Common GRE Mistakes and how to avoid them


The GRE is more a test of skills and reasoning rather than crammed up subject matter. You need to be fully aware of the content while answering GRE questions in any of its tests. Under a given time crunch, and amidst the rush to attempt all the questions correctly, students become prone to making silly mistakes. These mistakes for simple questions can cause you a loss of marks in your total score.

Here are some common GRE mistakes that students often make in the exam. Alongside each mistake, we have suggested a tip to avoid that mistake.

  • Do not be overconfident– Students often make the mistake of taking the GRE questions lightly. Some seemingly easy questions may have hidden meanings. Students often miss those critical points and land up giving incorrect or incomplete answers.

Tip: Read the questions thoroughly and again and again, until you understand its intent. Even if you know something thoroughly, read it properly.

  • Calculator Misuse- The use of a calculator is permitted in a GRE exam, but the facility most likely results in the students not thinking enough over a question. You will read less and punch in an incorrect number in the calculator, to get an incorrect answer.

Tip: Learn to practice mathematical questions without the calculator when you are preparing for the exam. Try to use estimation techniques and mental math for quick solutions.

  • Not reading the Verbal reasoning passage properly- Verbal reasoning is very different from other sections. You need to fully understand the passage as well as the questions asked on that before you attempt them. It is not always necessary to first read the whole passage and then answer the questions. This wastes time. Moreover, all questions may not be based on the whole passage.

Tip:  Do a selective reading of the passage first and mark the important points. Read the questions and revisit the passage as you find the answers to the questions.

·         Not working on the Analytical Writing Assessment section properly- The AWA or the Analytical Writing Assessment section of the GRE is a significant one. Most students rush through this section in a hurry to finish fast and often result in skipping useful information. Starting the essay without preparation will result in scattered ideas and incomplete points.

Tip: The essay should be prepared first before you start to attempt it. Prepare a rough outline and jot down the important points in proper order. Focus on pre-writing will help you collect your ideas in one place.

  • Getting lost in a long question- Some questions in the GRE consist of many words that make the question very long to read and understand. While reading such questions, students often get caught up in the words and the necessary points are missed out. This generally happens in the case of word problems. Such questions look complicated but are not.

Tip: Read the question carefully and make a mental note of the points as you read.  Focus on the question and accordingly filter out the data from it.

Twisted questions-   Some questions in the GRE quantitative analysis paper come in a twisted form. Instead of asking the value directly, it might ask for the same value as a percentage or a proportion of some other value. Such questions are asked in a tricky way and the actual quantity asked is often hidden between the lines.

Tip: Read such questions very carefully. Sometimes, these questions look like asking different things as many times as you read them. Read, and re-read them, till you get a clear idea about the question is asking.

These are some common mistakes that students tend to make in haste. Identify them and learn to avoid them to get a good score in your GRE. To know more about how to calculate GRE score at

Leonard Moore
Leonard Moore mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas in creating informative articles. His focus is on innovation in technology and creativity.

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