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How to Reduce Silly Errors on GRE Quant

GRE Silly Mistakes

Whenever you review your GRE test and categorize a mistake as “careless error”, you think that you can’t help it. Well you can! You can narrow down the cause of careless errors in GRE to a few habits. If you improve on these habits your “careless errors” will definitely go down. If you are aiming to achieve a 160 + in each section then definitely you will have to be disciplined no matter how talented you are.

Let us see the habits which will help you reduce the so called silly and unavoidable errors. 

Scratch Paper

You won’t believe this, majority of careless errors happen because of unorganized scratch paper work. Keeping the scratch paper organized requires practice and some techniques which are part of  the Crackverbal GRE course.

An ideal scratch paper should look like this:



There are lot of benefits to keeping the scratch paper organized; for example, it allows you to come back to a half attempted question and start from the point you left it at. You don’t make stupid calculation or algebra errors which you would have otherwise.


Read the Question Layerfully


Most of the GRE questions are framed in such a way that you miss the most important information if you read the question in a hurry. You have to identify a lot of things in a question like what is given, what is asked, etc. The information that you require to solve the question is coded with layers of extra information and you have to break it down.


Don’t Skip Steps


Especially in the GRE Math section students have the tendency to skip simple steps. From 4x2 = 32, they would straight away write the value of x in their scratch paper. While skipping steps, we make so many careless errors that hamper our score.

It is always advisable to write the step down in your scratch paper no matter how easy it is. It allows you to review quickly if you have made any mistake.


Eat in Pieces


Ever eaten a Subway sandwich? If yes then how do you eat it? Bite by bite right? So if you see a wordy math question then take a breath and do the question in pieces.

It is very important that you read the first sentence and convert the English to Mathish ( we just made that up 🙂 ) and then proceed further. This will again help you to not to make any careless error.


It’s Logic, Not Math


People who are good at Math are the ones who get most affected by standardized testing because they tend to think that GRE or any other standardized test will test math. It is always advisable to approach the question logically rather than mathematically. So graphs, logarithms won’t help much in GRE.

Always try to find simpler solutions to the question and you will be surprised to see that each question has a simple solution and does not require any advanced concept at all. After all it is STANDARDised testing.


Test Features


There are various test features which help you in NOT making careless errors. For example the review button for every section. Before you submit a section make sure that you have clicked the review button and checked whether you have answered all the questions or not.

Sometimes in a double click we miss a question altogether. The top bar looks like the following.



Don’t forget that you have a calculator to simplify calculations – that doesn’t mean you would start doing simple arithmetic calculations like 20 times 3 on a calculator. Don’t click the Help button it won’t give you the answer 🙂


After developing these habits you would see a great reduction in silly errors, however they won’t count to zero as we are humans and are bound to make mistakes.

Best of Luck!


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