There are multiple examples of mistakes that the students make, taking their exams. It is funny to read about some of them. Others are one-of-a-kind as students can hardly conceive of such odd misunderstandings. There are many errors caused by the confusion with interpretation of terms and specific phrases.
Still, most of the mistakes are typical of every generation of students. That is why it is smart of them to read guidelines on how to avoid exam mistakes and try not to fall into the same trap.
Intense cramming just in the nick of time
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Let’s imagine a common situation before the exam. You take your last chance to get prepared for the test at the door of the exam room. There are a few minutes left until you come inside and you hear some students discuss one of the exam questions. You suddenly realize that you have not a slightest idea on that topic and you try to learn something fast. You understand that it is too late, but the fear and panic make you rush. You have never experienced such a large-scale stress before. It is an unpleasant and dreadful feeling. So, you should avoid the attempts to learn the materials just before the exam as it is the way to a failure and not success.
When it goes about the academic process, it is much smarter to do everything slowly and steadily instead of hurrying up. If you have wasted months before the exam and now you have loads of class readings and notes to study, there is no sense to race to the finishing line. It can become extremely harmful for you. You feel scared just looking at the huge piles of materials to study. This last evening before the exam can help you get acquainted with the basic concepts but not learn the needed materials. Well, it is impossible to gain a clear understanding of the course in such a short period of time. Thus, you are not able to apply or show your knowledge during the exam.
If you make attempts to cram volumes of information in several hours, you can get some sleep disorders and experience the maximal level of stress.
Lack of resources for studying
Which materials do you think are the most suitable for your exam preparation? Is it enough to look through the study guides? Do you have the flashcards to use? They give you a chance to get the information in a well-structured and simplified manner, but you cannot pass the exam if you have not acquired the complete scope of knowledge.
We recommend getting information from various sources. Even relevant articles from newspapers are helpful in line with your textbooks. You should get a broad perspective on the subject; so, even online study materials are valuable.
Study Your Course Materials Inside Out
The key factor of your success at the exam is your knowledge. It is always evident that lack of knowledge brings a lot of mistakes.
Superficial understanding of the question
It is extremely difficult to focus in the exam room. Pressure and stress produce a negative influence on your attention. One of the habits of the human brain is to notice only what it wants to see. If you do not pay proper attention to the question you have to answer, your brain can trick you out. You may look through the topic and see only some of the aspects, disregarding the others. As a result, your professor will see a nice essay based on the prompts different from those you got. Brilliant ideas on the wrong topic are never graded with A scores. So, the most valuable piece of advice is: “Be careful while you are reading the questions for your exam!”
Learning by heart instead of understanding
Many students do not try to figure out what the basic concepts mean. Instead, they memorize all the definitions, facts, dates, and numbers, which they consider important. Elementary school students can really benefit from memorizing. This method loses its efficiency in middle school, and it is absolutely wrong in advanced classes. A minor change of format and you will not give an appropriate answer to the simple questions if you have focused only on memorizing definitions. If you cannot understand what the key terms mean, you will not be able to proceed with your research. There are a number of strategies that could help the students learn things instead of memorizing them. Well, you can try teaching some peers or interpreting complicated ideas in a simple manner.
Handing your paper in without checking it twice
One of the easiest rules on how to avoid exam mistakes states that it is important to leave several minutes for rereading the exam answers before you submit them. Although it is obvious, most of the students disregard this procedure. We recommend looking through your answers several times even if you are well sure that your knowledge of the subject is perfect. Pay attention to the following check factors:
- Are there any blanks?
You have had some challenging question and you have decided to make your choice between the options a bit later. It is better to try and give a wrong answer than to leave a blank that brings zero. Give a basic answer and go on. You cannot afford wasting your precious time. You should not skip questions without any attention paid to the questions you do not like.
- Are there answers to every question in the compulsory section?
Some of the exams may include optional sections. Be careful and do not skip essential questions that could bring you the needed scores. Focusing on the optional questions you are good at, you may fail to get the highest grade.
- Are any of the ‘added extras’ left out?
If there is a requirement to include graphs, diagrams, and explanations in the math-based subjects, you should meet this demand and get additional scores for your efforts.
- Have you provided all the required details?
Make sure that you write down your number or name on the test paper. It may sound odd that it is not a rare thing to happen. Even if you give all the answers flawlessly, who will understand it is your work without your name on the cover?
Issues with time management
You have seen a list of exam questions and your diligence makes you spend much time on the first questions to show your perfect knowledge. As a result, you cannot finish as you have spent too much time on your work already. It is a common mistake that you should try to avoid.
Your overall score consists of scores for each part. So, if you have no time to give answers to easy questions, you may lose all those scores because you have wasted too much time on the previous parts.
How can you improve?
You want to function efficiently at your exam. It is understandable that the level of pressure is high and the time is tight. Still, good skills of time management can help you get a solution. You can try to get through a mock exam with the same timing to check whether you can manage that. Practicing on a regular basis, you can learn how to deal with requirements for your final exam and develop your own strategies how to address certain problems. It is also important to mind regular intervals and keep a tab on time.