have covered the basic topics listed above thoroughly. When I say thoroughly, I presume that you've made notes and listed out the rules on a small notebook that you can keep handy with you. I stress on making notes, simply because it helps....a lot!!

Okay so now you have covered the basic stuff...time to move on to a higher level...start with the Manhattan SC. It has around 15 chapters I guess. I finished it off in a week. One important thing here...make sure that before you do the've covered the stuff thoroughly.

I know doing the problems over and over again helps...but there's a catch...if you do the same problem over and over again...your performance is bound to go up, although your actual performance may not be going up at all simply cuz you've memorized the answers. So whenever you take up the exercise for the first time...make sure you are properly prepared and don't cheat yourself.

Don't be smug about finishing off the book, you've to do it again after you realise you're doing some mistakes over and over again. So now it's time to start the OG. Follow the same 50 questions a day schedule and finish off the OG SC in not more than 15 days. Remember you have to take all the sections together and still manage to finsh them off simultaneously. The key is to schedule your sessions in a planned manner and execute the plan accordingly within strict time limits.

Finishing off the OG means that you've a list of all the mistakes, question type-wise analysis chart, accuracy meter readings and everything as told in my earlier posts. This is pretty much what you will do in with your CR, or RC or for that matter any section. Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes...they are your enemy. Spot them, destroy them!!

I'll come back with some really cool tips for SC and then you'll see how your accuracy rises up!! Till then happy prepping...lemme know about your preparations and problems you are facing.

Sentence Correction Tips & Tricks :

Okay I'm back!! Let's start right away....
  1. Try to spot the mistake before looking at the answer choices.
  2. Go over the list of common SC errors in your mind. There are around 8 common errors. (Kaplan gives you the 8 most common errors...subject-verb, pronouns,.....pick out the first letter from all these and form a word and go through it whenever faced with an SC.)
  3. Scan the answer choices vertically...this is very very useful!!
  4. Most of the answer choices have a 2-3 formation....that is 2 of one type and rest 3 of other try to narrow down on choices.
  5. Elimination....very helpful!!
  6. Last but not the least...don't right away discard choice me I think 5 out of 15 questions on my my final exam were A!!! (atleast I think they were A...and I got 45 on verbal :-D)
Here I would like to add that 2,3 & 5 did it for me...simple!!

Guys...these are only tips...but until and unless you focus on your weak areas in SC...nothing is gonna help. My weak areas were Parallelism and Pronouns. But I worked on them...wrote down every type of error I found and eventually got better on those types of SC.

Don't forget the idioms. It will take sometime to familiarise yourself with idioms. And everyone knows idioms are VERY important if you want to reach that 95% accuracy level. I have a list of idioms....go thru it...I stuck it before my study table and now I have memorised most of them without an extra effort.

To be continued...

Suggested Books : Wren & Martin, Manhattan SC, Kaplan 800, Kaplan Verbal Workbook, Official Guide

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Nothing much. Love capturing the essence of a beautiful place with my camera. Helps me appreciate the endless beauty around us. Like to tinker with stuff. Have a long wish list.