Your child seems to understand every maths concept taught at school and his/her maths tuition classes. Yet, his/her exam results often do not reflect this aptitude. In these instances, your child might be dealing with the dreaded silent killer we call: careless mistakes.
It is not surprising to find that many students in Singapore are prone to careless mistakes in their maths tests despite excelling at their schoolwork. The high-pressure environment generated by exams can ensnare even the best students.
Fortunately, there are ways to minimise careless mistakes during a maths exam. Reducing these costly errors could be the difference between a pass and a fail or obtaining an A grade. Read on to learn how to help your child avoid careless mistakes during his/her maths tests.
Tip #1: Practice, practice, and more practice
There is a reason why we often say, “practice makes perfect”. Through repetition, your child starts to familiarise himself/herself with the concepts taught in his/her maths classes. Once he/she gets better at solving a maths problem, it increases his/her odds of being successful at it during an exam.
An excellent way to achieve this is to provide your child with various maths questions to practise. When your child undergoes periodic assessments, he/she can identify the potential areas where he/she keeps making mistakes and learn to avoid them during an exam.
This is where maths tuition can supplement your child’s learning. Maths tutors can provide your child with plenty of practice materials and are well-versed in the curriculum. They can impart different techniques to tackle complicated maths problems and provide your child with tips to avoid careless mistakes.
Tip #2: Pay close attention to the questions
When our tutors reviewed their students’ homework, they discovered that the numerous careless mistakes that crop up are frequently attributed to a misunderstanding of the maths problem. Often, students will scan the questions quickly before tackling the problem. However, such actions can cause one to miss out on the keywords related to the question.
To prevent such occurrences, our tutors often advise the students attending our maths tuition classes to analyse each question thoroughly and highlight any keywords they identified. This way, they minimise conceptual errors. For example, “I share the pizza with my three colleagues” has a different meaning from “I share the pizza amongst my three colleagues”. Misinterpreting the question could lead to the wrong calculation process.
Tip #3: Advise your child to check their work regularly
We understand that students often feel pressed for time when taking their maths exams. As a result, they rush to work through the questions as quickly as possible. But this process only increases the chances of committing a mistake. Therefore, our tutors always advise the students attending their maths tuition lessons to check their work regularly after completing each question. And you should advise your child to do that too!
A common piece of advice our tutors share with students in their maths tuition classes is to substitute the final answer back into the maths problem or equation to see if it aligns with the scenario given. Another helpful tip is to ensure your child presents the correct unit of measurement stated in the question. If the maths problem requires students to convert kilometres to metres, failing to do so will cost your child precious exam marks.
Tip #4: Understand the type of errors your child is making
Checking his/her work is ineffective if your child does not realise the type of errors he/she commits during exams. The careless mistakes that students commit can generally be sorted into the following categories – transfer errors, calculation errors, unit errors, presentation errors, conceptual errors, and reading the questions wrongly.
Only by understanding what led to these careless mistakes can your child learn to eradicate them during his/her exams. Our tutors often go through students’ exam papers with them during their maths tuition classes to help them learn from their mistakes. And this is something you should consider doing with your child whenever he/she receives his/her maths paper from his/her teacher.
At the end of the day, your child’s maths knowledge is only part of the equation needed to obtain good grades. His/her school and maths tuition centre can prepare him/her well. But during the exam, he/she still need to be diligent in checking his/her work to ensure it is error-free. And you have a crucial part to play in implementing these tips into your child’s daily maths routine. Eventually, identifying and remedying careless mistakes will become second nature to your child.
If you are looking to help your child plug the gaps in his/her mathematical knowledge, you can enrol him/her in our maths tuition centre in Singapore. At Learning Voyage, our tutors have coached numerous students and helped them achieve a distinction in maths. As a result, they are confident in helping your child too! Do not hesitate to contact us today to enquire about our class schedules.