Tips to minimize silly errors?

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Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:47 am

Tips to minimize silly errors?

Postby slowdweller » Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:48 pm

I'm taking the PGRE this Saturday and after doing the practice tests I think the biggest issue for me is careless mistakes. Stuff like messing up some trivial algebra or arithmetic (for example writing 1/2 M R^2 w^2 as the rotational energy of a disk, forgetting that its 1/2 I w^2), misreading/misinterpreting a problem (reading three-dimensional oscillator as 1-d), and most stupidly, thinking one answer and absent mindedly bubbling in another.

For the algebra, I think it'll be most helpful if I write out my steps a bit clearly instead of just doing it in my head. And for numerical ones, not to choose an answer until I get one that pretty close to one of the answers. For the bubbling in the wrong answer I think it should be helpful if I both circle the answer on the test booklet and then bubble it in. The most useful strategy would be to have 20-30 minutes at the end to recheck, but that's not realistic given the time constraint.

Anyone else have such problems with stupid errors? How did you guys deal with it?

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Re: Tips to minimize silly errors?

Postby quizivex » Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:31 am

An oldie question but a goodie question... bumped because of the 2015 PGRE's coming up. :mrgreen:

When I went through the practice tests in 2008, I made numerous silly mistakes on problems I knew how to solve... I was worried such mistakes would kill me on test day but thank goodness I didn't make too many. One strategy I had was to do repeat all problems. When finished a problem, reread the question, think through it again and redo the arithmetic (if any). It doesn't take much time to do this after you've just done it. And it gives you a good chance of catching any mistakes you made the first time.

Of course, the viability of this strategy depends on how quickly you can move through the test. It's best to attempt all 100 questions at least once, so don't repeat questions if it will make you run out of time. You could instead start redoing questions after getting to #100 but it will be harder because the questions won't be as fresh in your mind.

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