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Busting Some GMAT SC Myths

Busting Some GMAT SC Myths

Today we will bust some SC myths using a question. The following are the myths:

Myth 1: Passive voice is always wrong.

Active voice is preferred over passive voice but that doesn’t make passive voice wrong.

Myth 2: The same pronoun cannot refer to two different antecedents in a sentence.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Sentence Correction in Real Life

GMAT Tip of the Week: Sentence Correction in Real Life

Totes McGotes. FML. Sorry for partying. I know, right? Of the common phrases that have permeated pop culture and everyday conversation, easily one of the most common is, wait for it…

Wait for it.

And that one phrase can totes make your GMAT score supes high. Like, for real.

How?

2 Sentence Correction GMAT Questions Involving Participle Modifiers

2 Sentence Correction GMAT Questions Involving Participle Modifiers

Today, as promised last week, we will look at a couple of questions involving participle modifiers. We will take one question in which you should use the participle and another in which you should not.

1 Important Rule for GMAT Sentence Correction

1 Important Rule for GMAT Sentence Correction

Some sentence structures seemingly stupefy scholarly students. One of the main reasons the GMAT chooses to test logic through sentence correction is that the rules of grammar are much more flexible than most students realize. We (hopefully) remember some of the basic rules of sentences. Sentences should have a subject and a predicate, but you can often shorten sentences in specific contexts. Like this. The rules we’ve learned in high school are relevant, but (to paraphrase Pirates of the Caribbean) they’re more like guidelines.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
How Well Would Mark Twain Do on the GMAT?

How Well Would Mark Twain Do on the GMAT?

I’ve often contemplated who would excel at the GMAT. After all, the exam is about logic, analytical skills, problem-solving abilities and time management. Surely to shine on the exam a test taker should be smart, methodical, insightful and perceptive (and blindingly handsome). Clearly, some people have done quite well on this exam, but others never got the chance because they never actually took the test. While some have been intimidated by the nature of the test, others simply were born too early to have even heard of this exam.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
A Closer Look at Absolute Phrases on the GMAT

A Closer Look at Absolute Phrases on the GMAT

Read the following sentences:

  1. About 70 percent of the tomatoes grown in the United States come from seeds that have been engineered in a laboratory, their DNA modified with genetic material not naturally found in tomato species.
  2. The defense lawyer and witnesses portrayed the accused as a victim of circumstance, his life uprooted by the media pressure to punish someone in the case.
  3. Researchers in Germany have unearthed 400,000-year-old wooden spears from what appears to be an ancient lakeshore hunting ground, stunning evidence that human ancestors systematically hunted big game much earlier than believed.

Which grammatical construct is represented by the underlined portions of these sentences?

Common Errors to Avoid on Sentence Correction GMAT Questions

Common Errors to Avoid on Sentence Correction GMAT Questions

There are many famous expressions in the English language. Many of them are clever turns of phrase that refer to commonplace ideas and concepts in everyday life. You obviously don’t need to memorize these for the GMAT (A house divided against itself is not an integer), however some expressions can be easily applied to various GMAT problems. One common expression is that you’re comparing apples and oranges. This expression typically means that you are attempting to compare two elements that are not analogous and therefore incomparable. This idiom can be particularly apt in sentence correction problems.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
How Veritas Prep Helped me Reach a 770 on the GMAT

How Veritas Prep Helped me Reach a 770 on the GMAT

The following article comes from Eliza Chute, a motivated GMAT self-studier who scored an impressive 770 on the GMAT.  Eliza utilized numerous resources to help her prepare for the GMAT, including Veritas Prep’s GMAT Question Bank and GMAT Practice Test.  Here, Eliza describes her experience using both resources and makes strategic recommendations for how to get the most out of each resource to help you with your GMAT preparation.

How to Understand Your GMAT Practice Test Results and Score Higher Next Time

How to Understand Your GMAT Practice Test Results and Score Higher Next Time

Panic starts to creep in.

“How could this have happened? I was doing so well!”, you think. “What do I do now?”

A bad practice test can happen to anyone. In isolation, it’s certainly not the end of the world, but you should use the result to diagnose what went wrong and how to fix it moving forward. There are several potential causes worth considering. Let’s look at a few:

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
GMAT Tip of the Week: Come On,Commas! 3 Reasons You Should Look Forward To Commas On Sentence Correction

GMAT Tip of the Week: Come On,Commas! 3 Reasons You Should Look Forward To Commas On Sentence Correction

Admit it – perhaps your favorite thing about the social media revolution is that you’re (or is it “your”?) almost done having to think about punctuation ever again. Hashtags don’t allow for punctuation, and with only 140 characters to express your point of view or challenge three friends to dump water on their heads, who can afford to waste a character on a comma or semicolon?

GMAT Tip of the Week: The 2 Most Important Lessons You Will Learn from Mrs. Doubtfire

GMAT Tip of the Week: The 2 Most Important Lessons You Will Learn from Mrs. Doubtfire

For those considering higher education this week, Robin Williams’ memory looms large. The lessons he taught in Dead Poets’ Society and Good Will Hunting have made their way around the internet more quickly and in more contexts than even Williams’ genie character from Aladdin could throw out references.

GMAT Tip of the Week: 5 Words to Recognize Before You Start a Sentence Correction Problem

GMAT Tip of the Week: 5 Words to Recognize Before You Start a Sentence Correction Problem

After you read this post about what to look for before you begin reading a Sentence Correction problem, you’ll be an SC expert since this strategy will tell you when to shift your focus from whatever it’s on to timeline and tense. Ready to get started?

GMAT Tip of the Week: Instagram Your Way To Sentence Correction Success

GMAT Tip of the Week: Instagram Your Way To Sentence Correction Success

As our attention spans get shorter, the GMAT’s verbal section gets harder. Admit it – at some point in the verbal section of your latest practice test, and maybe earlier in that section than you’d like to admit, you just got bored, or at least lost in all the reading.

5 Errors to Look For in Sentence Correction Questions on the GMAT

5 Errors to Look For in Sentence Correction Questions on the GMAT

I recently received the following question from a student. “I often get into trouble with ambiguous pronouns. If it is not clear what “they” or “it” refers to I eliminate the answer choice. I like to do this because it seems easy, but I keep getting burned using this technique. So my question is, if it is not clear what a pronoun refers to is that answer choice wrong?”

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
4 Steps to Improve Your Essay Writing for the SAT and College Applications

4 Steps to Improve Your Essay Writing for the SAT and College Applications

Introduction, body paragraph, body paragraph, body paragraph, conclusion. Once you’ve mastered the basic five-paragraph format for short essays, it quickly begins to feel tiresome and overly basic. Fortunately, though the main themes of the five-paragraph essay are important to nearly all levels of academic or professional writing beyond high school. The five-paragraph essay itself becomes less and less relevant to school and work after graduation. However, there are plenty of things you can do to make simple five-paragraph essays (like the one assigned by the SAT) more impressive, interesting, and intricate. Here are a few.

Filed in: College, SAT
GMAT Tip of the Week: 5 Questions To Ask When Preparing For Your GMAT Retake

GMAT Tip of the Week: 5 Questions To Ask When Preparing For Your GMAT Retake

If you’re taking the GMAT with the intent of applying to a top-tier business school, there’s a relatively fair chance that you’ll end up having/wanting to retake the GMAT. Which may sound horrible, but it’s true – in fact, several top schools note that their average students take the test more than twice, so if you see a frustrating score pop up during your first, second, or even third attempt don’t let yourself get too down. Rest assured that:

Increase Your Speed on Reading Comprehension GMAT Questions

Increase Your Speed on Reading Comprehension GMAT Questions

One common complaint that people have when finishing the GMAT is that they are mentally exhausted. Indeed the exam is a marathon that tests your overall endurance, but also your time management skills. You have about two minutes per question in the math section, and slightly less than that on the verbal part.  Since timing is such an integral part of the exam, it’s important not to lose too much time on any specific question type on the exam. It’s perfectly natural to be more at ease with certain question types and thus process them faster than others, but you don’t want to have entire categories of questions you’re trying to avoid (or at least, not too many of them).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
GMAT Tip of the Week: Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda - How To Analyze Your Practice Test Results

GMAT Tip of the Week: Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda - How To Analyze Your Practice Test Results

So you’ve taken a practice test and want to know how to use it to improve. You’re not alone, but actually you’re a step ahead of much of the competition! Read the various GMAT forums and you’ll see a lot of data dumps:

On my most recent CATs I scored 640, 610, 630, 580, and 620. What must I do to score 750+ for H/S/W???? Please Help!

Connect the Sentence Correction Dots and Succeed on the GMAT

Connect the Sentence Correction Dots and Succeed on the GMAT

Studying for GMAT sentence correction questions can seem like a primer on grammatical rules. This is because any given phrase could have a pronoun issue, or a verb agreement issue, or even a logical meaning issue. Most GMAT preparation involves at least some amount of time on the specific issues that are frequently tested on the GMAT. There is, however, one important rule that must always be adhered to and that cannot be easily pigeonholed. This rule should cross your mind on every single sentence correction problem you may see, and is often overlooked when speeding through practice questions. Quite simply: the underlined portion of the phrase must work seamlessly with the rest of the sentence.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
GMAT Tip of the Week: Free Points On Sentence Correction

GMAT Tip of the Week: Free Points On Sentence Correction

While summer hasn’t officially started with the solstice coming in a few weeks, this post-Memorial-Day short week and a final farewell to winter weather has started the summer season in earnest for most Northern Hemispherians. And thus beginneth the season of sentences like:

It’s not only the heat but also the humidity.

GMAT Tip of the Week: The Most Important Word on the GMAT

GMAT Tip of the Week: The Most Important Word on the GMAT

Over the course of your GMAT exam, you’ll read thousands of words. Each Reading Comp passage, for example, will have ~300 of them; each Sentence Correction prompt will have ~40. And while you won’t spend much time reading the words in the Data Sufficiency answer choices, having long since internalized what each letter means, you’ll spend plenty of time poring over keywords in the question stem. You’ll need to process tons of words as you take the GMAT, but on most questions one word will make all the difference:

Use This Process When Solving Sentence Correction Questions on the GMAT

Use This Process When Solving Sentence Correction Questions on the GMAT

Sentence correction questions are among the least understood questions on the GMAT. Many native English speakers feel they can get by using their ears on sentence correction. However, the questions chosen on the GMAT generally have specific logical elements that must be evaluated in order to get to the right answer. Simply put, the grammar matters, but it’s more about the meaning than about the grammar.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
GMAT Tip of the Week: Mother Knows Best on Sentence Correction

GMAT Tip of the Week: Mother Knows Best on Sentence Correction

So it’s Mother’s Day weekend, and all of us should be thanking our moms this weekend. For all kinds of things, of course, but for one that you may not have realized all these years growing up:

Your mom taught you one of the greatest Sentence Correction lessons you’ll ever learn.

Don't Judge a GMAT Sentence by the Way it Sounds

Don't Judge a GMAT Sentence by the Way it Sounds

When answering sentence correction problems on the GMAT, it’s very common to use your ear as a barometer of how the answer choice sounds. Particularly for native English speakers, this is often the number one way they approach any given sentence. The problem with this strategy is that sentence correction is often much more about the meaning than about the grammar. By extension, the test makers of the GMAT know they can fool many students by simply making the correct answer choice unappealing to the students’ ears (Won’t get fooled again!).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
How to Master Sentence Correction on the GMAT

How to Master Sentence Correction on the GMAT

When preparing for the GMAT, there are many different types of questions that you must master. You know the verbal section will force you to answer questions about tedious passages, strengthen dubious arguments and correct unclear sentences. The ability to juggle these three elements will be paramount to your success as the question types are interspersed throughout the 75 minute verbal section. You cannot break down the exam into 25-minute sections each based on one broad topic and then move on. You don’t know what type of question is coming next, so you have to constantly be ready for any of the three major topics.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips, Gmat Verbal
GMAT Tip of the Week: The Whole Sentence Mathers

GMAT Tip of the Week: The Whole Sentence Mathers

Welcome back to Hip Hop Month in the Tip of the Week space, where today we’ll cover Sentence Correction’s most devious wordplay with the rap god of wordplay himself, Eminem. Fans of Slim Shady and connoisseurs of Sentence Correction alike will note the similarity between the two: sometimes, when you least expect it, a word all the way at the end will tie back so beautifully to one all the way at the beginning that it’s just mindblowing. In Eminem’s case, you have to rewind the track to listen to it again – did he really carry that rhyme all the way back like that?! – but on the GMAT you can’t rewind, so it’s important to heed Marshall’s advice well before you put on those noise-reduction headphones (Beats by Dre?) at the test center and zone into the verbal section:

Filed in: GMAT
How Hard is the Verbal Section of the GMAT?

How Hard is the Verbal Section of the GMAT?

Two weeks ago I wrote an article about whether the GMAT was hard. It is a question I get asked regularly from many different students with many different interpretations of what “hard” actually means. On test day, you may get a question that seems impossible to solve, and yet most other students get it right. This means that the question wouldn’t be considered difficult by the GMAT (say a 500 level question), but for you it seemed exceptionally difficult. The notion of difficulty is thus subjective, and while many would argue that the GMAT is hard, I have a much simpler explanation I have been postulating for the past couple of years:

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
GMAT Tip of the Week: Started From the Bottom, Now We Here

GMAT Tip of the Week: Started From the Bottom, Now We Here

As Hip Hop Month rolls along in the GMAT Tip space, we’ll pass the torch from classic artists to the future, today letting Drake take the mic.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Learning Math from Mathers

GMAT Tip of the Week: Learning Math from Mathers

March has traditionally been “Hip Hop Month” in the GMAT Tip of the Week space, so with March only hours away and winter weather gripping the world, let’s round up to springtime and start Hip Hop March a few hours early, this time borrowing a page from USC-Marshall Mathers. There are plenty of GMAT lessons to learn from Eminem. He’s a master, as are the authors of GMAT Critical Reasoning, of “precision in language“. He flips sentence structures around to create more interesting wordplay, a hallmark of Sentence Correction authors. But what can one of the world’s greatest vocal wordsmiths teach you about quant?

3 Ways to Increase Your GMAT Score to a 760

3 Ways to Increase Your GMAT Score to a 760

Everyone who takes the GMAT wants to get a good score. The exact definition of “good” varies from student to student and from college recruiter to college recruiter. However no one can argue that scoring in the top 1% of all applicants can be considered anything less than a good score. Getting into your local university’s business program may not require a terrific score, but it can’t hurt to have one.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
GMAT Tip of the Week: If You Can't Be With the Sentence You Love, Love the One You're With

GMAT Tip of the Week: If You Can't Be With the Sentence You Love, Love the One You're With

Happy Valentine’s Day, a day when we honor the soulmate, that one special someone, the concept of true love and destiny. Valentine’s Day is about finding “the one” and never letting go, and this day itself is about being with that one you love, your one true destiny.

But if you think your destiny includes Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton, your Sentence Correction strategy should be a lot less “Endless Love” and a lot more “Love the One You’re With”. As Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sing directly about the art of GMAT Sentence Correction:

Filed in: GMAT
How Multitasking Can Hurt Your GMAT Score: Part II

How Multitasking Can Hurt Your GMAT Score: Part II

If you read part 1 of this article you know that multitasking can result in attention difficulties and problems with productivity. You may not think that all of this talk about decreased productivity and being distracted would apply to the GMAT; after all there is no chance to update your Facebook status and “tweet” during the test right?  So this must have no impact. However, when it does come time to concentrate on just one thing – for example, the GMAT – researchers have found that multitaskers have more trouble tuning out distractions than people who focus on one task at a time.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
GMAT Tip of the Week: What Do the Olympics and Sentence Correction Have in Common?

GMAT Tip of the Week: What Do the Olympics and Sentence Correction Have in Common?

The Winter Olympics start tonight in Sochi, and while journalists tweet about the less-than-ideal living conditions in the Russian resort town the athletes themselves have a job to do.  Whether they’re skiing or luging or bobsledding, the vast majority of athletes will share one goal:

Get downhill quickly.

Dangling Modifiers on the GMAT

Dangling Modifiers on the GMAT

Properly identifying incorrect modifier constructions, which are common errors in Sentence Correction, is a key component in achieving a high score on the GMAT. Knowing that modifier errors are among the most common errors seen on the GMAT, the astute student carefully studies the rules of correctly using modifiers. These grammatical constructions, among the most difficult to spot at a glance, confuse students and frustrate test takers who haven’t adequately prepared for the exam.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
How to Spot Subtle Differences in GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

How to Spot Subtle Differences in GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

One of the Critical Reasoning questions that students struggle with the most is the Roles of Boldface questions. This may be because they’re scarce (like diamonds), and therefore you aren’t likely to practice them as much as other question types. Or it may be because they ask you to differentiate among multiple definitions that all start to sound the same after a while. Is the first a position or is it an opinion, and is there any difference between those two? (Hint: there isn’t).

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
GMAT Tip of the Week: Goodbye to “No, But...” and Hello to “Yes, And...”

GMAT Tip of the Week: Goodbye to “No, But...” and Hello to “Yes, And...”

It’s a new year, which is often a good time for a new mindset. And if you’ve already decided that 2014 is the year for you to get serious about graduate school, the “hard work pays off” mindset is one you’ve already adopted. So before the year gets too old and habits get too hard to change, try adding one more new outlook to your study regimen (and your life) this year:

Your 700 GMAT Score is Relative

Your 700 GMAT Score is Relative

It has been said that everything is relative. Without getting too deep into the theory put forth by my friend Al(bert Einstein), your relative position and situation shapes your perception of things. A very common example of this is when students ask me “what difficulty level is this question?” I may find a question difficult and proclaim it’s a 700 level question. Another question seems more straightforward so I deem it a 500 level question. Granted, I have some credibility vis-a-vis GMAT difficulty level, but my opinion will be tainted by my relative strengths. I tend to consider arithmetic problems as simple and geometry problems as difficult primarily because of my personal preferences and abilities.

Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Test Prep and Admissions: The Best of 2013

Test Prep and Admissions: The Best of 2013

There goes another year. Faster than you can say “99th-percentile instructors,” 2013 has come and gone, leaving in its wake a trail of excellent Veritas Prep blog articles. As we start to wrap up the year here at Veritas Prep HQ, wrap our Secret Santa gifts, and prepare to break in the new hires at our annual holiday party, we thought this would be a good time to share some of our biggest news and most popular articles from the past year.

GMAT Tip of the Week: Become a Reading Comprehension Has Been (that's a good thing)

GMAT Tip of the Week: Become a Reading Comprehension Has Been (that's a good thing)

One of the things that makes Reading Comprehension difficult is the inclusion of so many words that you either don’t know or don’t spend much time thinking about. Triglyceride, germination, privatization, immunological.

But by the same token, certain words – those that you should think about regularly if you don’t already – can make your job exponentially easier. Consider, for example, these sentence fragments from the beginnings of official GMAT passages:

GMAT Tip of the Week: Subconsciously Speaking

GMAT Tip of the Week: Subconsciously Speaking

Do some of your best ideas come while you’re driving, running, taking a shower or just about to fall asleep? Have you ever spent what felt like an eternity reading a solution over and over again to no avail, only to revisit that problem a few days later and know how to do it almost so intuitively that just feels easy?