Avoiding these common exam mistakes

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Avoiding these common exam mistakes

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Your child studied so hard for the exams and managed to memorise all the concepts in the textbooks and they did a lot of practice papers and assessment books for their revision. However, when the exam comes, they score lower than expected. 

Why? One of the reasons could be careless mistakes. These careless mistakes can cost your child up to 10 marks or even 1 whole grade. This can be demoralising for your child especially when they studied so hard for the past few months leading up to the exams. 

So what kind of exam mistakes could your child make and how to avoid them? Read below to find out more!  

Not reading the question and answer options carefully

Some questions, especially in Math and Science, are long and contain many words. Most students may not have the time to read and would rather skim through the questions instead. This leads to key information being missed out.

Sometimes the question has the word 'not' in a true or false question (for Science) and the student may have skipped over the word and writing down the wrong answer. 

Hence, your child needs to read the question carefully and highlight important keywords which can aid in answering the question.

Not having neat workings or illegible handwriting

With time pressure in the exam, your child might write faster than usual or they naturally have messy handwriting. This can cost your child marks during the exam as the marker or examiner may not understand your child’s handwriting or your child may not even understand their own handwriting (Especially for math when they write down the wrong calculations due to the messy handwriting in the previous workings) 

Having messy handwriting during math papers may also cause them to copy down the wrong answers. When they check their own papers, they may also have a hard time understanding what they wrote. 

We recommend your child to implement neater handwriting in their daily assignments and revision. So that when the exam comes, it is second nature to them and careless mistakes will be a thing in the past.

Not having the habit of writing proper units and rounding off

Some students tell us that they will remember writing their units and round off their numbers properly during their exams. However, during the paper, they get anxious and there is time pressure. 

This causes students to forget to write as they are too busy completing their questions and they do not have the habit to write them down. Not putting in the units and rounding off the numbers can cost marks in the exam.

So to prevent that, it is best to write proper units during their daily assignments and practices. When the paper comes, they will naturally write it down. 

Failing to plan for essays

During compo writing, both primary and secondary students are given 2 compositions to write. 1 hour 10 minutes for PSLE and 1 hour 50 minutes for O levels. The compositions need to have the right flow from start to finish and this needs planning.

Without planning, students will jump into the essay and start writing and they might change their ideas halfway and this can waste their time cancelling and re-writing again. 

When this happens, less time is given to finish writing the entire composition, students will rush through and the bottom part of the essay will not be well written or there will be a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes! Worse, they might not have the time to check through what they wrote. 

In order to prevent that, take 5 to 10 minutes to plan out what should be written in each section. This gives a clear structure and idea of the whole essay and the bigger picture can be seen.

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Watch the video below for this golden advice from our Math HOD herself!

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