Yes, our SC guide can be a little overwhelming, especially on the first go-through. I recommend using it the way it is used in our course--focus on one chapter at a time, and follow up with the relevant In-Actions and OG problems. The idea is to train yourself to spot each issue when you see it in a problem, and to do that, you need to have seen each issue in many variations. If you feel like skimming, I'd suggest that you read enough of each chapter to make sure you understand the basic issue before doing the practice problems. Tjhen you can go back after you've had some OG experience, and read the rest more carefully to fine-tune your experience.
Some portions aren't really meant to be read at all. Chapter 9 (Idioms) is just a long list of words that go with other words. The best way to handle this chapter is to look it over a little bit at a time, asking yourself for each idiom "Does this seem natural to me?" The idioms that surprise you can go on flash cards. You can also do some OG practice here and see which idioms catch you. There are certainly some issues ("such as" vs. "like") that come up more often than others, and sometimes you remember these things best when you have been burned on more than one problem.
After you've been through most or all of the topics, you want to be sure to do some practice with "random" problems. After all, on the real test, the problems won't be labeled as "Modifiers" or "Subject-Verb Agreement." However, this will go much better when you have a handle on the individual issues.
Remember that when you are going through problems, you should spend more time reviewing than you spend doing new problems (especially in SC, which goes so fast). One method that my students have had success with is to go through each problem THOROUGHLY, whether you got it right or wrong, and justify why each answer choice is right or wrong. Try to identify all the issues you can. If there are 3 things wrong with answer choice B, write them all down. Do this before you've even checked the answers. Then, when you do check, make sure that the official answer &/or explanation match your reasoning. If not, go back and study some more, or come up with a list of specific questions for your instructor or for the forum.
I hope this helps!
Dmitry Farber | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | New York
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