The Verbal Reasoning section of GMAT is often considered the most challenging one to get through. Understanding the core idea behind this test section and planning your approach to the questions will help you score those extra points.
Through this article, you will understand the GMAT sentence correction section a little bit better and learn a few tips and tricks to get your answers right.
What is Sentence Correction?
The Verbal Reasoning section consists of three parts:
- Reading comprehension
- Critical assessment
- Sentence correction
All of these parts are aimed at testing different skills in your reading and comprehension capabilities. For example, the Sentence Correction part specifically tests two aspects in an examinee —the correctness of a sentence and the efficacy of a sentence. Correctness refers to the grammatical and structural properties of a sentence, while efficacy refers to the clarity and preciseness of its expression.
Interestingly enough, the GMAT sentence correction questions are designed to test whether or not you can detect the commonplace misuse of phrases, such as “due to.”
In fact, there are more factors that make the sentence correction section a tricky one to handle. Let’s read in detail about that.
Why Sentence Correction is Challenging
The first reason that makes correcting sentences extremely challenging is the way the human mind works. It has a habit of automatically filling in the missing information or and automatically mrntally correcting certain minor errors. So while you see the text, the errors don’t register in your mind, making you select the wrong answers.
Not surprisingly, to make things more complicated, this part is the very tailender of the section; the time when the mind is already exhausted. At this stage of the examination, you are probably uncertain about your performance so far and second-guessing your previous answers. Therefore, it is crucial to stay sharp and pause at each word you read to ensure you don’t miss out on any information in a sentence.
The second reason is that the sentences are designed to confuse the reader. Often, a tiny part of a sentence is actually meaningful for the question. The rest is just a filler.
So, then, what is an effective way to deal with this part of the test? Knowing the sentence correction rules of GMAT gives you a milestone to start with your preparation. Furthermore, practising using a GMAT sentence correction rules PDF helps you glean better information from examples. So, let’s elaborate on these rules for better understanding.
GMAT Sentence Correction Rules
Not precisely “rules” per se, this set of generally accepted concepts is like a guiding beacon that aims to help you eliminate the wrong answer instead of finding the right one. So let’s see what they are.
Steer Clear of Gerunds
You will find that reading sentences with a conjugated verb instead of a gerund is more natural and easily understood. However, wherever there is a gerund (“being” in particular), the sentence structure becomes fragmented and sounds awkward and incoherent. It is for this reason that such errors find their way into the GMAT sentence correction section.
If you spot the use of gerunds, it is a raised flag to scrutinize the sentence.
The Shorter, The Better
Shorter sentences are easier to comprehend. Their construction is straightforward, there are fewer errors, and are precise. As such, eliminating the needlessly wordy sentences from the list of answers should get the ball rolling in trying to find the right one.
Aim for the shortest structurally complete answer. However, do pay attention to the overall idea expressed by the sentence. It needs to answer the question asked.
Say No to Passive Voice
A corollary to the rule of shorter sentences further emphasizes that shorter sentences are preferred to the longer ones. Passive voice invariably increases sentence length significantly as compared to active voice. As such, it is always better to avoid answers that have flipped subject and object.
The Case of Dangling Modifiers
Phrases, words, or clauses that modify or further define the subject of a sentence have their proper place in it. These are called “modifiers.” A dangling modifier is just a misplaced modifier, so it describes the wrong element of the sentence.
For example, consider this sentence:
The pair of dogs belonged to the old ladies, just drinking tea all day in the deck and tanning themselves.
Here, there is an ambiguity. You don’t know whether it’s the dogs or the old ladies who are drinking tea and tanning themselves.
You can spot a dangling modifier easily because it often makes a sentence sound illogical. Try to spot these to narrow down your search for the correct answer. You may use the GMAT sentence correction sample questions PDF to get a good practice session in.
Apples can’t be compared with oranges. Similarly, in a sentence, nouns must be compared with nouns. This is the logical flow. Examine the element being compared, and what it is compared to: both must belong to the same family.
The best way to spot illogical comparisons is to look for the words “like” and “unlike.” These errors may not be self-explanatory initially, but you can spot them somewhat upon a critical inspection.
By now, you must be amply familiar with how sentence correction works in GMAT.
The GMAT tests your language proficiency through its Verbal Reasoning section. It is structured in a way that brings out your aptitude in understanding the subtle nuances of English.
A little hands-on practice with CareerLabs’ GMAT sentence correction questions PDF goes a long way to gain a thorough understanding. In addition, CareerLabs provides a wide range of resources for candidates of GMAT, including a huge collection of sentence correction sample questions. Sentence correction sample questions with answers and exaplanations pdfs are also available. It also provides a printable set of sentence correction rules to use as a handy guide.
Gain a detailed insight on the sentence correction aspect of GMAT and improve your score on the test significantly.