6 Essential Tips for the GMAT Sentence Correction
1. Watch out for parallelism
The sentence correction really only has a few tricks that you need to worry about. First, check for parallelism. Parallelism can be a little tricky, but it’s generally about making sure that clauses on either side of a comma resemble each other. For instance, if there’s an active verb form on one side of a comma (e.g. “He is tired”), then there needs to be an active verb form on the other side of the comma (e.g. “He is tired, so he takes a nap”), rather than a passive verb form (e.g. “so a nap is taken”).
2. Check for modifiers, verbs, and modifying phrases
In English, verbs and modifiers are attached to other words, which may be called predicates, subjects, or whatever else. The important thing is that you should always check what exactly the verbs and modifiers are attached to, and that they are in the proper form. Frequently, the GMAT will attempt to confuse you by creating a crazy sentence structure or by separating the verb and noun by a phrase. Don’t get tripped up! Singular nouns need singular verbs, nouns need adjectival modifiers, etc.; these basic grammatical rules don’t change because of a weird structure.
3. If an answer choice is wrong because of one tiny detail, it’s completely wrong
You may find yourself stuck between two answer choices. One sounds strange and off, the other sounds perfect. You’re all set to pick the second one, but there’s just one problem. It’s a run-on, attempting to use a comma where it should use a period. Should you ignore that issue? Nope! There are a few strict rules that you have to obey on sentence correction, and you can’t ignore them.
4. Don’t just rely on your ear
It is undoubtedly true that native English speakers have a big advantage on the GMAT, because they can often rule out answer choices just because they sound wrong. However, you can’t rely on your ear alone. Relying on your ear only works once you’ve gone through your checklist.
Although it’s primarily a grammatical test, you can also think of sentence correction as somewhat of a logical test. Any answer you pick has to contain all the elements to make the sentence make sense. For instance, if the sentence says “this year’s attendance in Glasgow was greater than 1978”, does that make sense, or is there something missing? How about “this year’s attendance in Glasgow was greater than 1978’s”?
6.Don’t worry too much about every grammatical rule
This is something that almost no test prep company will tell you. It’s in their interest to make you think that you have to memorize every idiom on the GMAT in order to do well. In fact, you don’t. Every answer choice on the sentence correction portion will have multiple things that make it wrong or right, which means that as long as you think about things logically, and are aware of the most common grammatical mistakes, you don’t have to sweat the small stuff.
What to Do After You’ve Read These Tips
So, now you’ve read these GMAT Sentence Correction tips and you’re ready to go? Great! Email me at the address in the header and I’ll set you up with a diagnostic test and an introductory meeting. My name’s Trevor Klee; I’m a Boston GMAT tutor who scored 750 on my GMAT and I’d be happy to get you scoring the same.