How to Approach Sentence Correction Questions

Numerous students have found the following approach helpful in answering GMAT sentence correction questions. However, we emphasize that the correct approach is the one that works best for you. Practice numerous questions and find a method that fits you well. Ultimately, the most important part of preparing is not mastering tricks and strategies but mastering grammar.

  1. Write down A B C D E in your erasable notebook in vertical order (i.e., after A, drop down a line and write B, drop down another line and write C, etc.). As you go through answer choices, you will cross out the letter associated with the wrong choices. This saves mental energy and prevents careless mistakes (e.g., you store the answer in your mind, only to recall the wrong answer when you input it into the computer). It is important to write down the answer grid before you read the text of the question, otherwise writing down the ABCDE grid in your erasable notebook can weaken your short-term memory recall of the sentence.
  2. Read the sentence, taking a mental note of any errors or ambiguities.
  3. Based upon the sentence, specifically what is underlined and what errors you notice, make a rough guess at the type of question you are being asked (e.g., subject-verb agreement, idioms, parallelism, verb form). This will help you know what you look for in the answer choices.
  4. Read the answer choices and split them accordingly. In other words, notice the differences and similarities in the answer choices.
  5. Let the splits in the answer choices dictate to you what issues are being tested. In other words, if two answer choices have a verb in the present tense while the other three have the verb in the future tense, you know that one issue being tested is verb tense. Consequently, you can hone in on this issue. (Note: This is extremely helpful. Let the GMAT test-writers tell you what issues they are testing. Do not leave it to yourself to find every possible error with the sentence.)
  6. If in doubt, look to the non-underlined portion of the sentence to tell you whether something should be plural, singular, etc. The non-underlined portion is always right, so use it as your infallible guide. Let it help you answer questions about how the sentence should be constructed (e.g., tense, voice, singular/plural).