I have been struggling with SC since the last 2 months. I have done the Manhattan GMAT SC Guide, as well as, the Official guide multiple times. But my scores are just not going up. I seem to know all the rules like the back of my hand but when it comes to the actual test I seem to make mistakes in the most obvious of places. What is worse is that even after practising so hard I don’t seem to figure out where I am going wrong. Is there anything – just about anything – I can do to improve my accuracy in SC?”

I perhaps have this question multiple times over the forums, over personal messages, over emails, and even in person. It intrigues me since I think the basic problem is for all to see but somehow we tend to not know this.

Let me start with a simple question. How many formulae are there in maths? Say about 100 in each topic MAX. So that makes it about 300 put together in arithmetic, geometry and algebra. Now let us say that you were to mug up these formulae, how long would it take? 50 a day, so maybe 6 days? A week at the max? So would that mean that in about a week’s time you will get 51?

Somehow when people are confronted with this logic it seems apparent the answer is NO. So why would you think that studying the rules of grammar are going to help you in Sentence Correction.

Let me clarify – rules of grammar are definitely very, very important. Without knowing the rules, as Metallica would sing, nothing else matters! I would go so far as to say that you will never reach beyond a raw score of 20-25 based purely on your reliance on “sounds right”. However you will have to realize that Grammar rules are the basic stepping stone.
I call this the totem-pole of Sentence Correction.

There are essentially 3 levels at which you get questions:

So what is happening here is something very simple -  you are doing well on questions which are placing the noun away from the modifier and do not have the right antecedent to the pronoun. However what confuses you is when the sentence becomes a wee bit more convoluted at the 700-800 level. At this point the “toughness” is not based on just knowing the rules. Let us sample this question from GMATPrep software:

As the former chair of the planning board for 18 consecutive years and a board member
for 28 years, Joan Philkill attended more than 400 meetings and reviewed more than 700
applications.

A. As the former
B. The former
C. Former
D. She was
E. As the

There is very little of room you have to “play around” with grammar. To begin with you know that this is a modifier that modifies Joan Philkill. What else? These are questions that leave you stumped and on which, after about 90seconds of indecision, you go ahead and mark an answer choice since it “sounds “right.

Let us try to see what it “means”. It says 2 things – (a) that Joan attended meetings and reviewed applications, (b) that she did it WHILE she was the chair of the planning board. Now, what does the word “former” mean? It means WHILE she was the FORMER chair of planning board she attended these meetings and reviewed those applications! Ofcourse not!

She did it during her tenure as the chair of planning board and not after that. So all answer options with the word “Former” are ruled out. A, B, and C eliminated. Did you end up choosing any of these?

Leaves you with just D and E. D starts with “She was” – making it an independent clause with a subject. Perhaps from your knowledge of the rules of grammar you will remember that this is a run-on sentence and hence incorrect. Leaves you with E - the right answer.
Through this example (from GMATPrep) I hope you have understood that a 700+ question will always be more elegant than to just test you on the technicalities of grammar.

Arun Jagannathan is the founder of CrackVerbal and is an expert on topics related to the GMAT and MBA abroad. He is excited about exploring various ways in which the GMAT can be taught as well as helping people with their career related queries. Arun is considered by many as one of the finest GMAT trainers, and an excellent MBA coach.

CrackVerbal was founded in 2006 and since then has catered to hundreds of students aspiring for an MBA from top business schools around the world. We attract exceptional GMAT tutors including MBA graduates from top programs such as ISB, Oxford, and IIM-A PGPX. Our curriculum and teaching methodology are continuously revised, toeing the changing pattern of the actual GMAT test each year. We have a well defined student-centric support system which aims to make the CrackVerbal experience awesome!

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

Reviews

"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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