Magoosh Expert

GRE Error Log: How to Track and Improve Your Mistakes

A student practicing for the GRE with an error log

Preparing for the GRE can sometimes feel like you’re on a wild roller coaster ride. But guess what? Each bump, twist, and turn is an opportunity to learn and grow. Those mistakes you make during your practice tests? They’re golden learning moments, waiting to be unraveled. And that’s where a GRE error log comes into play. It’s your personalized guide, pointing out where you stumble so you can get back up stronger. Let’s explore how to create this magical tool and use it to supercharge your GRE prep.

Why you need a GRE error log

Think of an error log as your personal GRE diary. It keeps track of all the questions you got wrong during your prep. It shows you your weak spots, the type of mistakes you make, and any patterns that might emerge. Like a trusty sidekick, it helps you tackle your specific challenges head-on, making your prep more focused and effective.

Setting up your error log

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Creating an error log is easier than you think. Grab a notebook or dedicate a section in your study materials and start jotting down:

  1. Question Identifier: Label each question with a number or a unique tag so you can refer to it later.
  2. Question Flavor: Note down which GRE section the question belongs to and its type. Is it a Sentence Equivalence question from Verbal Reasoning or a Problem-Solving one from Quantitative Reasoning?
  3. Error Breakdown: Describe your mistake—did you misinterpret the question, use the wrong formula, or misunderstand the passage?
  4. Why, Oh Why: Dig deeper into why you made the mistake. Was it a lack of understanding, carelessness, time pressure, or unfamiliarity with the topic?
  5. The Right Way: After checking the correct solution, write down a simple explanation of the right approach or concept.

Spotting patterns and trends

Make it a habit to review your error log regularly. Are you consistently messing up a certain question type or topic? Do specific vocab words or math concepts trip you up? Spotting these patterns will help you zero in on areas that need extra love and attention.

Building your improvement plan

Once you’ve spotted your mistake patterns, it’s time to build your battle plan:

  1. Back to Basics: If you’re struggling with understanding, revisit the relevant concepts or look for additional resources.
  2. Target Practice: Spend more time practicing questions related to your weak areas. Official GRE practice tests are great for this.
  3. Beat the Clock: If time pressure is your nemesis, try timed exercises to improve your speed.
  4. Word Power: If vocab is your Achilles heel, work on expanding your word bank. Learn high-frequency GRE words and their context.

Your error log isn’t just about your oops moments. It’s also a place to celebrate your wins. Take notes on questions you answered correctly. What strategies worked? Use these insights to replicate your success.

Rinse and repeat

Keep updating your error log as you continue your GRE journey. It’s a great way to monitor your progress and keep yourself motivated. Remember, consistency is key. Regular practice and review will help reinforce your learning and avoid repeating mistakes.

In a nutshell, a GRE error log helps you understand your mistakes, spot patterns, and develop targeted strategies. Embrace your mistakes as learning opportunities and let your error log guide you towards GRE success. With dedication, grit, and a growth mindset, you’ll walk into the test center brimming with confidence.


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