Tips for Preventing Careless Errors on Exams

Get Enough Sleep

This is a simple but important tip that we cannot emphasize enough. Get enough sleep the night before your big exam. If you are tired and bleary-eyed while writing a test, you are much more likely to misread a question, fill in the wrong answer bubble accidentally, and make other careless mistakes because you won’t be able to focus properly if you’re running on too little sleep. Instead of staying up late cramming the night before, set a schedule that gives you ample time to study in the days leading up to the exam and stick to it. This way you’ll feel prepared enough that you can comfortably get a full 8 hours of sleep the night before your exam.

Read Each Question Carefully

Read each question carefully and thoroughly before you answer. When you are nervous about time constraints, it is easy to try to just skim questions and answer them quickly based on that, but you are much more likely to misread the question and answer it incorrectly when you do this. Focus on one question at a time and read the whole thing before you start answering.

Come Up With an Answer Before Looking at the Choices

For multiple choice questions, the best way to stop yourself getting tripped up by confusing choice options is to read the question, think about what you think the correct answer is, and then look at the answer choices. If the answer that you already came up with is an option, that is likely the correct answer. If you just read the options without first thinking about what you think the correct answer should be, you are more likely to pick something incorrect because you are not fully thinking through the question.

Cross Out Answers as You Eliminate Them

A common careless mistake with multiple choice questions is accidentally choosing the answer you knew was wrong–for example, putting “B” when you meant to put “A.” A good way to avoid this is to physically cross out the answers you’ve eliminated in your test booklet. This way, when you go to fill in your answer sheet with the letter that corresponds to your answer, all of the wrong answers will be crossed out and it will be harder to mix them up.

Work Through Exam Anxiety

Another common reason for making mistakes on exams is because many people find themselves becoming extremely nervous or anxious as soon as they are faced with an exam. Questions you normally know the answer to may seem daunting when you are dealing with them in a time-sensitive, high-pressure context and you will find yourself panicking and forgetting information that you were confident about earlier the same day. Sound familiar? Language Power’s education consultants are here to help you learn tactical thinking, a skill that will help you work through your exam anxiety and feel confident and relaxed during even the most challenging tests.

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