For anyone working on Sentence Correction, one drill I ask a lot of my students to do is:
-Take a set of 20 SC questions from whatever source (our books, the Official Guide, etc.)
-Write down notes on your thought process for each question to see how you're making decisions
Then I'll respond to demonstrate what the VAMPIRES categories are that are in play. Hopefully students get to a point where our lists almost identically match, as then they know that they're working through the VAMPIRES progression effectively.
Here's a drill that one of my students just completed on the first 20 questions from the ELEVENTH Edition Official Guide so that you can see how the drill works and check your own thought process against mine (and hers):
In the 11th edition book I did numbers 1 - 20
A - have - wrong verb
B - need verb before raised
C - past-tensed
D- answer I chose
E - need verb before raised
Nice job – a couple other quick things…the word “being” used in choice B is almost always wrong (it’s just a long, awkward construction, so it’s Brevity-related), and E is also wrong because of an Accuracy error – it reads that the recovery IS underway…in which case it doesn’t make sense that there’s “hope” being raised for it. You don’t hope for something that already happened.
A - didnt like using maybe
B - sounds funny
C - lengthy
D - don't like using maybe
E - sounds good answer I chose
A great Comparison problem. To have a quality comparison, you either need “More Than” or “As Many As”, and A and B both screw that up. C and D have huge Pronoun errors – what does “it” refer to? Nice job…but on this one I think you can still get away from “lengthy” and “sounds funny” and see those definite VAMPIRES errors
A - like as is answer I chose
B - don't like only surprassed
C - don't like only surprassed
D - Are sound gramatically wrong
E - have been not necessary
An Agreement problem – B, D, and E treat “diabetes” as plural, but it’s singular. Keep in mind, too, that the modifier is set off by commas, so Diabetes is the only subject. C is Accuracy problem, too – Diabetes doesn’t “have the rank”, it ranks…it’s not an entity that can possess something like that, so that sentence is illogical.
4. I GOT WRONG :(
A - don't like much
B - Many - Quanitfies - so I chose this
C - Changes meaning
D - Changes meaning
D - doesn't make sense at all
This is a Comparison problem – we have to compare like things, so we can’t compare “20,736 ministers” to “1977” – we have to compare that figure to the figure for 1977, so that’s why D is right. Whenever you see comparisons, remember how formulaic they are!
5. I GOT WRONG :(
A - didn't think it sounded right
B - sounds better
C - too long
D - what is it (didn't like)
E - what is it (didn't like)
This is a Pronoun problem – “they” can’t modify “the company” (which is singular…should be IT).
QUICK UPDATE AFTER #5 – I’ve seen two Pronoun and three Comparison errors that you didn’t specifically note…go back and review those because I think you can get pretty good at them pretty quickly.
6. Process of Elimination
Basically I narrowed it down to B and E and just randomly picked E, but would not really be able to tell you why E was better
This is a Modifier problem – the lead-in (separated by a comma and there as a description, so you know it’s a modifier) has to describe “Joyce and Woolf” – E is the only one that talks about people and not “idolization”…and we need to describe the people.
7. B - sounds right
Verb Tense – we already have “can endure”, so it’s all in the indicative tense, and A, C, and E are all past-tense so they don’t fit.
A - did not like unaccompanied
B - not when
C - did not like unaccompanied
D - wrong grammar "correspondingly"
E - answer I chose
Nice job! Another note here – “when” can’t modify “inventories” (when is specific to time when it’s a Modifier),so A,B, and C are wrong for that reason, too.
9. I GOT WRONG :(
A - sounds funny
B - didn't like "are visible"
C - leaves details out
E - answer I chose
Use that slash-and-burn here to get rid of the modifier …vortices and it’s a much shorter sentence! This one has a bunch of errors to it…D has a verb tense error (present tense), E has a modifier error (“Which” has to modify the word that comes directly next to it…check out that part of the Sentence Correction 2 lesson and it should be pretty valuable).
10. I chose B "those completes it"
A Modifier question if I’ve ever seen one! That first part of the sentence (description, set off by comma) is a Modifier, so make sure that the description matches the subject (unions-to-unions)
11. I chose E because of sound
This one is a list of verbs (the academy has urged the nation to revamp, institute, and create…) so it’s an Equivalent Elements question..make sure the items in the list are in the same form.
A - continuous
B - following - to go after something so got rid of it
then went with D
Nice job – to put an official category on this one, I’d say “Brevity”. Anything that says “declining” already implies “down”, so the answers with “down” in them are redundant.
13. Chose C
Perfect – this one is an Equivalent Elements, too…we’re saying that this hurricane was “the tenth most intense since X and the most intense since Y”. Leaving out the “the” would be wrong since it’s a two-part clause and both need to be in equivalent form.
14. I GOT WRONG :(
I think it was because I didn't know so I chose E because it sounded the best
This one is a connector issue, so Rudimentary Sentence. Once you note the connector, you can break off the actual subject matter just to see if the connector works:
Do not contain X, Y, and Z?
Do not contain X, Y, or Z?
Because it’s “do not”, you’d use “or”, and that’s why D is correct. When you have lists like that, it’s really helpful to just check the connectors (like and, or, but, etc.)
A - did not like because sentence needed a transition word
B - not and
C - not and
D - the answer I chose because it had a transition word
This is a Verb Tense question primarily – we have “Iroquois were” in the past-tense, so we need the past tense again so we have to have “supplemented” (eliminating A, B, and E). You’re right on C with that connector!
16. C sounded best I GOT WRONG :(
Another Modifier question (make sure you look back at these!) – you could also consider it a Comparison question if you want, which shows the similarity on the errors that the GMAT tests. You need the things being described/compared to be in the same form. We’re stuck with “the yellow jacket” (an animal) as the subject, so we need to describe an animal – E does that (unlike the honeybee, the yellow jacket…). The only two that do that are A and E…and A is significantly longer so you can eliminate based on that.
17. I chose A because I thought it was PLURAL
You’re right – it is Plural (the subject of the verb is “those”, referring to “people”. But this is a Verb Tense (not agreement) error –we already have the verb “why do many do not commit crimes”, so we need to keep that same tense for the other set (and others “do”).
18. I GOT WRONG :(
A - I just knew was out
B - "so too" bad grammar
C - I didn't like
D- need semi colon
E chose it
This is a Rudimentary Sentence question – we have “Computers are becoming faster AND…”. That AND sets up a second subject which needs another verb, so we have to say “AND so too are modems”. Then the difference between A and C is that C uses a modifier (…modems, the devices) properly, whereas A tries to start again with a new subject (…modems, they are). We would need to set up “They” as a subject (with a semicolon or other connector) to give it a verb.
A & B - wrong verb form
C & D - atttempt and try - same thing so "repetitive"
E - chose this answer
20. I GOT WRONG
I elimited C, D, E because they all sounded funny and went with the original
Ooh…this one is tricky, but another Modifier error – we’re modifying “Scholars”, and the scholars aren’t “based on accounts…”. They are “using accounts” to make their paintings, so E is correct.