The strenuous exam is finally over. You come out of the examination hall and frantically start verifying your answers with the question paper set. Ouch! How could you possibly get that simple differentiation wrong? Well, how on earth did you mistake a zero for an eight? Or how can you make a silly mistake and miscalculate 8*7 as 54 instead of 56? Everyone makes silly mistakes. But if you work on avoiding them, you can increase your score in exams.
Avoiding Silly Mistakes in Calculation
This scenario is the painful saga of candidates preparing for various competitive exams. Nowadays, most of these exams include Multiple Choice Type questions with negative markings. So, such silly mistakes in calculation can cost you not only the dreaded regret syndrome but also the hard work you had put into the preparations.
Here are a few ways to avoid silly mistakes in calculations and score higher than normal:
- Very simply put, a thorough practice of mathematical concepts is vital for reducing the blunders considerably, if not completely
- Make a habit of double-checking everything you calculate so that you can reduce the number of errors. However, it’s very difficult to apply this self-correction technique to your answers especially when you can hardly decipher your scribblings
- First of all, use a high-quality pen or pencil. It will help you write faster and concentrate on the questions, not on how your hand is hurting. Don’t be lazy and scribble, write everything clearly and cleanly. If figures are available, try to draw big and clean figures and mark everything clearly so that you don’t confuse one reading to another
- Read the problem statement very carefully, underline the important points and then begin solving.
- Try to jot down the possible answers near the question itself. If that’s not possible, mark the question number in bold so that you know which calculation you are working on.
- Don’t rush into conclusions and end up mixing up the answers for two different questions.
- For the equations, include the given data as late as you possibly can. That way, a fall-through error can be almost eliminated.
- Another way of avoiding calculation blunders is to guess a few characteristics of your expected answer – range, divisibility, etc. For example, 22*69*97 looks like a 5-6 digit number at first glance and is divisible by 2, 3, 11 and 23. Now, even if there’s an error, you can tally the final answer logically and figure out if you’ve made a mistake.
- Stay calm and read the options very carefully. It’s very easy to be misled by seemingly similar options.
- While in the middle of a problem, don’t try to solve the next one in your brain. Focus on one until you either solve it or leave it for later.
- If you have time, recheck all steps and your final answer. There is no easier or better way to ascertain the correctness of your answers.
- Last but not least, try and get a good eight hours sleep before your exam. Don’t stay up late night to revise at the last minute as it will make you tired. This step might be underrated and sounds impossible to do but can greatly affect your overall performance.
Remain calm and tension-free while solving problems as it will save your time and frustration. Sometimes, overthinking slows you down and makes you feel stuck. So, with a little conscious effort and common sense, you can easily reduce the frequency of silly mistakes and improve your score.