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Guide to avoiding STUPID mistakes on GMAT

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Guide to avoiding STUPID mistakes on GMAT [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2006, 09:04
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I saw a bit of this scattered in various posts, but everyone's approach on how they avoid silly mistakes seems to differ. So I thought starting a new topic, where we would share our ideas on how to avoid silly mistakes will be quite helpful to many! I encourage everyone to contribute!
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2006, 09:26
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I guess I should start first :)

QUANT:

probably the most tricky section for making such a mistake. I don't feel particularly weak here, but when I am in a rush 2*3=8 somehow and area of the lawn that is a semicircle+square=circle+square... Stupid, I know, but time pressure makes me do this...

my approach... READ THE QUESTION before you answer it... In total I would read it at least 3 times and check the calculation, especially on the first 10 questions

VERBAL

CR: ALWAYS read the question first, identify the type and note the trap words "EXCEPT", "ALL THE FOLLOWING..." feel free to add more to this...

RC: AGAIN read the question first and NOTE the type of question, then follow what your strategy for answering such type

SC: I follow a list of things here checking
1) SVA
2) pronouns
3) modifiers
4) ||sm
5) conditionals
6) comparisons
7) idioms
not to scare everyone, but I don't go through the whole list all the time... I only follow it when I see nothing wrong with the sentence... Sometimes I would read the sentence and pronoun FLASHES at me right away, so I check if it has a clear reference... or if I see comparison problem, I look for choices that make it logical...

VERY OBVIOUS, I know, but if you are aware of that 'obvious' I believe you would reduce such mistakes!

PLEASE, add to this list to make this topic more valueable!
Thanks!
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2006, 09:41
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Maths:

1. In DS, if each statement gives a linear equation of two variables, then don't think that there are two equations. Those may be same equations and answer may be E. Liek st1 give 2x + 3y = 4 and st2 gives 6x + 9y = 12

2. As soon as you understand the question ,start writing. Don't rely solely on the calculations done in the mind. Many times when you write down then you get the correct answer.

Verbal:

1. Don't get by just sound of the choices in SC.
2. If you have found the mistake in a SC and also found the choice then also read all other choices.
3. In CRs don't think too much away from the argument.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2006, 11:10
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Another classic mistake in DS is REMEMBERING INFORMATION FROM PREVIOUS STATEMENT and concluding that the answer is B.

I have made this mistake a few times. It is very important that you CONSIDER EACH STATEMENT INDEPENDENTLY
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2006, 16:43
For verbals, CR:

Write S for strengthen, W for weaken, ? for neither or irrelevant or otherwise unsure.

Then look at the question and cross out the ones that don't fit. More than once I picked a weaken when in fact it was asking what strengthened.

For DS math, memorize

AD
BCE

If statement 1 is sufficient, then cross out BCE. If statement 1 is unsufficient, cross out AD, then look at statement 2. If thats sufficient pick B, if thats insufficient, cross out B and pick C or E.
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Overseing the number of subject [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2006, 22:04
SC: while going through the options i usually get confused among the choices in which original problem is rectified but a new error is inserted.This happens because i mainly concentrate on the error and oversee rest of the sentence :cry: .The new inserted error can be because of chnage in the verb in terms of singular and plural(changing 'insert' into 'inserts').

DS:Due to time constraint i usually miss some posibilities like i just put 2-3 values to the condition given and then conclude the answer because of this i usually dont get the score in practice tests which i can.

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 [#permalink] New post 07 Jul 2006, 07:00
The most common mistakes I make are:

Quant: I mark the wrong answer choice inspite of getting the correct answer (B instead of A or something like that)...this happens when Iam in a hurry ..mostly for questions which are easy. Double checking the answers reduces this kind of errors.

SC: I get carried away by one of the answer choices which feels right and overlook reading rest of the answer choices....

CR: glance at the question just before marking the answer choice to make sure it is the correct choice..I sometimes assume a weaken question as strengthen or vice versa.
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One more common mistake [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2006, 23:35
DS
Most of the time I made common mistake in analyzing the question and I miss important clue like, positive integer, consecutive integer, non negative integer, non zero integer. Nowadays I start looking at these clues as triggers to get answers.

PS
Ratio problem. There is a:b:c = 1:2:3 I have been asked to compute B but I compute a and give answer. Nowdays I calculate all a, b and c. Normally obivious wrong answer is answer choice 'A' for such type of question.

RC
I do not rely on my memory about inference or fact based question. I read that part of paragraph again.

General
Most common silly mistake is to spent too much time unnecessarily on some question and then making most of the other question wrong in the end. Fix some maximum limit for each question.
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Understand what is being asked [#permalink] New post 09 Jul 2006, 12:53
Just wanted to add another one...

One mistake I recently made is not paying attention to what is being asked.

For example, given 3 job rates, finding the ratio of the *time* taken by A to that taken by (B+C) is actually inverse of the job rate. Ofcourse one of the choices is the answer you came up with, which is ofcourse wrong.

One way to resolve is :

Make a note of what is being asked
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2006, 11:52
One very stupid mistake: f.e. 30% of winners, all the others are loosers what is ratio of winners to the total loosers. Just was in a hurry or time pressure made me take 3/10 instead of 3/7, just missed last word "looser" and ... has got looser:( READ carefully all the question!!!
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2006, 22:19
[size=150]CR:

Always pay special attention to choices havings words such as “mostâ€
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2006, 23:59
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Its been a while since I took the GMAT, but here is one that I remember..

Statement : x is a positive integer.
I read : x is an integer.


Here are some common strategic errors you can make:

1. I am strong in Quant. Lets focus on Verbal. vice-versa

2. Work two weeks straight on SC, then the next two weeks straight on
CR...so on so forth.

3. I consistently get 75% correct on CR/SC/RC.

4. I must only focus on the difficult problems.

5. Three months is good enough for preparation.

6. I got that question right. I dont care if I guessed. I dont need to
review the explanation or take a second look at it.

7. I know my weaknesses. I dont see any reason to measure my
progress.
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 [#permalink] New post 13 Jul 2006, 10:32
Keep thinking about the questions that came before and not the one infront of you.
SC- A sounds good and so just skimming over D and E.
Not timing yourself.
Not being consistent - i.e. studying hard for 1 week and then not studying for the second week.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2006, 10:59
x is 400% greater than y - means x is 500% of y
i fall for this a lot. For some reason, I'm fine when the percent greater is less than 100 ie- x is 13 percent greater than Y: x=1.13y no problem.

There will most definitely be an answer choice that is the result of this miscalculation!
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2006, 01:06
When two variables are denoted e.g. X and Y - (If its not mentioned that variables are different) - They can be same!

Is this true in all cases? Can we assume when variables are denoted by different letters, they can have same values?

So I thought it would be a silly mistake to assume different letters as ifferent variables;

P.S. When I studied math at school - different letters denoted different values:(
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2006, 12:17
My mistake in all parts of the Verbal section:

If one of the answer choices at the beginning looks correct (though I am not 100% sure), I tend to underestimate other choices and just skim over other choices very quickly for the sake of going through them. It is dangereous especially when A looks correct.

So my take: do not discriminate other choices, they may not like this. :)
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2006, 12:30
latest mistake on SC:

DO NOT START ELIMINATING ANSWERS BASED ON IDIOMS... even if you are 90% sure... try to find other problems first and look at the idioms as a last source of a mistake!!!

courtesy of Futuristic and his GMAT instructor :wink:
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2006, 22:33
I think the most important thing to be taken into consideration is concentration and its consistance. If you have 95% for 2 hrs and 85% concentration for the remaining time, there can be a drastic increase in the scores....
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2006, 06:52
AWA: One of my worst mistakes was not including the AWA section in practice CATs. "I'll just skim over the templates the night before test day, and should at least pull off a 4~5; schools don't really care about AWA scores anyway."

Big mistake. AWA does count, not only in the eyes of those who will be reviewing your application (especially when it comes down to making a tough choice between two equally qualified candidates) but in the in the overall manner in which you manage your energy. That one hour of outlining, thinking, supporting/weakening, revising, editing, typing... DOES have an impact on how well you can maintain concentration throughout the next 2.5 hours.

The crucial element here: ALWAYS include AWAs in your practice CATs.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Sep 2006, 15:01
"0" is an integer, but its neither +ve nor -ve.
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