Error Log – Importance and Variants

Error Log – Importance and Variants

Error Log – Importance and Variants

Whenever you are about to start your GMAT preparation, be it online GMAT preparation, classroom GMAT course or self-study, almost everyone who has scored well on the GMAT tells you to do the following things:

  1. Solve the official questions
  2. Solve enough GMAT Prep mock CATs
  3. Follow a preparatory course/book/classroom course
  4. Prepare an Error Log

But no one explains you what an Error log is. Almost everyone who prepares for GMAT goes through the decision of whether to make an error log or not. If you ultimately decide to make one, you might go through several possibilities. Following are a few options people come across while researching about an error log:

  • Use a simple notebook as an error log. 
  • Excel sheets.
  • Google docs.
  • Error logs contributed by members on online GMAT preparation forums. (Mostly excel based).
  • Flashcards
  • Notes made by GMAT test takers (Spidey GMAT, Sameer’s notes, Kinjal’s error log, etc.)

Now that you know about the various types of error logs, let us discuss the pros and cons of each of the methods mentioned above. But before that, let’s define what an error log should ideally do:

  1. It should record the lessons learnt/repeated mistakes concisely yet completely.
  2. It should give you an idea about your areas of weakness and scope of improvement.
  3. It should have a systematic method to help you revise concepts in a distributed manner so that you can remember them for a long time.
  4. Its revision should not waste your time or effort at any point.

Next we have listed down the pros and cons of various types of error logs:

1. Simple notebook as an error log:

People usually note down their learning from the books they read or questions they solve.

Pros:

  1. Actually writing something that you’ve learnt helps in remembering that for a longer time.
  2. You can be as specific or as detailed as you wish about what you have learnt.
  3. You usually end up with concise notes.

Cons:

  1. Revision from your handwritten notes is cumbersome.
  2. Unless you really set an efficient system to revise a concept you have mastered or are yet to master, a lot of times you end up re-reading what you have already mastered, resulting in a waste of effort and time.
  3. It is cumbersome to add complete questions in error log.

 

2. Excel Sheet based error logs:

Pros:

  1. It is easier to organize the error log.
  2. Easier to look at the big picture.
  3. Easier to identify weaknesses if they are repetitive in nature.

Cons:

  1. Revising the notes can be cumbersome.
  2. Unless you really set an efficient system to revise a concept you have mastered or are yet to master, a lot of times you end up re-reading what you have already mastered, resulting in a waste of effort and time.
  3. It is cumbersome to add complete questions in error log.

 

3. Google Doc/ MS word doc

Pros:

  1. Actually writing something that you’ve learnt helps in remembering concepts for a longer time.
  2. You can be specific about what you have learnt.
  3. You usually end up with concise notes.

Cons:

  1. Revision from word docs is cumbersome compared to revision from your handwritten notes.
  2. Unless you really set an efficient system to revise a concept you have mastered or are yet to master, a lot of times you end up re-reading what you have already mastered, resulting in a waste of effort and time.
  3. It is cumbersome to add complete questions in error log.

4. Error logs contributed by the members on online GMAT Preparation forums:

The logs compiled by various students would come under one of the above categories. If you are using a log made by someone else, make sure that you understand all the fields and, if needed, add your own field to the log.

 

5. Flashcards

Flashcards technique is a proven method to learn or revise a subject effectively. The advantage of flashcards is that it forces you to recall information from the memory and thereby strengthening neural connections in your brain and enhancing your learning. Following are a few ways one can use flashcards technique:

1) Paper based flashcards: You can write a keyword on one side of the page and a key on the other side of the page. These can be cumbersome as you may have to make a lot of flashcards for the concepts you learn. Advantage is that writing something down on paper strengthens your learnings.

2) Flashcard apps: These are becoming popular because of the several advantages they offer. Some of the popular apps to explore are Ankidroidcram, and quizlet. They are especially good for revising concepts as you can really automate your revision time. For instance, Ankidroid gives you space repetition option so that in case you learn something new today, this app will automatically remind you to go over the flashcards every few days.

 

6. Notes made by GMAT test takers (Spidey GMAT, Sameer’s notes, Kinjal’s error log etc)

These might seem to you as the ultimate weapon in your arsenal. After all, these are the notes from the people who have scored way too high on the GMAT. But nothing comes easy in this world. However enticing these may seem, use these notes as your secondary option. You can go over such ready-made options once and then incorporate in your error log anything that you find worthy of it.. But don’t treat these error logs as your primary option.

Now that you know how to aid your preparation with an Error Log, be it online GMAT preparation or self-study, make sure that you make one. From the above mentioned techniques, you can choose the format that works best for you. Once you have an error log in place and have sufficient content in it, revise it before every study session. And finally pay special attention to it in the last few days before your GMAT.

All the best!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *