Thursday, November 1, 2007

GRE:Dispelling Myths II

Well folks, I am back with some more of the golden rules. Today we’re gonna look at sentence completion. The methods I give are a motley group- some are age old rules of the thumb while some are radically new. Ok, enough of transgressions- let’s talk business.

Sentence Completion:
Best Method:
Well folks, I’m sad to say this, but the easiest way to tackle this section is to have read lots of English books- even Harry Potter is acceptable in this case. Remember that the whole point of GRE isn't filtering students coming into the US. It is merely to equip you with a level of English and Math deemed proper for a professional student, in the US. So it just encourages you to improve your English, and what better way than to read books?

(Oh please don't talk about watching movies- the only new word you'll learn is the four lettered **** and **** (you know them already! :-) ))

If you do read books- you’ll be able to identify those words that fit and those others that are awkward for the blank to be filled. In fact- your mind will tell you a lot of possible words that can be fit in, even afore you have read the choices. That way, you’ll find yourself flinching when you read some choices (obviously rejected) while nodding approvingly for some.

Some books I recommend (Read the book fully and you shall improve marvellously in your sentences, as well as vocabulary- but that comes later in this article)

  1. Sherlock Holmes: Complete Adventures (Needn't read all of it- may 200 pages of it)
  2. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  3. James Bond by Ian Fleming (only some adventures)

The level of English is capital (what people call King's English) and the stories are no less interesting than the fast movies we watch today. They also teach characterisitics of English Life, making you a cultured Englishman. (Not that Indians are barbaric or anything of that sort- just that their culture is differnt from yours, so it must be learnt)

"They will keep you immersed for days together (like in a trance), and voila, when you come out of it, thou shall have transformed into an English Master"-I'm not saying this is how its gonna happen. But you shall surely be interested in the story and shall learn slowly, but surely, just like I've done.

Dracula might be a bit slow- so better concentrate on the other two. Dracula is good for advanced users. You'll start using your dictionary every alternate moment once you start reading them. I found 4 words in only the first page of Sherlock Holmes when I read it- and I am an accomplished reader.

These books are a complete package for improving English-Grammar, Vocabulary, Sentence Formation, Slang etc etc, all in One.

Anyway, back to Sentence Completion

Other methods:
Well folks, all these methods are incomplete ones- so don’t go all out in following them. But just know that they’re available too. One way is to look at critical points in the sentence and try to eliminate absurd choices. But, this is very time-consuming unless you’re an advanced learner, and besides you cannot always be so sure with the choices you have eliminated.
I’ve not mentioned other methods here- because they’re all useless. The difference between the best method and the others is this- it’s like playing a cricket shot by instinct, naturally, rather than mechanically trying to remember each and every instruction regarding the shot and playing it. Any shot must be played by the body with feeling- not by the mind with thinking.
If you’ve mastered the Best Method (This method alone is fool-proof. None of the others can provide the complete solution.)- you’ll be answering SCs by instinct- just like how Sachin dispatches loose balls to the boundary, in a casual manner.

Warning- Only for Advanced Learners:
In the advanced stage- you’d be able to answer most of the SCs, but would still fumble at certain tricky ones. This is where your reasoning is tested. A profound knowledge of the words and their usage in various contexts is required to be 100% sure in all cases, which is very difficult to achieve. But do not be alarmed (Hardship Alarm Not J) This level of understanding is unnecessary for the GRE, unless you’re aiming at 1600 and want to be damn sure of reaching it. The possibilities of such questions in this section are low. So its better you follow the above tips to raise the bar above average. This level is outstanding.
I’ll explain further on this method when I write the article for advanced learners (another part in this series).


Don't miss out on the coming parts- the real fun begins only from the next part.

Next Episode (3rd) will be on what I consider the most important part of the Verbal test-Analogies and Antonyms- because this one needs the most preparation.
The episode following that (4th) will be devoted to Issues and Arguments.
5th episode will be for advanced learners of Verbal and the 6th will be for Quants, followed by a final episode as an epilogue, and to include anything left out. Grammar will be included-in the 4th or 5th or 7th episode. I'm thinking about it. But you shall surely get my tips on grammar.

Following this, (the series would be concluded with the 7th episode) I would be posting interesting questions (real questions), or anything new and worth reading about the GRE.

That will be written in GRE category. NOT IN GRE GOLDEN RULES.

Sorry for the delay- I shall try to post atleast once in two days in this category.

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