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Help: How to avoid silly mistakes

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Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 24 Jan 2011, 09:19
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Hi everyone,

I have been taking practice exams and I have noticed that I have been making silly mistakes. When I would have had two legitimate wrong answers I would have around ten. Please give me some advice. Should I focus on solving harder problems or just continue taking practice exams? Please your comments on this would be highly appreciated.

Thanks

Mari
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 24 Jan 2011, 09:21
mariyea wrote:
Hi everyone,

I have been taking practice exams and I have noticed that I have been making silly mistakes. When I would have had two legitimate wrong answers I would have around ten. Please give me some advice. Should I focus on solving harder problems or just continue taking practice exams? Please your comments on this would be highly appreciated.

Thanks

Mari


I would either read through every question twice before answering, or read the question, then let it 'sink in' for 5 or so seconds before trying to answer.

This kept me from rushing into silly mistakes.
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2011, 12:20
Depends on whether you are making silly mistakes in say addition or multiplication or in reading and understanding the question. I have trouble with the latter and i noticed that by slowing down when you are reading and not reaching for the pencil immediately i could avoid some more mistakes.

Understand what the question is asking.

Where do you have trouble - in V or Q?
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2011, 12:22
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mbafall2011 wrote:
Depends on whether you are making silly mistakes in say addition or multiplication or in reading and understanding the question. I have trouble with the latter and i noticed that by slowing down when you are reading and not reaching for the pencil immediately i could avoid some more mistakes.

Understand what the question is asking.

Where do you have trouble - in V or Q?


In both areas, actually. Especially in Q.
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2011, 12:46
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mariyea wrote:
mbafall2011 wrote:
Depends on whether you are making silly mistakes in say addition or multiplication or in reading and understanding the question. I have trouble with the latter and i noticed that by slowing down when you are reading and not reaching for the pencil immediately i could avoid some more mistakes.

Understand what the question is asking.

Where do you have trouble - in V or Q?


In both areas, actually. Especially in Q.



Try to slow down while reading the question and repeat the question asked twice so you emphasize on that. this is my second round, im preparing again and still havent started taking any tests and i will keep you posted if i find any new techniques. I think its mostly related to your ability to concentrate. With the web and mobile phones and so many distractions i think our minds are now used to not seeing the same thing for more than 2 minutes.
Good luck
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2011, 14:09
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mbafall2011 wrote:
mariyea wrote:
mbafall2011 wrote:
Depends on whether you are making silly mistakes in say addition or multiplication or in reading and understanding the question. I have trouble with the latter and i noticed that by slowing down when you are reading and not reaching for the pencil immediately i could avoid some more mistakes.

Understand what the question is asking.

Where do you have trouble - in V or Q?


In both areas, actually. Especially in Q.



Try to slow down while reading the question and repeat the question asked twice so you emphasize on that. this is my second round, im preparing again and still havent started taking any tests and i will keep you posted if i find any new techniques. I think its mostly related to your ability to concentrate. With the web and mobile phones and so many distractions i think our minds are now used to not seeing the same thing for more than 2 minutes.
Good luck


Thank you! And thank you too tfincham!
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 03:43
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mariyea wrote:
Hi everyone,

I have been taking practice exams and I have noticed that I have been making silly mistakes. When I would have had two legitimate wrong answers I would have around ten. Please give me some advice. Should I focus on solving harder problems or just continue taking practice exams? Please your comments on this would be highly appreciated.

Thanks

Mari


Hi Mari,

My advice would be that be especially careful while answering the first 10 or so questions in each section. That way you can certainly improve your score. Also identify your stronger areas ( Eg Geomtry, Algebra etc). When questions come from these sections, follow the technique advised above and MAKE SURE you get them correct. The extra time can be compensated in questions from your weaker areas as chances are that you might get difficult questions from these sections wrong, whether you make silly mistakes or not. Hope this helps you in your preparations.

Forgive me for presuming that you have strong and weak areas and are not equally good throughout :oops:

All the Best!
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 06:40
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samidh wrote:
mariyea wrote:
Hi everyone,

I have been taking practice exams and I have noticed that I have been making silly mistakes. When I would have had two legitimate wrong answers I would have around ten. Please give me some advice. Should I focus on solving harder problems or just continue taking practice exams? Please your comments on this would be highly appreciated.

Thanks

Mari


Hi Mari,

My advice would be that be especially careful while answering the first 10 or so questions in each section. That way you can certainly improve your score. Also identify your stronger areas ( Eg Geomtry, Algebra etc). When questions come from these sections, follow the technique advised above and MAKE SURE you get them correct. The extra time can be compensated in questions from your weaker areas as chances are that you might get difficult questions from these sections wrong, whether you make silly mistakes or not. Hope this helps you in your preparations.

Forgive me for presuming that you have strong and weak areas and are not equally good throughout :oops:

All the Best!


Thank you Samidh! I'll do that.
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 29 Jan 2011, 11:25
I just took a practice test and performed pretty badly. I noticed that at a certain point I wasn't able to perform... my mind simply froze. You wouldn't believe what kind of straight forward qs I got wrong. :angry :stupid What should I do? My exam date is coming up really soon. :help2 Please give me some advice!
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2011, 21:41
mariyea wrote:
I just took a practice test and performed pretty badly. I noticed that at a certain point I wasn't able to perform... my mind simply froze. You wouldn't believe what kind of straight forward qs I got wrong. :angry :stupid What should I do? My exam date is coming up really soon. :help2 Please give me some advice!


Hi,

I get the feeling that perhaps you are worrying a shade too much about the exam. Its quite natural to have these jitters and guess most of us have them so close to the exam, but you some how have to know how to flush them out of the system, at least in those vital hours.

Remember the following points ( won't find them anywhere... These are from personal experience!)

1. Most questions you will get in the GMAT are similar and quite possibly easier than the tough ones you have practised, only those above the 750 level are a little trickier... hence if you are getting those questions quite possibly you have already reached the 750 level :wink:

2. Do not worry if a question looks easier than the previous one. It does not always mean that you have got the last one wrong as how the GMAT algo works is very difficult to figure out.

3. This one is a repeat... but initial questions ARE VITAL to getting a good score.

4. Keep reminding yourself from time to time about the basic rules, formulas etc. However, if you can't remember a certain formula/rule, just open the book and read it, and you are sure never to forget it again. Practising this way, you should overcome the problem of going blank during the exam.

5. Take a mock exam every alternate day... just to get yourself accustomed to sitting long hours in front of the computer and under stress... once you do that... your scores are bound to improve.

Remember, GMAT is as much a test of your patience as it is of your skills! :wink:

All the Best!
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2011, 05:59
samidh wrote:
mariyea wrote:
I just took a practice test and performed pretty badly. I noticed that at a certain point I wasn't able to perform... my mind simply froze. You wouldn't believe what kind of straight forward qs I got wrong. :angry :stupid What should I do? My exam date is coming up really soon. :help2 Please give me some advice!


Hi,

I get the feeling that perhaps you are worrying a shade too much about the exam. Its quite natural to have these jitters and guess most of us have them so close to the exam, but you some how have to know how to flush them out of the system, at least in those vital hours.

Remember the following points ( won't find them anywhere... These are from personal experience!)

1. Most questions you will get in the GMAT are similar and quite possibly easier than the tough ones you have practised, only those above the 750 level are a little trickier... hence if you are getting those questions quite possibly you have already reached the 750 level :wink:

2. Do not worry if a question looks easier than the previous one. It does not always mean that you have got the last one wrong as how the GMAT algo works is very difficult to figure out.

3. This one is a repeat... but initial questions ARE VITAL to getting a good score.

4. Keep reminding yourself from time to time about the basic rules, formulas etc. However, if you can't remember a certain formula/rule, just open the book and read it, and you are sure never to forget it again. Practising this way, you should overcome the problem of going blank during the exam.

5. Take a mock exam every alternate day... just to get yourself accustomed to sitting long hours in front of the computer and under stress... once you do that... your scores are bound to improve.

Remember, GMAT is as much a test of your patience as it is of your skills! :wink:

All the Best!


Thanks Samidh!
You're definitely right about becoming apprehensive about getting easier questions. That's probably what also got me a bit tense.

You're also right about getting the first ten qs right because I saw a significant difference in my V and Q scores. I scored a higher score in Q (I got almost the first ten correct) but the V part of the test I got probably about five incorrect :oops: ... consecutively! :shock:

I'll try to keep what you said in mind!
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2011, 09:53
mariyea wrote:
I just took a practice test and performed pretty badly. I noticed that at a certain point I wasn't able to perform... my mind simply froze. You wouldn't believe what kind of straight forward qs I got wrong. :angry :stupid What should I do? My exam date is coming up really soon. :help2 Please give me some advice!



Take as much rest the day before- dont do anything taxing so when you start you are fresh. Ideally avoid giving exams when you are tired or say the day after a very hectic day at work.

If you are giving MGMAT or Gmat prep, i can tell you that they are a very good indicator of your current ability barring a few exceptions.
Important thing is to only worry about the question you are currently solving, not about the next one or the previous ones.
Further if you are giving MGMAT practice exams then they give you a break down of the kind of question, the average time and many such useful statistics from which you can figure out if you are weak in a certain area. I found out that i was weak in Word translations and was able to immediately improve my score in that area.

There are two options - go ahead and give the exam because you will never know how good or bad you are unless you try!
Or if you are really doubtful then just postpone the exam. I did the former!

Good Luck.
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2011, 11:16
mbafall2011 wrote:
mariyea wrote:
I just took a practice test and performed pretty badly. I noticed that at a certain point I wasn't able to perform... my mind simply froze. You wouldn't believe what kind of straight forward qs I got wrong. :angry :stupid What should I do? My exam date is coming up really soon. :help2 Please give me some advice!



Take as much rest the day before- dont do anything taxing so when you start you are fresh. Ideally avoid giving exams when you are tired or say the day after a very hectic day at work.

If you are giving MGMAT or Gmat prep, i can tell you that they are a very good indicator of your current ability barring a few exceptions.
Important thing is to only worry about the question you are currently solving, not about the next one or the previous ones.
Further if you are giving MGMAT practice exams then they give you a break down of the kind of question, the average time and many such useful statistics from which you can figure out if you are weak in a certain area. I found out that i was weak in Word translations and was able to immediately improve my score in that area.

There are two options - go ahead and give the exam because you will never know how good or bad you are unless you try!
Or if you are really doubtful then just postpone the exam. I did the former!

Good Luck.

Thank you! I'll keep that in mind...
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2011, 11:26
I just took a prep test online. I did what you told me to Samidh, and I saw an improvement in my scores.

I calmed myself down before the test and I felt much more relaxed than I did, previously. I hid the time so that I wouldn't be nervous watching the clock and thinking about how much time I have left. So i think that helped a little bit. I calmly took my time to answer the first ten qs of the Qve. In my results I saw that I answered a couple of qs wrong, toward the end (when i checked the time)- I've got to work on that.

On the verbal part... I answered three consecutive qs wrong... It was reading com. So I know now that I have to improve on that part... Please give me suggestions if you have any.... The sentence correction part didn't have any effect on me (i.e I was confident about those qs so I took it easy). The qs that got me on edge were the critical reasoning qs. Surprisingly, I did not get as many CR qs wrong as I did RC qs... I also noticed that I had to read the RC passages a few times before I was able to answer the qs. What should I do to remedy that part?

All in all, I got a 44 in the quant and a 35 in the verbal. I noticed that i still need to work on avoiding silly mistakes.

Any suggestions anyone would like to give me regarding how I approach the test, I welcome your opinions with open arms.

Thank you!
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2011, 21:17
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mariyea wrote:
I just took a prep test online. I did what you told me to Samidh, and I saw an improvement in my scores.

I calmed myself down before the test and I felt much more relaxed than I did, previously. I hid the time so that I wouldn't be nervous watching the clock and thinking about how much time I have left. So i think that helped a little bit. I calmly took my time to answer the first ten qs of the Qve. In my results I saw that I answered a couple of qs wrong, toward the end (when i checked the time)- I've got to work on that.

On the verbal part... I answered three consecutive qs wrong... It was reading com. So I know now that I have to improve on that part... Please give me suggestions if you have any.... The sentence correction part didn't have any effect on me (i.e I was confident about those qs so I took it easy). The qs that got me on edge were the critical reasoning qs. Surprisingly, I did not get as many CR qs wrong as I did RC qs... I also noticed that I had to read the RC passages a few times before I was able to answer the qs. What should I do to remedy that part?

All in all, I got a 44 in the quant and a 35 in the verbal. I noticed that i still need to work on avoiding silly mistakes.

Any suggestions anyone would like to give me regarding how I approach the test, I welcome your opinions with open arms.

Thank you!



For RCs I can share with you the strategy that I learnt a long time back...

1. Skim through the topic first, and get an idea as to what it is about.
2. Look at the first question.
3. Now, start reading from the beginning carefully, and as soon as you find your answer, STOP.
4. Mark your answer.
5. Now, the next question.
6. Start reading from where you had stopped. If the answer is from the earlier part, you already know that quite well as you have just read it. This way, going through the same parts repeatedly can be avoided.
7. Stop reading when you find your answer and mark.
8. Continue answering following the same technique.


Please remember this is only a technique/strategy that some people follow. It might or might not work for you. But you can give it a try, hopefully you are one of those people who adapt quickly :)


For CRs, well I answered those based mostly on instinct! Just one tip, look out for answers that look correct but contain pieces of information alien/irrelevant to the passage or more importantly contain information that is not the MAIN IDEA of the passage. I could have given you an example but moderators in this forum are strict against using any copyrighted material. Anyways, Whenever you read the subject of the CR, look for the MAIN IDEA idea in the passage. Mostly, its given as conclusions. Sometimes you can even find it in the question asked. Try to choose the answer that is most relevant to that main idea. It will need some practice, but once you get a hang of it, you'll just breeze through!

All the Best!
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2011, 22:22
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practice practice practice...that's the only way to get it right!
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 05:49
samidh wrote:
mariyea wrote:
I just took a prep test online. I did what you told me to Samidh, and I saw an improvement in my scores.

I calmed myself down before the test and I felt much more relaxed than I did, previously. I hid the time so that I wouldn't be nervous watching the clock and thinking about how much time I have left. So i think that helped a little bit. I calmly took my time to answer the first ten qs of the Qve. In my results I saw that I answered a couple of qs wrong, toward the end (when i checked the time)- I've got to work on that.

On the verbal part... I answered three consecutive qs wrong... It was reading com. So I know now that I have to improve on that part... Please give me suggestions if you have any.... The sentence correction part didn't have any effect on me (i.e I was confident about those qs so I took it easy). The qs that got me on edge were the critical reasoning qs. Surprisingly, I did not get as many CR qs wrong as I did RC qs... I also noticed that I had to read the RC passages a few times before I was able to answer the qs. What should I do to remedy that part?

All in all, I got a 44 in the quant and a 35 in the verbal. I noticed that i still need to work on avoiding silly mistakes.

Any suggestions anyone would like to give me regarding how I approach the test, I welcome your opinions with open arms.

Thank you!



For RCs I can share with you the strategy that I learnt a long time back...

1. Skim through the topic first, and get an idea as to what it is about.
2. Look at the first question.
3. Now, start reading from the beginning carefully, and as soon as you find your answer, STOP.
4. Mark your answer.
5. Now, the next question.
6. Start reading from where you had stopped. If the answer is from the earlier part, you already know that quite well as you have just read it. This way, going through the same parts repeatedly can be avoided.
7. Stop reading when you find your answer and mark.
8. Continue answering following the same technique.


Please remember this is only a technique/strategy that some people follow. It might or might not work for you. But you can give it a try, hopefully you are one of those people who adapt quickly :)


For CRs, well I answered those based mostly on instinct! Just one tip, look out for answers that look correct but contain pieces of information alien/irrelevant to the passage or more importantly contain information that is not the MAIN IDEA of the passage. I could have given you an example but moderators in this forum are strict against using any copyrighted material. Anyways, Whenever you read the subject of the CR, look for the MAIN IDEA idea in the passage. Mostly, its given as conclusions. Sometimes you can even find it in the question asked. Try to choose the answer that is most relevant to that main idea. It will need some practice, but once you get a hang of it, you'll just breeze through!

All the Best!


I'll try to do that and see how I do :)... Thanks again!
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 07:33
mbafall2011 wrote:
mariyea wrote:
mbafall2011 wrote:
Depends on whether you are making silly mistakes in say addition or multiplication or in reading and understanding the question. I have trouble with the latter and i noticed that by slowing down when you are reading and not reaching for the pencil immediately i could avoid some more mistakes.

Understand what the question is asking.

Where do you have trouble - in V or Q?


In both areas, actually. Especially in Q.



Try to slow down while reading the question and repeat the question asked twice so you emphasize on that. this is my second round, im preparing again and still havent started taking any tests and i will keep you posted if i find any new techniques. I think its mostly related to your ability to concentrate. With the web and mobile phones and so many distractions i think our minds are now used to not seeing the same thing for more than 2 minutes.
Good luck


Looks like your advice helped my Q has significantly improved :-D
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 02 Feb 2011, 09:58
I took a practice test yesterday... scored 39 in Q and 37 in V. I finished the Q in less than 75 mins, trying to make sure that I have enough time at the end of the test. I know now that I should better manage my time for each q. There were some silly mistakes from not reading the q properly or completing part of the q. In the V, it took me exactly 75 mins to complete it, I found that my RC has significantly improved, I know that I must work on CR (that being my biggest problem). I think I'm going to try taking LSATs today, and then take a GMAT practice CAT tomorrow and see how I do.
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2011, 11:03
I took another test prep this time its Kaplan.... I got a 39 in the Q and a 36 in the V... Starting fresh in the test is absolutely essential! I made several silly mistakes but at least i began the tests strong getting the first ten almost completely right... in Q I got the last two of the first ten incorrect. IN the V I got the second q wrong and the rest of the first ten qs I got correct... I see that I still have to improve my RC skills... but I noticed that I was feeling a bit depleted of energy while I was taking the V. While reading the RC passages I was unable to completely concentrate and it took me more time to read the passages and then of course I could answer the qs well because i had read the passages too many times, while losing focus. I'll try to take another practice test today and see how I do...
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Re: Help: How to avoid silly mistakes   [#permalink] 03 Feb 2011, 11:03
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