Here I list several strategies that can help you curb careless mistakes during the GRE test:
- Read Carefully: Read the question very carefully and read it several times. On the difficult problems, you will not grasp the entire question on one reading. You may have to read it two or three times, or more. In general, harder questions require several readings.
- Stay organized: Do all of your scratch work in a systematic manner. I do the problems in a horizontal fashion, meaning I use a horizontal line to separate successive problems.
- Write legibly: Your work should be clear enough that you can read your own handwriting. This is helpful in situations when you end up with an answer that is not in one of the answer choices. This often happens when one makes a careless mistake. To spot your mistake it helps if your work is written in a clear and legible manner.
- Don’t Overrely on the Calculator: Only one or two problems in the GRE test truly require the use of a calculator. The rest are more efficient without the use of the calculator. Also, if you do all your work on the paper it is easier to go back and spot your mistakes, unlike steps done with a calculator.
- Redraw diagrams: On Geometry problems you should be prepared to redraw figures, this will also help you to digest the problem and possibly see a way to solve the problem.
- Slow Down: Don’t rush off to attack the problem immediately and don’t change the problem to what you think it is asking, be careful about that temptation.
- Reread the question at the end: Once you have completed the problem, reread the question to make sure you are answering what the question is asking for. For example, if you defined a variable x to solve the problem, check to make sure the question is not asking for the value of x-2.