# The Knewton Blog

I’d like to paint a scenario that reflects a common occurrence in classrooms nationwide. A student in an introductory algebra class — we’ll call him Stu — receives a score of 63%, a D, on his quiz from chapter 13 on adding and subtracting polynomials. The teacher — let’s call her Mrs. T — has several decades of experience under her belt and knows that if Stu simply moves on to the next topic without… Read more

One of the GMAT’s favorite ways to trip people up on the Sentence Correction section is to employ verbals where a verb is required. Verbals are words that look like verbs but function as nouns or modifiers. Think of verbals as the long-lost cousins of verbs. They look similar and often appear in the same place in the sentence, but they serve very different functions. To think of it another way — in the taxonomy… Read more

Posted in GMAT, Verbal Guide | One comment

One of the most pressing questions faced by math teachers is, “How do I keep my students interested?” It’s a challenge faced by all educators, but overcoming boredom may not be as tricky as you think. The secret is to remember to illustrate the big picture. For students, math can easily feel like a tedious jumble of facts; it’s not always obvious how the parts join together to become a  coherent whole. A pile of… Read more

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The human mind is wonderfully mysterious. The things that we think are least important are often the ones that we take most seriously. When I was a camp counselor, none of my kids cared about cleaning the room at the end of the day, despite my repeated attempts to emphasize the importance of maintaining an organized space. However, as soon as I called it a “game,” a competition in which whoever picked up the most… Read more

On GMAT Sentence Correction section, watch out for prepositional phrases in the middle of sentences, especially those bracketed by commas. They often can refer to either the first or second half of the sentence, creating ambiguity. Take a look at this GMATPrep® question: Although various eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American poets had professed an interest in Native American poetry and had pretended to imitate Native American forms in their own works, until almost 1900, scholars and critics did… Read more

Posted in GMAT, Verbal Guide | One comment

Once in a while, the GMAT will hurl a particularly nasty question in your direction, one that seems deliberately designed to make you feel uncertain about all of the answer choices. These sorts of questions will most likely include rare idioms, awkward phrasing, and suspicious pronouns to keep you off balance. In these instances, sometimes your only defense is to plant your feet firmly on the ground, forget the rules, and pretend that you’re saying… Read more

Posted in GMAT, GMAT Tips, Verbal Guide | One comment

Placing modifiers correctly is one of the greatest challenges on the Sentence Correction portion of the GMAT. Different rules apply to different types of modifiers, whether they are participial phrases, adjective clauses, or appositives. To see when modifiers get tricky, take a look at this GMATPrep® question: Originally developed for detecting air pollutants, a technique called proton-induced x-ray emission, which can quickly analyze the chemical elements in almost any substance without destroying it, is finding… Read more

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The term ellipsis, or elliptical construction, describes the omission of words in order to make a sentence more concise. Ellipses are used frequently with comparisons. An ellipsis may eliminate a subsequent occurrence of a word or words stated previously in a sentence only when the word or words are exactly the same each time they appear. No ellipsis: During the 17th century, Britain experienced some types of political turmoil, and France, Spain, and Germany experienced others…. Read more

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Some of our best students have their grammar rules down pat. They can talk for hours about adjective clauses, dangling modifiers, gerunds, and the subjunctive, but they’re so busy checking to make sure that all the sentence parts fit into place that they forget to read the sentence for meaning. Consider this example: Most studies approximate that 70 percent of individuals with an amputation experience phantom sensations in the amputated limb, often in the form… Read more

Posted in GMAT, Verbal Guide | One comment

In preparation for the sentence correction portion of the GMAT, let’s go over a great question asked by one our students, Mike, about an especially deceptive GMATPrep® SC problem. Mike’s question is about the proper use of the past perfect tense, which you’ll recall is used to indicate that one past event occurred before another past event. Try the question, then read on to see where Mike got tripped up: His studies of ice-polished rocks… Read more

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