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GMAT Tip: Focus on Sentence Corrections

GMAT test takers tend to get really focused on the quantitative section. Somehow, it seems like that in order to score a 700+ on the GMAT, we must work on endless amounts of algebra and geometry concepts, coupled with hundreds of problem solving and data sufficiency questions.

The verbal section must be easier right? You scored a 54% in quantitative and a 43% in verbal, but you were just not having a great grammar day, right?

Not necessarily.

The vast majority of GMAT students overlook the obvious and, often, more attainable question types – particularly sentence correction. In some instances, such as in high-stakes finance or economics programs, a MBA admissions team may place importance on the quantitative score. For Ivy League programs, beyond scoring that coveted 780+, having a balanced score is ideal.

But for the remaining business candidates, the goal is to simply do the best we can. While it can take longer to first re-learn exponent rules and then apply that to a problem solving or data sufficiency question, working on the verbal section does not mean you are picking the sucker route, but recognizing that the GMAT tests each component 50/50 for a reason. Furthermore, the GMAT is testing the same thinking skills – flexible mindset, critical reasoning, and logical thinking – just within a different question type.

Let’s consider this 700+ level sentence correction question:

At nearly thirty-eight million dollars, one of the least costly options being considered, the delegate’s proposal was ultimately rejected not only on account of its sizable budget but also on account of its considerable risk.

A. At nearly thirty-eight million dollars, one of the least costly options being considered, the delegate’s proposal was ultimately rejected not only on account of its sizable budget but also on account of its considerable risk.

B. Even at nearly thirty-eight million dollars, the delegate’s proposal was among the less costly options being considered; it was ultimately rejected not on account of its sizable budget but on account of its riskiness.

C. The delegate’s thirty-eight million dollar proposal, which was ultimately not rejected on account of its sizable budget but on account of its riskiness, had actually been one of the less costly options being considered.

D. The delegate’s thirty-eight million dollar proposal, nevertheless among the least costly options being considered, was ultimately not rejected on account of its sizable budget, but its riskiness.

E. Ultimately rejected due not just to its sizable budget but also to its considerable risk, the delegate’s proposal, even at thirty-eight million dollars, was one of the least costly options under consideration.

We will go ahead and be up-front: the correct answer to this question is (B). We aren’t going to break this question line by line, or dive into how we use process of elimination effectively here, but rather, what makes it equally worthy of your study time.

The first point of difficulty is that the entire sentence is underlined – read, “freak out.” The GMAT has set this question up to looking incredibly intimidating and time-consuming. From there, they haven’t even made our ability to assess answer choices straightforward as multiple choice options are incredibly difficult to read and are varied.

But, if we take this sentence apart, in a methodical fashion, word-by-word we should able to decipher a few key decision points and understand the GMAT is testing three of the seven key areas it focuses on repeatedly – modifiers, logical meaning, and comparisons.

Yes, just like the quantitative section, practice makes perfect. But here, we worry less about 30+ math topics we need to understand on a basic level, but instead can look for obvious trigger points for repeated errors types. Does each word make sense against the next work? Are the pieces of the sentence put together effectively? Does the timeline of the sentence make sense?

When you give sentence correction more attention and don’t focus on it just being about whether someone is “good at grammar” but place it in the grand scheme of the GMAT’s overall goals, then you’ll realize perfecting sentence correction not only helps you boost your score but also helps you built strategic thinking skills that you can apply to quantitative questions that have the added hurdle of requiring that you know in-depth integer properties.


The above GMAT Tip comes from Veritas Prep. Since its founding in 2002, Veritas Prep has helped more than 100,000 students prepare for the GMAT and offers the most highly rated GMAT Prep course in the industry.

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Posted in: Feature Small, GMAT, GMAT - Verbal, GMAT Tips

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