Yes, the GMAT does test “so that” vs. “so as to”

Yes, the GMAT does test “so that” vs. “so as to”

Thank you to Soph Lundeberg at Soph-wise Tutoring in San Diego for calling this to my attention.

Soph wrote:

The following Magoosh blog claims the GMAT will not test “so as to” versus “so that,” and furthermore, the two are idiomatically acceptable.



The solution for #150 is on page 302. Erica’s solution says “All of other options are idiomatically unacceptable” but does not have any further explanation for why A, “so as to escape,” is wrong, whereas the longer construction, “so that she could escape” is correct. If two constructions are acceptable, “shorter = better”, right? 


I checked the Magoosh blog post, which claimed that the GMAT would never ask test-takers to choose between “so that” and “so as to,” and something really did not sit quite right about it.” There was just no way I would have bothered to put “so that” and “so as to” head to head in a question unless I’d actually seen the GMAC do so first. (more…)

10 Top GMAT Idioms

10 Top GMAT Idioms

If you look at many lists of GMAT® idioms, you’ll likely find dozens upon dozens of preposition-based constructions, e.g. insist oncharacteristic of, correlate with. Although the GMAT does sometimes test these types of idioms, it is important to understand that they are not the primary focus of the test. Because of an increase in the number of international students taking the exam, the GMAC has elected to shift the focus away from idiomatic American usage and toward more issues involving overall sentence logic.

That said, there are still a handful of fixed constructions that the GMAT does regularly test. Many, but not all, of these fall into the category of word pairs (aka correlative conjunctions). Particularly if you are not a native English speaker, you are best served by focusing on these constructions, which stand a high chance of appearing, as opposed to memorizing dozens of preposition-based idioms that have only a minuscule chance of being tested on any given exam. (more…)

What you need to know about “The Complete GMAT® Sentence Correction Guide”

What you need to know about “The Complete GMAT® Sentence Correction Guide”

I’m putting up this post because I’ve received a number of queries from people who are interested my The Complete GMAT® Sentence Correction Guide but who aren’t really sure what differentiates it from other guides on the market or whether it meets their needs. So instead of continuing to respond to people on a case-by-case, I thought I’d address some of the most common questions/concerns all in one place.

While the book does by necessity cover many of the same general concepts and strategies as the other books on the market, albeit with a different organization, there are a handful of key points that bear emphasizing.

First and most importantly: the book is designed as a “bridge” to the actual exam. All of the rules covered are derived exclusively from an in-depth study of GMAC-produced questions, and each chapter ends with a list of relevant questions from the Official Guide and Official Verbal guide. In addition, specific questions are periodically referenced during in-chapter discussions. Although there are categorized Official Guide question lists circulating online, there is no other published guide that includes this type of concept-by-concept breakdown. (more…)

What is a clause?

What is a clause?

“Clause” is one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot in discussion about grammar. It’s one of those words that students often hear but whose meaning they tend not to be 100% sure of.

It’s certainly possible to study for the SAT®/ACT®/GMAT® without knowing the exact definition of a clause, but understanding what clauses are and how they work can make things a whole lot easier. (more…)

New! SAT/ACT and GMAT idiom lists

As part of my attempt to make the official repository of all things related to SAT, ACT, and GMAT grammar, I’ve posted lists of preposition-based idioms for those tests. (For now, they’re the same as the ones in my SAT, ACT, and GMAT grammar books, but I will update them if I come across additional tests with other examples.)

For SAT/ACT idioms, click here.

For GMAT idioms, click here. (more…)

New: GMAT Sentence Correction cheat sheet!

For those of you looking for a condensed version of key things to know for the Sentence Correction portion of the GMAT, I’ve posted  a Cheat Sheet in the GMAT study guide.

20 simple tips to help keep you focused on the most important information and spot right/wrong answer more quickly and easily.

I’ve also posted a few additional articles in the GMAT section recently.

Parallel structure with “that” (a frequently overlooked favorite GMAT concept)
An in-depth discussion of how to use “which” along with a separate article simplifying “which vs. that”
And the ever-popular burning question of when to use “because” vs. “due to” (more…)