Simplifying Sentence Correction on the GMAT


Sentence correction on the GMAT can be challenging. One reason is that many people are not skilled at writing in a grammatically sound way. Additionally, very few people talk in a grammatically sound way. Body language, colloquialism, and a dozen other factors help us to communicate clearly, if not grammatically. This leads many GMAT test takers to rely on what "sounds right" to solve the questions in the sentence correction portion of the GMAT. While this may work sometimes, it is not a sound strategy for those hoping to score well. Instead, to simplify sentence correction on the GMAT, you can focus on preparing in three major areas.

Technical Areas

Good news first: You don't have to be a doctoral candidate in 21st century American grammar to succeed at sentence correction on the GMAT. You do not need depth of knowledge in spelling, vocabulary, or even the names of hyper-technical grammatical rules. What you do need to focus on is knowing the basics of grammar: verb tense, subject/verb agreement, modifiers, comparisons, pronouns, and idioms are a good place to start. Empower GMAT’s optimized study plans with real practice tests can help you learn these areas of grammar and feel comfortable identifying them in a test scenario.


The number one thing we could say here is to slow down and be detailed. Many mistakes are made by moving too fast and relying on what "sounds" correct as opposed to what is correct. Work methodically through the section, and give great attention to detail and meaning. Focus on how the sentences should technically work and how they might sound if you were speaking them to a friend. The more calm, patient, and attentive you can be, the more likely you are to succeed in this section of the test.


One of the best ways to empower yourself to do well in this area of the exam is to develop a process that works for you and is simple. Once you've identified the basic checklist of your process, work through it methodically on each question to expose the errors and choose the best option. For example, you might start by checking for simple grammatical errors, then move to stylistic inconsistencies, and finish up by seeing which answer options are left and checking for meaning changes. Having a planned approach helps when the stress is on during the test.

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