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SC - How to overcome the 2-3 split dilemma

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SC - How to overcome the 2-3 split dilemma [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2011, 14:57
Hi GMAT Experts,

I've been studying SC using Manhattan GMAT. I found the materials are very helpful in terms of understanding the fundamental concepts. As I progress through the Manhattan GMAT SC book, I've been doing problem sets referenced in OG and OG verbal at the end of each chapter. I realize for the questions that I do not get right. I always arrive at 2-3 split dilemma and choose the other incorrect answer between the only 2 answers that I deem could be correct. I wonder if this is common to most of the GMAT takers. How would you maximize your chance of getting the correct answer and overcome such recurring situations? Thanks for your inputs in advance.
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Re: SC - How to overcome the 2-3 split dilemma [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2011, 08:49
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Indeed this is quite common. You think you're more than half way there because you were able to eliminate 3 answer choices - but then you get down to 2 and pick the wrong one. All that time you spent eliminating the first few didn't make any impact to the end result.

How do you address a problem like this?

Put together a collection of these kinds of questions. If you're using a book, circle the question # so you can refer to it again later. If you're doing something online, write down the question #.

Then examine them one by one and ask yourself why you didn't end up picking the OTHER answer. Was there a thought process you could have done that could have led you to the other direction? With a larger sample of question examples, you'll be able to spot patterns into what pitfalls you're falling into. Maybe they tend to be [Description, Main Sentence] kinds of questions involving -ING verbs. Or maybe they're X&Y consistency questions that involve spotting an important comma that you missed paying attention to.

Whatever the case may be, make a record of these kinds of questions and revisit them to spot patterns so you avoid them in the future.

Hope that helps.
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Re: SC - How to overcome the 2-3 split dilemma [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2011, 11:03
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Sometimes this is a meaning issue. Are you making sure that the choice you have selected makes sense in the context of the sentence? Does it distort the intended meaning?

Other times, it is simply a matter of spotting additional splits and choosing the issue you feel best qualified to address. If an option just "doesn't sound right," delay that decision and try to find an issue you feel more sure about. After your time is up, spend additional time reviewing each question BEFORE checking the answer. Try to identify for yourself why each choice is right or wrong, and try to make decisions on any issues you didn't use in selecting an answer. (E.g. if you crossed off B due to parallelism, look at the rest of it and see what you think about the other issues it raises).

Then, once you feel as solid as possible about why each choice is right or wrong, check the answer and explanation and see how well it matches with your reasoning. If you missed the problem, spend some serious time identifying which issues you failed to identify, or chose the wrong side on. Take that tempting wrong answer and do your best to smash it. You don't just want to say "Oh, C is a better choice." You want to be able to say "E is incorrect and here are the reasons." If the explanation in the Official Guide is inadequate (this is not unlikely), look the problem up in the forums.

If you get really good at this work, starting with timed problems and following through with very thorough untimed review, you should become a faster and more attentive test-taker, and you will have more time and attention to focus on distinguishing the fine shades of meaning that this test sometimes requires. Good luck!
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Re: SC - How to overcome the 2-3 split dilemma   [#permalink] 13 Oct 2011, 11:03
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