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The Error Log

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The Error Log [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2012, 06:14
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Error Log:

Preface:


One of the GMAC's primary goals with the GMAT is the provide a solid means of stratifying students for graduate schools. As seen in the TestPrep summits (2009: gmatclub-attends-gmac-test-prep-summit-85573.html, 2011: gmatclub-attends-2011-gmac-test-prep-summit-nyc-120877.html), the GMAC indicated it has very rigorous goals to keeping the test valid and useful for the graduate admission committees. As such, one of GMAC's goals is maintain normal distribution for test scores as much as possible, as this is a pretty good fit of reality. What this means for you the test taker: the test is designed to stratify test takers, and by all means, it does a very good job at this. What we, as test takers, must do is figure out WHY we're in a certain strata and come up with a plan to get out. Enter the Error Log.


What is an error log:


An error log is a continuous method of analyzing practice problems (regardless of the source, practice tests or problem sets) to identify the WHY aspect of answering problems incorrectly. There is no single right or wrong format for the error log. Some people like using detailed spreadsheets (see examples here: gmat-error-log-86232.html), while others, such as myself, simply used a paper, a pen and a legend for marking and tracking certain answers. Here's an example of what I would mark:

Marking before checking answers:
  • If I had no idea and guessed on a problem
  • If I was able to narrow it down but wasn't sure what remaining answer to select
  • If I spent too much time on a problem

Marking after checking answers:
  • Incorrect
  • Follow up marking on the above (dumb luck for complete guessing, narrow down and selected correct answer)

Also, when doing practice problems, I would do them in blocks and keep track of time. This way I kept track of my average time for each problem type/section, ensuring I would always be on track to finish the test in the allotted time.


Why is an error log important:


It's very easy to simply read a solution and say "oh I get it", but are unable to apply the concept on differently worded problems. This is where the error log is key. It helps you identify the WHY aspect of either gravitating to incorrect answers or not knowing how to approach a question. Given the restrictive time of the test, success can be achieved only through sufficient knowledge of the content AND a practical approach to timing. For approaches and strategies on timing see here: timing-strategies-on-the-gmat-80176.html

This goes back to the GMAC's desire to stratify test takers to provide some form of standard differentiation for admission committees. While some applicants might have a problem with standardized tests as a concept, this provides a flat way of comparing applicants. It's used to determine if a candidate is "on the table" for consideration, a differentiating factor among candidates who look the same and finally as a factor for awarding money to applicants.

Another reason an error log is pivotal to GMAT success: there is a limited quantity of real quality questions (namely: GMAC content). The Prep companies (Veritas, MGMAT. Kaplan, Princeton, Manhattan Review, etc.) spend a lot of money making content, and much of it is very high quality. That being said, the GMAC content is still best. By keeping an error log and completing the needed analysis, you will take full advantage of each and every question. There is also a factor of diminishing returns in re-reading content and re-doing problems, as you will remember parts and this will give you inflated results.


An error log is not simply right/wrong:


Many people report confusion after taking a practice test, stating I missed the same number on verbal and math and score much better by percentile in one section over another. Here on GMATClub, we remind folks over and over: strike rate alone is meaningless. You must consider strike rate AND problem difficulty to paint a more accurate picture on your results. A test taker can miss 50% of the problems on the test and score a 700+ while another test taker can miss 50% of the problems and score a 550.

If your error log is only tracking right/wrong and no analysis is done to identify the WHY aspect, you will not benefit. Time and time again, folks report reading books, doing practice problems and then seeing no progress on practice tests or improvement between real test sittings. Again: the GMAT is designed to stratify test takers and does quite well at that. Your job is to figure out why you're in a certain strata and your error log is the key to getting to the next strata.


Some error logs available on GMATClub:

An error log is part of the GMAT Toolkit:
gmat-toolkit-iphone-ipod-ipad-application-82830.html

Error log made by members:
gmat-error-log-86232.html

Built in timer for answering questions in the GC forum:
time-yourself-with-a-new-gmat-club-timer-v-96251.html

Track using your workbook:
ucp.php?i=workbook

Previous (now retired) error log thread:
all-about-the-error-log-11754.html
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Re: The Error Log [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2012, 07:07
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Agree.

I remember, bb prepared a PDF document that has these soundbytes from GMAT Clubbers on what they wish they knew when they started prepping for the GMAT. I am going to tell you that I wish I knew this concept of error log when I started prepping! I don't care what you call it - an idea, a tool or a strategy - but you must create an error log from the day you solve your first problem. Even before you decide what textbooks or materials you want to follow, you must have your error log template ready.
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Re: The Error Log [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2012, 19:28
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Great description and collection of resources. I'm using an error log and it has proved to be useful.
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Re: The Error Log [#permalink] New post 31 May 2012, 09:22
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thanks.. till now havn't maintained one yet. But i am gonna!
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Re: The Error Log [#permalink] New post 21 Jun 2012, 01:10
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Good Post.. Very Informative.. Thnx
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Re: The Error Log [#permalink] New post 21 Jun 2012, 11:13
Thanks for the templates.
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Re: The Error Log [#permalink] New post 21 Jun 2012, 12:08
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i saw the various error logs provided above but i m not able to interpret the usage....i am not ablt to use these error logs....m not gud with spreadsheets...never used it.....so can anyone explain the functionality like how to use this error log file for my use.....i need kind of a tutorial....

regards,
mudit
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Re: The Error Log [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2012, 09:11
This has been very helpful. I'm leaning toward using the awesome error log. Does anyone know where I can find a version of the log that has been adapted to include the Integrated Reasoning section? That would be ideal. If that is not available, does anyone know if there is a separate log available for the Integrated Reasoning?
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Re: The Error Log [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2013, 10:22
Thanks for the helpful post. I'll follow this method when preparing for the GMAT test
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Re: The Error Log [#permalink] New post 03 Jul 2013, 00:00
Should I review my study log Daily/Weekly?
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Re: The Error Log [#permalink] New post 22 Aug 2013, 21:43
tytytytytytytytytytytytytytytyty
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Re: The Error Log [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2013, 16:34
Thank you so much for sharing!
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Re: The Error Log [#permalink] New post 08 Nov 2013, 06:53
thanks a lot...specially for the templates
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Re: The Error Log [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2014, 10:45
Hi, can you please tell me how to review the error log?
I mean once we have started maintaining it do we just go through it or we memorize areas where we went wrong so that when a similar questions comes we are prepared for it
Re: The Error Log   [#permalink] 08 Jul 2014, 10:45
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