GMAT & MBA Admissions Blog

4 Simple Steps to Answer GMAT Sentence Correction Questions

Posted by Stefan Maisnier on Thu, Jun 17, 2021 @ 01:09 PM

The way the Official Guide to the GMAT, and too many GMAT tutors for that matter, explains how to answer GMAT sentence correction questions is overly confusing. The explanations are far too technical. You are taking the GMAT to get into an MBA program. The MBA programs wants to ensure you can read, write, and speak English well. Neither you nor the MBA program should be concerned with PhD level technical elements of the English language. In this article we’ll teach you how to correctly answer GMAT sentence correction questions by following a four-step process.

But before we jump in, let’s set some context about GMAT sentence correction questions.

What is a GMAT Sentence Correction question? What will you be asked to do?

You will be presented with a single sentence with an underlined portion to evaluate. The non-underlined portion of the original sentence is assumed to be correct as written. Choice A is always same as underlined as presented in original (remember this to save time!). Choice A is correct as frequently as any other choice is correct. Choices B through E present varying alternatives for the underlined portion.

How frequently do Sentence Correction questions appear on the GMAT? What are the strategic implications to consider?

You can expect to see a fair number of Sentence Correction questions. They will not be the least frequent, though they are also unlikely to clearly be the most frequent. Typically, you’ll see as many Sentence Correction questions as you see Reading Comprehension questions. You’ll usually see 2-3 more Sentence Corrections than Critical Reasoning.

Given the above, plan to spend approximately 1:30 per Sentence Correction question, on average. Your max should be 2:00 for any one question. If you aren’t sure what the right answer is, re-read only once before eliminating and guessing to save time. Consider skipping proactively if you cannot fully understand the sentence as currently written.

How do you answer GMAT Sentence Correction questions correctly?

You can employ a four-step process to answer most GMAT Sentence Correction questions correctly.

Step 1

  • Read the full sentence while attempting to identify and articulate a common error in the original as written.

Step 2

  • If an error is identified, eliminate Choice A and any other choices repeating the category of error.
  • If no error is identified, keep Choice A and seek small differences in other choices to identify common errors as reasons to eliminate.

Step 3

  • Keep evaluating choices for succinct, specific errors until only one choice remains potentially error-free.

Step 4

  • Read your selection back into the sentence to ensure it captures the intended meaning of the original.

What common errors should you look for when evaluating Sentence Correction questions?

The three types of errors below are quite common. Aggressively seek these errors in every sentence and every choice.

Subject verb agreement

  • Difference in number (dogs run vs. dog run)
  • Fragments and run-ons (too few or too many subject-verb pairs)

Verb tenses

  • Timing (past vs. present vs. future)
  • Conditionals (I will do my homework vs. I would do my homework)

Pronouns and articles

  • Difference in number (it vs. they)
  • Ambiguity (Bill, Bob, and Brent are at the store and he(?) bought gum)

What additional errors might you see a few times when evaluating Sentence Correction questions on the GMAT?

The three errors below are also somewhat common. Ensure certainty with these errors to evaluate every choice.

Modifier absurdity

  • Placement (the greatest painting, Pablo Picasso’s Guernica)
  • Adjectives vs. Adverbs (I run slow vs. I run slowly)

Parallelism and comparison

  • Grammatically (I ate, I ran, and I slept)
  • Conceptually (My favorite teams are the A’s, Raiders, and I like Man U)

Common GMAT idioms

  • Memorized English Rules (Fewer counts number, less counts amount)
  • Use as final issue to evaluate unless certain of error and proper fix

Conclusion

Any GMAT course or online GMAT verbal tutor who presents a GMAT Sentence Correction study plan that involves learning about logical predication or future perfect progressives for their own sake is likely leading you down an unhelpful path. Keep the four-step process and common errors above in mind when attacking the GMAT Sentence Correction question type.Visit our Youtube channel to view the entire Sentence Correction powerpoint presentation. 

 

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