Useful GMAT Tips And Tricks

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As our eyes move across the page they make a series of jerky movements. Whenever they come to rest on a word that is called a fixation. Most people fixate once on each word across a line of print.
In order to make our speed increase we must take in more words with each fixation, rather than make our eyes move faster.
1. Try to avoid focusing on every word, but rather look at groups of 2 to 3 words. For instance, this sentence could be grouped in this manner:
for instance / this sentence / could be grouped / in this manner
2. Work on vocabulary improvement. Familiarize yourself with new words so you don't get stuck on them when you read them again.
3. If you find yourself moving your lips when reading, force yourself to read faster by following (1.) above so that you can no longer move your lips.
4. Read more! 15 minutes a day of reading an average size novel equals 18 books a year at an average reading speed!
5. Determine your purpose before reading. If you only need main ideas, then allow yourself to skim the material. Don't feel you must read very word.
6. Spend a few minutes a day reading at a faster than comfortable rate (about 2 to 3 times faster than your normal speed). Use your hand or an index card to guide your eyes down the page. Then time yourself reading a few pages at your normal speed. You'll find that often your normal reading speed will increase after your skimming practice.
7. If you have poor concentration when reading, practice reading for only 5 - 10 minutes at a time and gradually increase this time.
8. There are several books on increasing reading speed available in most bookstores. If you are serious about increasing your rate you may want to work systematically through one of these books.

1. The key strategy: Ch-ch-changes

Yes, as David Bowie used to sing, changes. Look for the changes between the five answer choices.

This will help you identify what the problem is, which is half the battle.

For example if the changes in the answer choices are:

A) ........is..........
B) ........is..........
C) ........was..........
D) ........was..........
E) ........was.........

Then I know that part of the problem has to be "is" or "was", i.e. the tense of the verb.

If I determine that the tense of the verb should remain in the present, then I can eliminate C, D, and E automatically. That has made my job much easier.

By determining how the sentence changes, we can quickly identify the type of problem and then correct the grammar.

Remember, and we cannot stress this enough, look to see how the sentence changes between A, B, C, D, and E. Those differences are not there by accident. In fact, they will lead you to the right answer.

2. Find all the grammatical problems

Usually a sentence suffers from at least 2 grammatical problems.

If you determine the nature one of these problems, then eliminate the obvious wrong answer choices, and are still left with 2 or 3 possibilities, look for another change or difference among the answer choices.

Invariably, there will be something else that is wrong with 1 or 2 of them that you can eventually identify. Eliminate down to the right answer.

3. Do not eliminate answer choice A immediately

Many people do this, because they believe they must correct every sentence. That is not true. Consider A as a possible right answer.

4. Short sentences are good

When in doubt, choose the sentence that is shortest and most concise.

Good English is brief and to the point. You might be surprised how often the most concise sentence is also the correct one.

Rule

Only equivalent things or individuals can be compared.

Hint

1. Be wary of these words : like, unlike, not unlike, as, such as, as....as, similar to, different from, and of course, than. They imply a comparison is to be made.

2. If there are more than two things being compared, then you need to use superlatives (-est adjectives).

 Comparison(2 things) Superlative(3 or more things) bigger than taller than more intelligent than more ambitious than the biggest the tallest the most intelligent the most ambitious between among/amongst

3. When you are comparing people or things, it is in general better to use like, unlike, or not unlike. For example

Like you, I enjoy ice cream (like because we are comparing the two of us).

When comparing actions, as or just as are more appropriate. For example

As you do, I enjoy ice cream (as because here we are comparing our enjoying ice cream).
A modifier, or modifying phrase, is a word or phrase that explains or describes a word. Misplaced modifiers are words, phrases, or clauses that do not point clearly to the word or words they modify.
Incorrect:
Like so many German men, the day came when Juergen wanted to be an automobile engineer.
Since the day is the subject, the sentence implies that the day is like German men. This doesn't convey the intended meaning.
Correct
Like so many German men, Juergen eventually wanted to be an automobile engineer. .
• The day came when Juergen , like so many German men, wanted to be an automobile engineer. .

Incorrect:
Green is a morose man with a bald head weighing 200 pounds.
This sentence suggests that the man’s moustache weighs 200 pounds.
Correct
• Green is a morose man weighing 200 pounds and sporting a bald head.
• Green is a morose man with a bald head , and he weighs 200 pounds.
To avoid misplacing your modifiers, make sure they’re as close as possible to the word they are explaining or describing.

Incorrect:
I was told that Elsa became pregnant by my uncle.
Correct:
My uncle told me that Elsa became pregnant.
• I was told by my uncle that Elsa became pregnant .

Parallel construction or parallel structure problems are among the most common problems in sentence correction sentences. The problem occurs when you mix verbs with adjectives, nouns with verbs, etc, when the situation calls for keeping everything the same, in order to maintain clarity and the flow of the sentence.
Rule

In a series of equivalent items, verbs must follow verbs, nouns follow nouns, etc.
Hint

If you notice a series or list of things or verbs, usually punctuated by several commas, make sure there is parallel construction.
Example 1

Jim was tidy, marked by politeness and good manners.

Is this parallel?

No. The sentence says "Jim was tidy (adjective) and then marked by politeness (noun) and good manners (noun)". This is not parallel.

We could fix it by writing:

Jim was tidy, polite, and well-mannered. (3 adjectives)

Or

Jim was marked by tidiness, politeness, and good manners. (3 nouns).

Example 2

Maria chose to play tennis in the morning and shopping in the afternoon.

This is not parallel.

The sentence says "Maria chose to play (verb, infinitive form) tennis in the morning and shopping (verb, present participle or 'ing' form) in the afternoon.

We could fix it by writing:

Maria chose to play tennis in the morning and to shop in the afternoon (2 infinitive form verbs)
Pronouns with Than or As

When you use a pronoun in a comparison using the words than or as, use the proper pronouns as if all the words were being said.

Most of the time when we use a comparison using than or as, we leave words out. This is technically called an elliptical clause--a clause with an ellipsis. An ellipsis is words left out.

Look at it this way. There is a difference between the two following sentences. Both are grammatically correct; they just mean two different things.

He likes you more than me.

He likes you more than I.

Think of what words are left out:

He likes you more than I do.
(I is the subject)

He likes you more than he likes me.
(Me is the direct object)

When a pronoun follows than or as in a comparison, make sure you understand what words are missing and then use the correct pronoun.

Incorrect: He is taller than her.
(i.e., than her is?)

Correct: He is taller than she.
(i.e., than she is. Much better!)

Incorrect: He is as happy as them.
(i.e., as happy as them are?)

Correct: He is as happy as they.
(i.e., as happy as they are.)

Correct with one meaning:

He sees you more often than I. (i.e., than I see you.)

Correct with another meaning:

He sees you more often than me. (i.e., than he sees me.)

The case of the pronoun makes the difference!

Pronouns are the names we give things and people to avoid repeating the proper name incessantly.

• Subject Pronouns are active - the person or thing is doing the action.
• Object Pronouns are passive, and the person or thing is receiving the action or having it done to him or it.
• Possessive Adjectives, while not pronouns, are important to learn for the GMAT.
I
you
he
she
we
they
it
me
you
him
her
us
them
it
my
your
his
her
our
their
its (NOT it's)

Singular or plural?

The real problem, if you have not already guessed it, is the it/them problem.

For example, the word Congress: is it an it or a they? Usually Congress is considered an it, because it is one political organization, even though it has several hundred members.

Here are some lists of words to help you keep this idea straight:

 Words That Always Take Singular Verbs And Pronouns (For example has, not have) any + singular noun anybody anyone anything no + singular noun nobody no one nothing some + singular noun somebody someone something every + singular noun everybody everyone everything each + singular noun

For example

Everyone is here.

Rule

Pronouns should correspond correctly to the person or thing described either earlier or later in the sentence.

Hint

Anytime you see a pronoun, make sure it corresponds exactly!

Subject/verb agreement problems sound easy, all you need to do is make sure that the verb form agrees with the subject of the sentence.

However it is worth being aware of several tactics used in these questions to make them more difficult.

All focus on making to it harder for you to correctly identify whether the subject of the sentence is singular or plural.

Singular subjects which sound plural

You will often find singular subjects which sound plural in the GMAT.

Nouns which end in 's'

The following are all singular even though they end in 's'.

Statistics is a hard subject for many students

The news is good from home.

Gymnastics is an Olympic sport.

Names

The names of places and of companies and other organizations are usually regarded as singular, regardless of their ending.

The United States is a large country.

Goldman Sachs is in the Forbes 500 for 2003

The United Nations is based in New York City

Collective nouns

Collective nouns are also treated as singular subjects.

For example

The jury needs more time.

List of collective nouns

army

audience

band

class

committee

Congress

crowd

dozen

family

group

government

herd

jury

lot

majority

minority

mob

organization

public

staff

team

Plural nouns

Some nouns are always treated as plurals even if there is only one of them

The scissors are new

List of plural nouns

clippers

glasses

jeans

pliers

pants

scissors

shorts

tongs

trousers

tweezers

Separated subjects and verbs

In the GMAT you will often find that a phrase or clause often separates the subject and the verb. The verb must still agree with the subject.

For example

Incorrect: The rate of MBA applications are increasing.

Correct: The rate of MBA applications is increasing

This is because 'rate' is the subject of this sentence and is singular.

In an attempt to confuse you in the GMAT, the phrase or clause separating subject from verb will hint at a plural answer when the subject is singular.

For example

One of the chickens is going to cross the road.

A group of defense contractors is lobbying for a change in the law.

Compound subjects

Compound subjects are also used to make subject/verb agreement questions more challenging.

Most compound subjects take a plural verb

Sally and Tom are going to the cinema.

Sally and her nephews are going to the cinema

However there are some exceptions.

Two or more singular subjects joined by or or nor take a singular verb.

Sally or Tom is going win the race.

Neither Sally nor Tom nor Victor is an MBA student.

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