GMAT Sentence Correction Secret - Listen to the sentence

GMAT SC Listening Once in a while, the GMAT will hurl a particularly nasty question in your direction, one that seems deliberately designed to make you feel uncertain about all of the answer choices. These sorts of questions will most likely include rare idioms, awkward phrasing, and suspicious pronouns to keep you off balance.

In these instances, sometimes your only defense is to plant your feet firmly on the ground, forget the rules, and pretend that you’re saying the sentence to your best friend. Pick whichever choice makes you feel the least ridiculous. However, this strategy should be reserved for those times when your knowledge of grammar isn’t helping much. Even if English is your second (or third) language, remember that using your ear and feeling the sentences on your tongue can still be one of your most powerful tools.

Take a look at the following question:

Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such a large degree as to make it difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming ever more dependent on information-based industries.

(A) lack math skills to such a large degree as to make it difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming
(B) lack math skills to a large enough degree that they will be difficult to absorb into a city’s economy that becomes
(C) lack of math skills is so large as to be difficult to absorb them into a city’s economy that becomes
(D) are lacking so much in math skills as to be difficult to absorb into a city’s economy becoming
(E) are so lacking in math skills that it will be difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming

Pretty nasty, right? Reading each choice aloud helps to clear things out.

This question is testing the proper use of the idioms “such X that Y” and “so X that Y,” in which Y should be a clause. The original sentence uses the idiomatically incorrect to such a large degree as to, rather than “that.”

Choice C uses lack as a noun instead of a verb, so the noun students loses its corresponding verb. Lack as a noun would be correct if students were a possessive, but unfortunately it isn’t. Choice D’s lacking so much in math skills as to be is unidiomatic because of the awkward insertion of much. Choice B is unnecessarily wordy and convoluted. Not only do we have to a large enough degree rather than simply so, but we also have an extra relative clause, economy that becomes, rather than simply economy becoming. In the absence of concrete grammatical errors, we need to look to stylistic concerns. Here, Choice E is far better stylistically. It uses the correct idiom “so X that Y” and is clear and concise. Choice E is correct.

Although at first glance their antecedents may seem unclear, the pronouns it and them in Choice E are not ambiguous. The pronoun it refers to the following phrase to absorb them into a city economy. What will be difficult? To absorb students into a city economy. Compare this to simple phrases such as “It is easy to bake a pie.” The pronoun “it” refers to the action “to bake pie.” What is easy? To bake a pie. The active version of this sentence is “Baking a pie is easy.”

The pronoun them can logically refer only to students, since it does not make sense to describe skills as absorbed into a city economy. It’s important to keep an eye out for pronoun errors, but don’t assume an answer choice is a weaker option just because you see pronouns.

Takeaway: Familiarity with correct idioms and proper pronoun usage will be invaluable come test day. That said, don’t forget that you can occasionally rely on your ear to steer you in the right direction.

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Top 31 MBA Programs + Analysis of 24 Industries (United States)

We analyze the MBA Curriculum, Class Profile, Total Cost and Post-MBA Salary of Top 31 MBA programs in the US.

+ Industry Trends

+ Future of Aerospace, Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automobile, Clean Tech, Education, Energy, Fashion, Financial Services, Insurance, FinTech, Government, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Military, Manufacturing, Maritime, Media/Advertising, Technology, Tourism, Trade, Transportation and Logistics, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR).

Pages: 327


"I have not reviewed many books for MBA Admission consulting companies but doing it now to give all applicants a brief idea on what the book covers. The book includes 31 top MBA programs - almost all the top schools you have heard or considering for your MBA application. Each chapter is categorized by US States where there is at least one top MBA program. So you have California and Massachusetts with the most number of MBA programs and several states with one top program (Washington, Minnesota, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Virginia, and Maryland) and other states with two to three MBA programs. The book focuses on four aspects of an MBA program - curriculum, cost, class profile and post-MBA salary. For me, the breakdown of the cost and post-MBA industry was useful to make my decision on selecting the top 5 programs for 2017-18. It is a fascinating read in an industry where consultants overprice for their expertise. I recently bought a 30-page guide for $49. Compared to the obvious observation in that book, the 300+ page, MBA in US - the Ultimate guide is a goldmine of information and analysis." - Verified Purchase (21st June 2017)

"I bought the ultimate guide after a friend recommended it for me. The guide covers a lot of ground on the history of each prominent US states and goes into the reasons why a certain industry emerged from each state. In addition to the analysis of the economy, trends and expected changes in the next 5 years, the book features top MBA programs in each state with an extensive study of its curriculum. Ultimate guide is an essential reference book for MBA Applicants if they want to shortlist MBA programs based on value and cost, and not just ranking. " - Verified Purchase (14th June 2017)

"Should be a required reading before applying for an MBA. School events and MBA Tours are PR events disguised as a Q&A. On the contrary, the book is an unbiased analysis of each Top MBA program in the US supported by a large dataset and historical context on each industry. The guide builds a case for indstries that are likely to emerge as favourite for MBA graduates. Thorough and a valuable book." - Verified Purchase (15th June 2017)

"What I liked: The breadth of the information. Some of my favorite nonfiction books have taken the same approach as the ultimate guide have - cover background information in-depth. In the book, the author uses parallel threads to demonstrate the history of the state and the rise of industries. Will make you think how schools thrive based on the policy set by the state. California's obsession with Technology has revolutionized how we do Business and changed post-MBA trends. Many MBA applicants will be consulting or doing marketing for a Technology company. That is one key finding from the book. The latest development in AI, FinTech, and Automation is an additional context that I found valuable in the book.

Very informative. I would recommend that you read the book at least once in chronological order before using Table of Contents." - Verified Purchase (2nd July 2017)

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