# Do I Need a GMAT Error Log?

by Target Test Prep, Jun 23, 2021

GMAT students ask me all the time whether they need to use an error log for their GMAT prep, and my answer is, invariably, YES! However, I also always make sure that my students understand that there is a right way and a wrong way to use GMAT error logs. If you use a GMAT error log the right way, it can help make your GMAT studying incredibly focused, efficient, and effective. If you use an error log the wrong way, it can have the opposite effect, adding time, hassle, and even confusion to your studying.

In this article, we’ll look at why error logs are an important part of GMAT prep, what an error log should include, how to properly use your GMAT error log, and some pitfalls to avoid so that your error log works for you, not against you.

First, let’s discuss what exactly an error log is.

What is an Error Log?

At the most basic level, an error log is a record of all of the practice questions you answer incorrectly and the specific mistakes you made that led you to those wrong answers.

For example, say you’ve finished learning about the topic of Number Properties in GMAT Quant, and you’re moving on to practicing questions on that topic. After doing a problem set of, say, 15 practice problems on Number Properties, you would evaluate the questions you answered incorrectly and add information about those errors to your log.

So, let’s say you answered 4 questions incorrectly. Ideally, your error log would contain a record of what the exact question was, the topic covered in the question (in this case, Number Properties), how long you took to answer the question, the wrong answer you chose, and the reason why you chose that answer. If, for example, you got a question wrong on remainders, you would record whether you did so because you made a careless mistake, didn’t properly apply the remainder formula, didn’t understand a concept in the question, etc. A really robust error log will also organize your data in an easy-to-read format and contain key stats such as how often you make each type of error.

Not all error logs are organized the same way or contain the same features, and certainly, “homemade” error logs can be as simple or as complex as the user decides to make it. Now, I’ll discuss shortly the pros and cons of making your own error log vs. using one designed by a GMAT course. For now, the important thing to note is that error logs come in all shapes and sizes, and some are far more useful than others.

Before we get into what to avoid when it comes to error logs, let’s look at the value that a good error log can provide.

The Importance of a GMAT Error Log

Given all of the data that a good GMAT error log can contain, an error log can certainly be a powerful weapon in your GMAT arsenal. If used correctly, your error log can help you pinpoint weak areas you need to focus on, show you your most common errors, reveal patterns in the way you answer questions, and provide valuable information about faulty strategies you may be using.