Executive Assessment: Verbal Strategies – Part 4:

by on December 31st, 2017

verbalWelcome to the fourth installment of Verbal Strategies for the EA! If you’re just joining us now, I recommend going back to the first part and proceeding from there.

So far, we’ve been concentrating on Critical Reasoning. It’s time to branch out into some Sentence Correction. This one is labeled #3 in the free CR set on the official EA website, as of December 2017. Try it out!

“In addition to having more protein than wheat does, the protein in rice is higher quality than that in wheat, with more of the amino acids essential to the human diet.

“(A) the protein in rice is higher quality than that in

“(B) rice has protein of higher quality than that in

“(C) the protein in rice is higher in quality than it is in

“(D) rice protein is higher in quality than it is in

“(E) rice has a protein higher in quality than”

Got an answer? Let’s go!

First, Glance at the problem. Focus on the first couple of words of the underline and the word or two before the underline starts—this is where the first big change in the answer choices will be. Glance down at the beginning of each answer choice. What do you see?

In this case, we’ve got a comma before the underline and then either protein or rice. Those are two completely different words—so something is going on either with meaning or with something that requires a certain form of a word to be in a certain place, such as parallelism or comparisons.

Keep that in mind while you do step 2: Read the original sentence. Think about the overall meaning as you read. If you spot any grammar issues, jot down a little note on your scrap paper.

The opening part of the sentence has a comparison marker: more than. Bingo! We’ve just hit step 3: Find a starting point. The fact that this is a comparison will help us decide what needs to come at the beginning of the underline. What is more than what?

In the non-underlined portion, the meaning is this: something has more protein than wheat does. What? Logically, rice has more protein than wheat does. It doesn’t make sense to say that the protein (in rice) has more protein than wheat does.

And boom, we’re at step 4: Eliminate (and repeat). Answer (A) is incorrect; cross it off on your scrap paper. Now, check the remaining answers. Do any others repeat this same error?

Yes! Answer (C) does. Ooh, and answer (D) does, too—just in a slightly tricky way. Answer (D) says rice protein, but the main noun there is still protein. The word rice is just describing the protein. Eliminate choices (C) and (D).

Answers (B) and (E) both correctly put rice following the comma: rice has more protein than wheat does. Time to repeat the process, looking for some other issue to tackle.

Compare the answers vertically. What do you spot?

“(B) rice has protein of higher quality than that in”

“(E) rice has a protein higher in quality than”

Hmm. Protein vs. a protein? Of higher quality vs. higher in quality? Oh, look at the last part: the word than indicates another comparison marker: higher (in) quality than…so we can check for the same issue. What are the two things being compared now?

“(B) rice has protein of higher quality than that in wheat”

“(E) rice has a protein higher in quality than wheat”

In both cases the first comparison element is protein: the protein (in rice) is of higher quality than (something else). The second comparison element, though, is different in each choice.

In answer (B), protein (in rice) is being compared to that (in wheat). What does that refer to? Logically, it refers to protein…and that makes sense! The protein (in rice) is higher quality than the protein in wheat. Nice.

What about (E)? Here, the protein (in rice) is higher quality than…wheat itself. It’s illogical to compare protein in rice to wheat itself. Logically, the sentence should compare protein in one type of grain to protein in another type of grain. Eliminate (E).

The correct answer is (B).

All four wrong answers mess up the comparison structure somehow—so if you master comparisons, you can get yourself all the way to the answer based just on this one topic.

Key Takeaways for EA Sentence Correction:

(1) Sentence Correction doesn’t offer an easy way to tell immediately what a sentence is testing, so use the beginning of the underline as a possible clue. Look at the first couple of words of the answers as well—do the differences allow you to identify one issue that this problem is testing?

(2) When you read the full sentence, make sure that you are paying attention to the overall meaning, not just the pure grammar. When you spot something that you know how to deal with, deal with it! Then check whether you can eliminate other answers based on that same issue.

(3) Turn that knowledge into Know the Code flash cards:

* Executive Assessment questions courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council. Usage of this question does not imply endorsement by GMAC.

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