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Severe knowledge gap in Sentence Correction section

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New post 04 Dec 2019, 04:23
Dear all,

My preparation for the GMAT is about to commence. I intend to sit the exam in 2-4 months time depending on how my studies progress. I previously did some light preparation for GMAT but did not end up taking the test (over 2 years ago).

To summarise my background, I am currently at MBB and will apply for an MBA next year. My objective score for the GMAT is 740+.

I took the first official GMAT test yesterday and scored 670 - I was happy with the score but there is a clear gap in my knowledge of sentence correction.

The breakdown of my score was the following:
Quant: 44 (most of the mistakes were rules I had forgotten)
Verbal: 38
- Sentence correction 5/14 correct (36%)
- Critical reasoning 8/9 correct (89%)
- Reading comprehension (85%)

What is the best solution for closing the huge gap in my sentence correction knowledge?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Kind regards,
Steve
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New post 04 Dec 2019, 05:46
Hi Steve,
Welcome to Gmatclub. 670 is a fabulous score to start your preparation. You can look at the following link which be useful to you : https://gmatclub.com/forum/sentence-cor ... l#p1569197 . Also, I believe that you can improve your score in Quant as well to get a score above 760. All the best for your prep.

SteveGmat1234 wrote:
Dear all,

My preparation for the GMAT is about to commence. I intend to sit the exam in 2-4 months time depending on how my studies progress. I previously did some light preparation for GMAT but did not end up taking the test (over 2 years ago).

To summarise my background, I am currently at MBB and will apply for an MBA next year. My objective score for the GMAT is 740+.

I took the first official GMAT test yesterday and scored 670 - I was happy with the score but there is a clear gap in my knowledge of sentence correction.

The breakdown of my score was the following:
Quant: 44 (most of the mistakes were rules I had forgotten)
Verbal: 38
- Sentence correction 5/14 correct (36%)
- Critical reasoning 8/9 correct (89%)
- Reading comprehension (85%)

What is the best solution for closing the huge gap in my sentence correction knowledge?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Kind regards,
Steve

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New post 04 Dec 2019, 06:58
Thank you for your response!

Although the advice is a useful starting point. I do not believe that simply going through these books will solve the fundamental gap - I was hoping for advice that would be very targeted and tailored to me based on examples of other students.

My knowledge is fundamentally not good enough - SC remains the stand out area for improvement both now and 2 years ago when I initially looked at the GMAT.
Are there specific tutors / programs that are particularly rigorous in SC?

Thank you in advance,
Steve
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New post 04 Dec 2019, 07:17
SteveGmat1234 670 is a great starting point. E-gmat is very good for SC, but as a native speaker (right?), you might be uncomfortable with the style/feel of the course. Magoosh is also a good one for SC. You can use the free trials offered by both courses to decide which one to go with. If you prefer to read a book, then the Manhattan SC book will be a great choice.


Best wishes!
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New post 04 Dec 2019, 08:22
Hi Steve,
There are various ways in which you can bridge the Fundamental gaps:
1. By Books: Already suggested
2. By Prep courses: You can check Manhattan, Kaplan, Magoosh courses. They come with a trial and choose whichever you like
3. By personal tutor: I will strongly recommend to contact GMATNinja for this. He is the best. You can also search him on google

SteveGmat1234 wrote:
Thank you for your response!

Although the advice is a useful starting point. I do not believe that simply going through these books will solve the fundamental gap - I was hoping for advice that would be very targeted and tailored to me based on examples of other students.

My knowledge is fundamentally not good enough - SC remains the stand out area for improvement both now and 2 years ago when I initially looked at the GMAT.
Are there specific tutors / programs that are particularly rigorous in SC?

Thank you in advance,
Steve

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New post 04 Dec 2019, 08:32
Since you have sufficient time and can use that time to focus on SC, you could consider taking a more intensive approach.

Pick up some good advanced-level grammar books. There are plenty in the market.

Go through the official guide to learn about the various types of SC grammar rules that are tested. The list is not exhaustive but is quite good and will give you a good start.

Practice, review, practice.

Spending a lot of money on highly advertised resources is not necessary. SC, like the other subtopics, is a subject where you should put in significant work by yourself. Only after that, consider other sources, but the latter is not necessary.

Finally, develop a plan that suits you. Copying from others may lead you in wasteful directions. GL!
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Re: Severe knowledge gap in Sentence Correction section  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Dec 2019, 20:19
Hi Steve,

To start, a 670 is a fantastic initial practice CAT Score (the Average Score on the Official GMAT hovers around 550 most years). In addition, with 2-4 months of study time, you could potentially improve a great deal (that having been said, you'll have to work on far more than just your SC skills to get to the point that you can consistently score 740+).

SCs are 'technical' in nature (similar to how Geometry questions require knowledge of formulas), so you need to know the major grammar/idiom rules really well to score higher in this category (along with some of the more subtle issues - such as the common patterns that appear in SC wrong answers and how "meaning" can impact how you work through individual questions). To that end, you could learn those rules from a variety of different sources, so you have to consider how 'efficient' you want to be with your studies and how YOU learn best.

Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and your plans:

1) What study materials do you currently have access to?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 05 Dec 2019, 09:53
Wow, Steve, 670 is a great start! Here is some advice you can follow to improve your Sentence Correction skills.

There are three aspects to getting correct answers to GMAT Sentence Correction questions: what you know, such as grammar rules, what you see, such as violations of grammar rules and the logic of sentence structure, and what you do, such as carefully considering each answer choice in the context of the non-underlined portion of the sentence. To drive up your Sentence Correction score, you likely will have to work on all three of those aspects. Furthermore, the likely reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is that you have not been working on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, to be successful in Sentence Correction, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not just a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning grammar rules is so that you can determine what sentences convey and whether sentences are well-constructed. In fact, in many cases, incorrect answers to Sentence Correction questions are grammatically flawless. Thus, often your task is to use your knowledge of grammar rules to determine which answer choice creates the most logical sentence meaning and structure.

This determination of whether sentences are well-constructed and logical is the second aspect of finding correct answers to Sentence Correction questions, what you see. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending less than two minutes per question. For a while, anyway, you have to spend time with each question, maybe even ten or fifteen minutes on one question sometimes, analyzing every answer choice until you see the details that you have to see in order to choose the correct answer. As you go through the answer choices, consider the meaning conveyed by each version of the sentence. Does the meaning make sense? Even if you can tell what the version is SUPPOSED to convey, does the version really convey that meaning? Is there a verb to go with the subject? Do all pronouns clearly refer to nouns? By slowing way down and looking for these details, you learn to see what you have to see in order to clearly understand which answer to a Sentence Correction question is correct.

There is only one correct answer to any Sentence Correction question, there are clear reasons why that choice is correct and the others are not, and none of those reasons are that the correct version simply "sounds right." In fact, the correct version often sounds a little off at first. That correct answers may sound a little off is not surprising. If the correct answers were always the ones that sounded right, then most people most of the time would get Sentence Correction questions correct, without really knowing why the wrong answers were wrong and the correct answers were correct. So, you have to go beyond choosing what "sounds right" and learn to clearly see the logical reasons why one choice is better than all of the others.

As for the third aspect of getting Sentence Correction questions correct, what you do, the main thing you have to do is be very careful. You have to make sure that you are truly considering the structures of sentences and the meanings conveyed rather than allowing yourself to be tricked into choosing trap answers that sound right but don't convey meanings that make sense. You also have to make sure that you put some real energy into finding the correct answers. Finding the correct answer to a Sentence Correction question may take bouncing from choice to choice repeatedly until you start to see the differences between the choices that make all choices wrong except for one. Often, when you first look at the choices, only one or two seems obviously incorrect. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to put in the necessary time to see the differences between answers and to figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you answer Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. Are you being careful and looking for logic and details, or are you quickly eliminating choices that sound a little off and then choosing the best of the rest? If you choose an incorrect answer, consider what you did to arrive at that answer and what you could do differently to arrive at correct answers more consistently. Furthermore, see how many questions you can get correct in a row as you practice. If you break your streak by missing one, consider what you could do differently to extend your streak.

As with your Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension regimens, after learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your skills improve, you’ll then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple SC topics.

Ultimately, if you are unable to learn and practice in the manner described above, you may consider looking for additional verbal prep resources. If you are unsure of which resources to choose, check out some reviews here on GMAT Club.

You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Good luck!
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New post 24 Jan 2020, 03:36
bebs wrote:
670 is a great starting point. E-gmat is very good for SC, but as a native speaker (right?), you might be uncomfortable with the style/feel of the course. Magoosh is also a good one for SC. You can use the free trials offered by both courses to decide which one to go with. If you prefer to read a book, then the Manhattan SC book will be a great choice.


Best wishes!


Yes, I am a native speaker. Today I am restarting my GMAT prep with the Manhattan Sentence Correction book. At the moment, I am not going to sign up to any specific courses (video tutorials) but I have access to the complete Manhattan set.

Thank you for your response.
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New post 24 Jan 2020, 03:41
Leadership wrote:
Hi Steve,
There are various ways in which you can bridge the Fundamental gaps:
1. By Books: Already suggested
2. By Prep courses: You can check Manhattan, Kaplan, Magoosh courses. They come with a trial and choose whichever you like
3. By personal tutor: I will strongly recommend to contact GMATNinja for this. He is the best. You can also search him on google



Great, thank you so much. I will reach out to GMATNinja to see how it might help.
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New post 24 Jan 2020, 03:50
Hovkial wrote:
Since you have sufficient time and can use that time to focus on SC, you could consider taking a more intensive approach.

Pick up some good advanced-level grammar books. There are plenty in the market.

Go through the official guide to learn about the various types of SC grammar rules that are tested. The list is not exhaustive but is quite good and will give you a good start.

Practice, review, practice.

Spending a lot of money on highly advertised resources is not necessary. SC, like the other subtopics, is a subject where you should put in significant work by yourself. Only after that, consider other sources, but the latter is not necessary.

Finally, develop a plan that suits you. Copying from others may lead you in wasteful directions. GL!


First of all, I would like to thank you for the response. My GMAT prep has not moved forward since my last post due to work commitments.

My focus will primarily be on Sentence Correction for the first weeks. I will start with the Manhattan Sentence Correction book, but I've also taken your advice and purchased Collins 'Improve Your Grammar', so it will good to see if this has a positive impact alongside conventional studying.

To start with, I'm aiming to study for 1 hour each morning (4 days per week), approximately 8 hours over the weekend and 2-4 hours each week while travelling. I'm hoping to take my test in late April or May and I will take 2-4 weeks of vacation prior to sitting the test to ensure I close the topic.

Thank you for reply and apologies for the delayed response - I will keep you updated on how I progress with the prep.
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New post Updated on: 26 Jan 2020, 01:32
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Steve,

To start, a 670 is a fantastic initial practice CAT Score (the Average Score on the Official GMAT hovers around 550 most years). In addition, with 2-4 months of study time, you could potentially improve a great deal (that having been said, you'll have to work on far more than just your SC skills to get to the point that you can consistently score 740+).

SCs are 'technical' in nature (similar to how Geometry questions require knowledge of formulas), so you need to know the major grammar/idiom rules really well to score higher in this category (along with some of the more subtle issues - such as the common patterns that appear in SC wrong answers and how "meaning" can impact how you work through individual questions). To that end, you could learn those rules from a variety of different sources, so you have to consider how 'efficient' you want to be with your studies and how YOU learn best.

Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and your plans:

1) What study materials do you currently have access to?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich


Hi Rich,

Thank you for your reply. To answer your questions:

1) What study materials do you currently have access to?

In terms of the conventional resources, I've purchased the Official GMAT books and have access to the complete Manhattan collection too. A friend of mine also shared a very comprehensive questions bank of problems. If required, I am happy to make additional purchases

2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

The time I can set aside each week is largely determined by the intensity of the project I am working on, but my manager and I have agreed to 'protect' a one hour slot each morning for me to focus on GMAT. Additionally, I should be able to dedicate at least 8 hours per weekend to GMAT and possibly longer closer to the time. Prior to my first test date, I will take 2-4 weeks of vacation to focus completely on the test.

3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

For round 1, LBS and Harvard - LBS is my first choice school for personal reasons. If I am unsuccessful with these applications, I will apply to 2/3 other schools in round 2 but I am not sure which ones yet (M7 / INSEAD).

Apologies for the delayed response, but I will be very active on the site moving forward. Please let me know if you need any additional details.

Thank you for your help,
Steve

Originally posted by SteveGmat1234 on 24 Jan 2020, 04:07.
Last edited by SteveGmat1234 on 26 Jan 2020, 01:32, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 24 Jan 2020, 13:15
Hi Steve,

From your last post, I'm not sure if your name is actually Steve or Josh, so if you'd like to be referred to by a particular name, then please let me know. Beyond that, preparing for the GMAT now - far in advance of when you'll actually "need" your Score - is a smart choice.

Since it's been about 1.5 month since you took your 1st practice CAT/mock - and you have not studied much since then - it would be interesting to see how you scored on another Test right now. This would give us a sense of how accurate that initial Score was in defining your natural ability and current skills (and might point out areas in which you got a bit 'lucky' on your first practice test). While it wouldn't be absolutely necessary at this point, if you have the free time, then I suggest that you take a NEW practice CAT sometime soon (perhaps this weekend). Make sure to take it in a realistic fashion (take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.). Once you have that score, you should report back and we can discuss the results and how best to proceed.

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New post 05 Apr 2020, 23:38
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Steve,

From your last post, I'm not sure if your name is actually Steve or Josh, so if you'd like to be referred to by a particular name, then please let me know. Beyond that, preparing for the GMAT now - far in advance of when you'll actually "need" your Score - is a smart choice.

Since it's been about 1.5 month since you took your 1st practice CAT/mock - and you have not studied much since then - it would be interesting to see how you scored on another Test right now. This would give us a sense of how accurate that initial Score was in defining your natural ability and current skills (and might point out areas in which you got a bit 'lucky' on your first practice test). While it wouldn't be absolutely necessary at this point, if you have the free time, then I suggest that you take a NEW practice CAT sometime soon (perhaps this weekend). Make sure to take it in a realistic fashion (take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.). Once you have that score, you should report back and we can discuss the results and how best to proceed.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich



Hi Rich,

Thanks for your message.

As you can see, my GMAT prep has been somewhat derailed, but I have now taken a leave from work and will be focusing on it fully for the next 4 weeks.

I took the second official GMAT practice test without any prep and scored 660 - 46 quant, 35 verbal (got 8 of the final 10 questions wrong with the sentence correction section once again proving to be a weak spot). Overall, I am a little bit disappointed with this score but am hopefully that I can drive significant gains in the coming weeks.

My preference is Steve :).

Kind regards,
Steve
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New post 06 Apr 2020, 13:45
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Hi Steve,

How long ago did you take your most recent CAT - was it back in January or more recently (re: March/April)?

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your 2 CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 660 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also leave yourself open to making certain types of mistakes.

While you could potentially improve a great deal with 4 weeks of consistent, guided study, you might end up needing more time than that before you get to the point that you can consistently score 740+.

1) How many hours are you planning to study each week going forward?
2) Have you purchased any additional study materials besides the books that you mentioned?

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New post 06 Apr 2020, 15:18
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Steve,

How long ago did you take your most recent CAT - was it back in January or more recently (re: March/April)?

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your 2 CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 660 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also leave yourself open to making certain types of mistakes.

While you could potentially improve a great deal with 4 weeks of consistent, guided study, you might end up needing more time than that before you get to the point that you can consistently score 740+.

1) How many hours are you planning to study each week going forward?
2) Have you purchased any additional study materials besides the books that you mentioned?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich


Hi Rich,

I took the test on the 4th of April and had been unable to study since the last test due to work commitments. I've now scheduled a leave from work, so I am now able to focus full-time on the GMAT until 3rd May.

While you could potentially improve a great deal with 4 weeks of consistent, guided study, you might end up needing more time than that before you get to the point that you can consistently score 740+.

I'm hoping several topics will be quick wins for me to boost my score - this is especially true for the quant section. Once again, sentence correction proved to be the weakest area during my test. Of the 12 questions I answered incorrectly in verbal, seven were in sentence correction, two were in critical reasoning and three were in reading comprehension.

1) How many hours are you planning to study each week going forward?
Given the current situation, I am aiming to study for 6-8 effective hours per day (excluding breaks and void time)

2) Have you purchased any additional study materials besides the books that you mentioned?
For now, I have the Official Guide, Manhattan books and the Kaplan 800 book.

In terms of next steps, I am aiming to ramp up as much as possible on content over the coming days and sit a follow-up test (3rd official GMAT test) on the 18th April to track my progress. I will spend 3-4 hours in the mornings focusing on content from the Manhattan textbooks and will do 2 x 1 hour sessions answers questions (15Q, 15V questions) with thorough reviews afterwards.

Let me know your thoughts and if you have any advice.

Best,
Steve
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New post 07 Apr 2020, 14:29
Hi Steve,

I've sent you a PM with some notes/suggestions.

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New post 19 Apr 2020, 02:22
Hi all,

Hope everyone is doing well during these turbulent times. I thought I would share an update on where I currently stand to see if anyone has any guidance or tips for me.

I completed the Manhattan GMAT CAT 1 yesterday and scored 680 (48Q, 35V). Overall, I am somewhat disappointed with the score, it does show improvement on the quant side. I also felt this test was far more difficult than the Official GMAT ones I had previously sat. In terms of timing, the quant was tough to complete but I felt quite comfortable on the verbal. The verbal breakdown remains somewhat consistent with other tests - SC (5/14 correct), RC (7/12 correct), CR (9/10 correct)

In terms of progress since my last post, I have covered all of the problem sets from the Manhattan quant books and reviewed the Sentence Correction book thoroughly. I've been studying for approx. 5-6 hours per day (2-3 sentence correction and 2-3 quant). In terms of next steps, I plan to review all three tests that I have completed and review any questions that I answered incorrectly or was not confident in my approach. Once I've finished this, I will move onto the Manhattan Advanced Quant, Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension textbooks. I imagine this will text me approx 6-7 days to complete (excl. Quant) before moving onto the official guide content, which I haven't started studying yet. I aim to re-calibrate my score with an official test aduring the last week of April.

I've booked my first official test at the end of May and I will book the week leading up to as vacation. Unfortunately, I will not be able to study as much on weekdays during May, but will do my best to complete 1 hour per day and 6-8 on the weekends.

Let me know your thoughts. I am very open minded and flexible on my approach.

Kind regards,
Steve
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New post 19 Apr 2020, 12:48
Hi Steve,

The MGMAT CATs are generally regarded as begin a little tougher than the Official GMAT, so you could very well have the capacity to score higher than this 680. That having been said, this recent CAT Score is remarkably similar to the other Scores that we've discussed, meaning that may have gotten "stuck" at this particular score level. If that's the case, then continuing to study in the same ways won't necessarily lead to your 740+ Score Goal.

The immediate issue for you continues to be SC, so a bit more analysis on how you've been studying for SC (and the "steps" that you go through when dealing with SC questions) is warranted. For example, how often are you "narrowing the answers down to 2 choices" and how often do you ultimately choose an answer based on how it "sounds?"

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com
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Re: Severe knowledge gap in Sentence Correction section  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2020, 01:25
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Steve,

The MGMAT CATs are generally regarded as begin a little tougher than the Official GMAT, so you could very well have the capacity to score higher than this 680. That having been said, this recent CAT Score is remarkably similar to the other Scores that we've discussed, meaning that may have gotten "stuck" at this particular score level. If that's the case, then continuing to study in the same ways won't necessarily lead to your 740+ Score Goal.

The immediate issue for you continues to be SC, so a bit more analysis on how you've been studying for SC (and the "steps" that you go through when dealing with SC questions) is warranted. For example, how often are you "narrowing the answers down to 2 choices" and how often do you ultimately choose an answer based on how it "sounds?"

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich


Thanks Rich.

I've replied to you via direct message.
GMAT Club Bot
Re: Severe knowledge gap in Sentence Correction section   [#permalink] 20 Apr 2020, 01:25

Severe knowledge gap in Sentence Correction section

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