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Avoiding Careless Mistakes While Taking Your Physics Tests

By May 29, 2021October 13th, 2021A Level Physics, O Level Physics, Physics Exam

All of us have had the experience of taking an exam, and recognising the question type as one we have done before, but ultimately losing marks due to our careless mistakes.

Even during our daily work, many students are plauged by careless mistakes. Can you recall the number of times you have tried doing a simple question, only to keep getting it wrong because of a small error in your working somewhere? Sometimes, this leads us to feel doubtful of our own abilities (even when we know we can do it).  We then start to question if we have a fundamental flaw in our understanding of Physics theories as we are not able to identify the issue when the error is well hidden as the working gets more and more complicated.

It will definitely be helpful for students to employ a Physics tutor or sign up for a Physics tuition class as the Physics tutor can guide students on how to avoid negligent errors and in doing so, alleviate the frustrations of learning and scoring well for a Physics examination.

(a) Consistency in Physics practice questions

The idea is quite straightforward. In any subjects, it is all about putting in the hours and attempting questions over and over again to get the hang of the steps and workings needed. This idea is particularly accurate for any science electives such as Physics. Consistency is achieved as students get a better grasp of how to answer questions and then repeatedly solve similar questions so that the idea is ingrained in one’s head. This helps students to handle complicated concepts such as Electromagnetism, Electricity, Circuits and so on. Of course, there are still bound to be some carelessness while attempting questions but this can be minimised greatly as one can also quickly find out where the careless mistakes are made.

(b) Acquire an intuitive acumen of how the answers for Physics questions will roughly look like

If the derived answer for a particular question works out to 3m for an average human being, there is something fundamentally wrong with it. Examination questions are usually created with the eventual solution in mind already, and it has to have some level of practicality in order to steer clear of any confusion arising. This goes back to the previous point about consistency where more practice translates to a greater exposure to a broad selection of possible questions and by seeing the model workings or answers along the way, students will have a rough sense that the answers will not deviate too much from the limits. Some workings and the eventual answers just do not make any sense.

(c) Inculcating a routine of going through your Physics assignments/practice/studies

As there is a time limit to any examinations, students may feel the need to rush through the papers upon receiving them. Beating the clock is one thing, but at the expense of making careless mistakes is another. One way to manage this is to always scan through and backtrack the workings that you have written if you find that something is amiss instead of blindly just continuing on. Another way to avoid losing marks due to negligence is to browse through the answer sheet provided and ensure that all questions have already been answered.  As with any activities, the only way to avoid forgetting to do the above steps is to begin doing so in your normal practice or assignments. This is to develop a routine that will subconsciously be ingrained in oneself when it comes to actual Physics exams.

(d) Time management in both learning and exams

One aspect that students tend to neglect but is significantly important to score well in Physics exams is the concept of time management. Having proper planning and allocation of a set amount of time for each question is important so that students do not have to rush through the examination in order to complete the paper on time. Depending on the nature of the questions, a different amount of time will be set aside. For example, MCQ questions tend to be easier as students just have to confirm the answer which is provided as one of the options and therefore, less time will be spent on that section. For open ended questions, students will need to write down the answers carefully and make sure that the keywords are being used correctly, therefore more time will have to be spent there.

(e) Being meticulous helps while learning Physics

It may sound simple on paper but so sorely lacking in many students. Being conscientious about the questions and answers can save so many careless marks that students throw away. Keywords like NOT or True and False questions can make the questions tricky as they are asking for the opposite set of answers that you will usually expect in most Physics exams questions. Remember to always rest well and have enough hours of sleep the night before the examination so that you will not be sidelined by these kinds of “tricky” questions.

(f) Having all the Physics formulas at your fingertips

Lastly, this is pretty self-explanatory. Memorising the formulas that are found outside of the formulae list provided in the Physics exams are important in helping you to save time and less nervous during the exam itself.

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