GRE Snacks 11 – How to avoid careless errors on the GRE

Tyler York
GRE Snacks

The difference between a good GRE score and a great score? It can literally be just getting one question right or wrong. For many high performing test takers, the only thing standing in between them and a great GRE score is carelessness – specifically the type of careless errors that crop up on a 3+ hour, highly stressful exam. Orion shares his strategies for eliminating careless errors in this episode.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive course to maximize your score on the GRE exam, check out Achievable’s GRE course that was authored by Orion.

GRE Snacks 11 – How to avoid careless errors on the GRE transcript:

 Welcome to GRE snacks snackin full episodes about the GRE exam and graduate school admissions Tyler founder of achievable.
 Great, let's get started.
 Today we're going to talk about carelessness the common types of carelessness with relation to the GRE and how to correct these mistakes by Elvis concrete strategies from yours, truly, right?
 Alright, let's talk about kahless. This is such an important consideration that really gets almost no play time in any other testro company. So let's start with this. There's basically three ways that a student can make a mistake in the GRE.
 First for lack of better words ignorance. You just don't know the equation. You don't understand what that word means. You don't get the core concept. You don't know. These are actually the easiest problems to fix you. Just throw some knowledge Adam Bloom solves the problem.
 Second Use that they take too long, you know how to solve them but it takes you to know three or four minutes to solve if you can't do it in 90 seconds or less you kind of can't do it. So this is not a problem with knowledge. You understand the concept that you don't have a clever strategy or technique to get to the solution more efficiently and directly. So that's we're kind of the sexy test prep hacks come in.
 But then there's a third type of Errors. What's the you know, the Core Concepts did the sexy strategy but you still got the question wrong based on something that has nothing to do with the actual core concept of the problem. That's a careless. This could be like, I forgot the negative sign or I misread that word in the question. The fact of the matter is if you take your test prep to the nth degree if he's studying if you pursue it long enough and basically all your errors will eventually become careless errors because you'll know how to solve all the problems. So carelessness is inevitable and it becomes a bigger problem the further you are down your test prep Road.
 And it's not possible to enter into the top percent out of the test until you learn how to mitigate your own carelessness the difference between a person you screen a low and 60s and a high 160 is not their knowledge base is their ability to consistently managed and mitigate the Run Tendencies towards careless hardest things to change because what we're talking about is a person's unconscious Behavior as a therapist. I can tell you to really hard to change people's behavior.
 So people are going to make mistakes because their human but they're also not going to make mistakes randomly because they're human or if you know, this was actually very very difficult for humans to be ran over a long enough timeline. They have the exhibit patterning that even they're not aware of that's why we usually the decay of radioactive isotopes and all kinds of computers to humans can't do it. So people are going to make Careless Whisper. Conduit randomly just be aware of the larger patterns that their carelessness falls into.
 So one thing that's really really important to do I encourage you to see this is really on their tests are processes passports to keep an error log, every question get wrong categorize it as either ignorance error is a deviation error, which means that specifically as possible. What was the exact manifestation of carelessness. I copied the number down wrong did the mental math incorrect? I
 Forgot the negative sign I didn't carry the one Etc. I skipped and I didn't come back. I miss read my own handwriting over time. You'll begin to see those careless errors. Basically collect into informal clusters in the vast majority bassoon. The carelessness is usually like three or four or five different common tropes that make sense. You can develop something called a Fail-Safe. The failsafe is an objective behavior that should correct the carelessness even in the absence of awareness. I call it objective because it needs to be something that I have an outside Observer can tell whether you're doing or not
 What is not an objective behavior is saying something like or I'll remember not to do that next time. We're all just be more mindful moving forward. Those things don't work. If they worked they would have solved the problem by now. We have to actually objectively change our behavior in an over concrete way. We need to change it away. That should prevent the callousness. Even if we're not paying attention. Does that make sense? Yeah. Okay cool and what generally happens as you pursue your test prep is you develop what I call a constellation of fail-safes. There's going to be 5 to 10 Micro behaviors.
 5 to 10 Micro behaviors that represent the identified solutions to a specific students manifested carelessness the bad student then uses on every single problem whether he or she believes is necessary or not for the rest of their GRE career.
 Yes you is that you have to use them whether you think you need to or not? Because if we're honest, we're not a good judge of whether we need to use a careless this strategy or feels a strategy if we knew it would kind of like this whole point of sales Saints would be redundant than unnecessary. The point is that we don't know we were making careless mistake mistake do everything right. We just remember to use are fail-safes in the fail-safes will catch it.
 Yes, so I think it would be really helpful as if you could walk through like an example of carelessness, like maybe your kind of going too fast you misread the problem or something like that and examples of the Fail-Safe associated with it cuz it's kind of hard to picture in the abstract a little bit Yeah common example of carelessness just like skip over the small but usually important word that your matically influences the correct answer right or you don't pay enough attention to like none vs. Anders things like that. I'm trying to come to think of a specific example, but like there'll be thing for it's like what's it if it's like, you know, you're you're choosing between this and this and zero or something like that, but you forget the final part.
 So let's let's limit the problem to careless reading errors because if we say the problem is not paying attention, that's a much harder problem to fix and it's not something that we can change with an overt Behavior. I can see if you're really paying attention.
 I have three fail-safes that I use that if I use them on every single problem completely mitigate my own personal manifestation can eat or not.
 I'm really on the first of all is I use a tracer a tracer is either the end of my pain or maybe the tip of my finger. It's actually traces underneath all of the language in the question. I do this because
 our eyes actually jump around all the time when we're reading to something called saccadic eye movement. It kind of makes sense when we're reading content reforming this Gestalt impression in our memory are working memory about what's happening, but we have to read the information linearly. So your eyes are actually jumping around dozens of times when you're reading a sentence like what's the subject that goes with this is what the object of the preposition for tapping so quickly that you don't even notice that it's happening. The fact of the matter is your eyes are jumping around all the time. You're not reading every word. You're definitely not reading every letter of every word. You're actually hallucinating the vast majority of the Tracer does is it just increases the likelihood that at least your eyes will pass over every single word in that sentence. Okay, and of course if your I-Pass over it's a much greater chance that that word that semantic concept is going to get into your working memory by where it belongs.
 Is I read the question out loud.
 This is something I even did when I was in the testing centers back in the day, but you can definitely do it when you're at your at home Administration. I call it sub-vocal self-talk. So you don't you want to talk the question out loud, but obviously not with enough volume and it's going to disturb anybody else in the room if you're taking it in a testing center. So what is this a really important things time? It slows the process down to the rate of speech at a postal rate of thought the rate of thought is like lightning it can be off here and over there and can be very easily distracted and it can Veer off course in a fraction of them and it's actually a very easily lose your track and sometimes that results in taking the long way around on many problems solving the questions out loud free speech is a much more Humane Pace to understand Concepts. It's actually what humans have evolved doing writing team much much later. We evolved listening and
 Skills before reading and writing skills. So it's a much more Humane Pace to understand the concept of the question. It also creates basically this Committee of your senses. If you're sitting there reading the questions violently than the question just coming into your eyes and your eyes are actually the most unreliable of your main senses. But if you read out loud, you're not taking that problem in your eyes your ears and kinesthetically through your mouth tongue and and teeth in so your like feeling the question with three different senses and it's going to be much much much less likely that you're going to miss something in three senses that in just one having multiple senses. Look at a question increases the likelihood for cognitive dissonance to happen, which is what we want. This is that feeling of something didn't really match up your reading question out loud to get that feeling. It's going to call your attention to look more closely.
 Don't something was weird about this that make sense for mitigating careless reading errors is continuous solving that if you take the course will be the continuous solving is one of our 3 quantitative. It's designed to limit a student's Focus to the smallest next Quantum of mass. We don't want to read the question holistically. The problem comes when were trying to keep six seven eight. Nine steps are moving pieces in our working memory. Any one time we do that it's very easy for one thing to change and for us to not realize it the goal is to have our full and undivided attention that is being given to the smallest next Quantum of math. We can still mess that up but it's much less likely that we're going to mess that up and if we're really trying to keep five six seven eight things in our working memory one time.
 Two by breaking the problem down the smallest next question of math and getting that are thrown divided attention were much less likely to make Ellis reading yours. So using a tracer sub buckle self-talk and continuous solving you do that religiously on every problem. You should not experienced any more Killers reading yours. Yeah, and that's big that's probably the largest chunk of careless errors. It's definitely the number one most common carelessness manifestation that I see when I work with my students and one thing to keep in mind final thought is that carelessness is never a problem that you solve it's never in your rearview mirror when you think you solved carelessness once and for all that when it comes in from some unseen quartering messing with you, but if you're like
 Steering a straight in the face. If your understanding that carelessness is something that you have to mitigate on every step of every problem the rest of your GRE career. It's much less likely to exert the shadow effect on your overall performance if you're aware of it and you keep it in your direct line site.
 That's what I got for you. That's great.
 Fantastic, will this is GRE snacks hosted by Orion from StellarGRE and Tyler from achievable and Orion have partnered to build a great GRE course, you can try it for free at and use the code podcast to get 10% off at checkout.
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