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The Error Log

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The Error Log  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 25 Mar 2018, 23:07
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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: http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmatclub-atte ... 85573.html, 2011: http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmatclub-atte ... 20877.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: http://gmatclub.com/forum/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: http://gmatclub.com/forum/timing-strate ... 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:

Latest log that combines Ability and Accuracy
https://gmatclub.com/forum/new-error-lo ... l#p1719508
https://gmatclub.com/forum/new-error-lo ... l#p1888303

Magoosh GMAT Companion for the Official Guide
GMAT Official Guide (2017) Companion
GMAT Official Guide (2016) Companion

An error log is part of the GMAT Toolkit:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-toolkit- ... 82830.html

Error log made by members:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-error-log-86232.html

Built in timer for answering questions in the GC forum:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/time-yourself ... 96251.html

Track using your workbook:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/ucp.php?i=workbook

Previous (now retired) error log thread:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/all-about-the ... 11754.html
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Originally posted by mohater on 22 Mar 2012, 07:14.
Last edited by Gnpth on 25 Mar 2018, 23:07, edited 6 times in total.
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New post 22 Mar 2012, 08:07
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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]

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New post 22 Mar 2012, 20:28
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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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New post 31 May 2012, 10:22
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thanks.. till now havn't maintained one yet. But i am gonna!
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New post 21 Jun 2012, 02:10
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Good Post.. Very Informative.. Thnx
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New post 21 Jun 2012, 13:08
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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....

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New post 15 Aug 2012, 10:11
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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New post 01 Jul 2013, 11:22
Thanks for the helpful post. I'll follow this method when preparing for the GMAT test
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New post 03 Jul 2013, 01:00
Should I review my study log Daily/Weekly?
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New post 22 Aug 2013, 22:43
tytytytytytytytytytytytytytytyty
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New post 08 Nov 2013, 07:53
thanks a lot...specially for the templates
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New post 08 Jul 2014, 11:45
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
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New post 26 Sep 2014, 04:22
thanks. Although I am not yet sure how do I start with it.
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New post 18 Oct 2014, 07:55
cruiser91 wrote:
thanks. Although I am not yet sure how do I start with it.


So I find that error logs are key to the process and allow you to really understand your underlying mistakes. I took the test once and am currently restudying and I have found the GmatFix software to be unbelievable for this. I have used a lot of error logs (MGMAT etc..) and even made my own (through Excel), though the GmatFix software allows you to set blocks of questions (drills), displays them on screen (with a timer) and you can mark answers, as well as if you guessed etc... as you go or even after the fact. I have definitely seen a lot of different software at this point in my studying and I have found this the best for practice, review, and ERROR ANALYSIS of questions...HANDS DOWN.
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New post 20 Nov 2015, 19:41
Is there OG16 error log available on forum with solutions? I have searched the forum. I couldn't find it. Seeking response from the Experts plz.
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New post 20 Nov 2015, 20:24
chiragssharma wrote:
Is there OG16 error log available on forum with solutions? I have searched the forum. I couldn't find it. Seeking response from the Experts plz.


That's a good question. I think we have not actually created one for the OG 2016. Perhaps we should.
I know we have for the OG 2015 here: gmat-club-guide-to-the-gmat-official-guide-11-12-13th-ed-85956.html

Anyone wants to join in on the project? It should be pretty straightforward since not to so many questions have been updated. I am going to be traveling for a week (Thanksgiving) so I won't be able to get to it sooner, but if anyone is able to spend an hour or so to update the error log/OG guide to get it up to 2016 edition, that would be great!
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New post 23 Nov 2015, 23:56
I actually scoffed at the idea of an Error Log when my brother asked me if I had set one up. He totally set one up and got me going on it but I still didn't take it seriously. Now that I am going through and re-reading multiple posts and putting together the picture as I plot out my next two and half months of GMAT prepping, I see the light (that emits from the Error Log).
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New post 24 Nov 2015, 23:40
HI All,

Even if you don't have a formal 'Error Log' document, the process of reviewing questions, categorizing your mistakes and then re-attempting those same questions can make a huge difference in your overall improvement and performance on Test Day.

The potential reasons for getting a question wrong are somewhat limited, and can (in many cases) be solved by taking more/better notes. Sometimes there's a content issue (you didn't know the rule/formula involved) or the question was simply too difficult, but THAT information is useful too - especially if you're consistently getting questions wrong from a specific content area (e.g. Geometry, Pronouns, etc.). Defining those patterns can help you to focus your ongoing studies.

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New post 30 Jun 2017, 23:44
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
HI All,

Even if you don't have a formal 'Error Log' document, the process of reviewing questions, categorizing your mistakes and then re-attempting those same questions can make a huge difference in your overall improvement and performance on Test Day.

The potential reasons for getting a question wrong are somewhat limited, and can (in many cases) be solved by taking more/better notes. Sometimes there's a content issue (you didn't know the rule/formula involved) or the question was simply too difficult, but THAT information is useful too - especially if you're consistently getting questions wrong from a specific content area (e.g. Geometry, Pronouns, etc.). Defining those patterns can help you to focus your ongoing studies.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich



Hi Rich,

I am not too comfortable using a spreadsheet in making an error log. I prefer having a pen paper format. I am making separate logs for different quizzes/practice tests I am taking. I am following the below format.
1. Question no
2. Type of question (Inference/Weaken/Idioms, etc)
3. Why selected choice was wrong
4. Learning from overall question

Post all wrong questions are analyzed, I am noting key learnings from that test. This includes timing and overall approach for that test/quiz.

Kindly let me how I can improve my error log.
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New post 27 Aug 2017, 14:03
Hello
Thank you for your help to all of us.
Could you guide me how can I find error log for official guide 13th edition?
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Re: The Error Log   [#permalink] 27 Aug 2017, 14:03

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