Friday, September 18

Sentence Correction

The use of colloquial language coupled with our innate ability to decipher the intended meaning are the biggest roadblocks for someone who is trying to achieve a high hit rate in SC. I find it really tough to spot the subjunctive, have problem with questions involving modifiers and being a non native speaker my ears find it hard to spot the idioms.

So, whats the way out for people like me? Practice, practice and practice. Thats the response i get from people who have either cracked the GMAT or who are GMAT instructors. Great, with all the resources handy i started practising and soon found my accuracy rate jump from 50% to approx 70-75%. Now i have hit the ceiling and hard work alone won't help me. I need to practice smarter and need to train at an altitude {no i'm not going to Himalayas, i will be practising harder problems}. But i soon figured out that solving harder problems alone won't help my cause. I need to figure out why a specific answer choice is right and why others are wrong.

Now i make a point to identify the error type in each of the answer choice. Also, i make sure to put down the reason for selecting a particular option. This habit has slowed me down a bit but i have become aware of so many fundamentals which i had been ignoring earlier. When to use -ing form of modifier, how "it, they, them" are different from subject pronouns etc. I have shortlisted Adamjon's notes /Sahil's notes and OG to get a good grasp of fundamentals. I am trying hard not to choose an option only by relying on my ears {what sounds right is not always gramatically correct}, i make sure that the option falls in one of the error category.

This habit helped me to figure out my problem areas in SC -- subjunctive/modifiers/idioms. Also, one should read the sentence in totality and try to get an understanding of author's intention. For eg:

The Lake Manyara Park in Tanzania affords the visitor with unequalled opportunities to photograph lions playing in trees without the aid of telephoto lenses.

Author intends to say that lions can be photographed without the aid of telephoto lenses but the sentence above gives an impression that lions are playing in trees withou the aid of TP lenses. {Here our mind plays the trick, it deciphers the intended meaning}

I found a useful tool in 2-3 split approach, which says that you often find answer choices where based upon the structure of sentence you can club the problems into 2 groups. Now, if you find a particular error in a group abandon all the choices falling in that group {No point in wasting time on wrong choices}. With practice it is easy to spot these 2-3 patterns and you will often find yourself struggling between 2 choices which are very close. Once you achieve this level hard work alone won't help, its time to work smarter. for e.g:

The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his inventions typically sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly from previous works.

(A) sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly
(B) sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but were slowly evolved
(C) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly
(D) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but had slowly evolved
(E) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but they were slowly evolved

A and B have sprang and C,D and E have did not spring...evolved slowly is in a and c and b and e have were slowly evolved.
Will share more of my thoughts on SC and other topics as and when i learn new fundae.


Eric Bahn said...

Hi William Wallace,

I just found your blog today while looking around for new GMAT bloggers on the Internet. I really enjoyed this post on Sentence Correction, especially your comment about how "Practice, practice and practice" is the means to improve your SC performance. So many people ask what the quick fix is to improve SC, but it really comes down to hard work. It's great to find a GMAT blogger who appreciates putting in the effort to improve.

Keep up the good work with this blog and I can't wait to read more!

Braveheart said...

Hi Eric,

Thanks a lot for the kind words :) ...

You are an inspiration behind this blog...still cant believe that Eric just posted a comment on my blog....

am a member of BTG and regularly participate in discussions....hats off for creating such a wonderful forum...

Eric Bahn said...

Hi William Wallace,

Wow, it's really a humbling to hear that Beat The GMAT was an inspiration for this blog. Thanks for those very kind words! And keep up the awesome work here!

seeker said...

Can u send me the below one to my mail id:
700-800 doc for SC, CR and RC..
pls do send any other stuff which u think is extremely useful.

Thanks in advance!!!