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slash and burn

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the nona Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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slash and burn

Post Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:09 pm
What does the "slash and burn" SC strategy mean ?? this term is referred to several times in different articles on the Veritas blog .

Thanks in advance

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Brian@VeritasPrep GMAT Instructor
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Post Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:44 am
Good question - it's something we certainly teach more thoroughly in a class, but I guess it has seeped into some of our shorter articles (in which we may not take a ton of time/space to thoroughly explain).

Essentially, Slash-and-Burn is about thinning out the number of words you read in any given Sentence Correction question. Officially, sentences in SC can go up to 56 words, which is an incredibly long sentence. The reason? The GMAT can "hide" important decision points behind a lot of modifiers, adjectives, adverbs, and proper nouns - the more that the test makes you read, the harder it is for you to determine what's important and where you should spend your time.

To combat that, Slash-and-Burn has you:

1) Ignore "correct" modifiers (once you've determined that a modifier is not an error worthy of eliminating that answer choice, then you don't have to read the modifier anymore. http://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2010/11/gmat-tip-of-the-week-use-it-or-lose-it/)

2) Break off irrelevant clauses (particularly introductory clauses like "Researchers at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have recently determined that..." - the word "that" sets up the subject of a new clause, so if the answer choices differ as to how to phrase the second clause you can focus on that and not read the entire sentence each time)

3) Try ignoring adjectives, adverbs, and long proper names, again in an effort to reduce the number of words that you have to read.

So in a sentence like:

"Researchers at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have recently discovered that water, a compound formed by the merging of two hydrogen atoms with one oxygen atom, are wet."

Can get down to:

"Water are wet", which is clearly wrong. Since the introductory clause (everything before "water") has no errors, you can break that off. And since "a compound..." correctly modifies "water", you can ignore that modifier.


So...that's the strategy, which you can learn a little bit more about in the article linked below. We've had a lot of success with it - it saves a lot of time and helps people focus on what's truly important in a sentence.


http://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2011/06/gmat-tip-of-the-week-three-essential-sentence-correction-strategies/

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