Blog Students Exam Tips Careless Mistakes In Math: How They Kill Your PSLE Score

Careless Mistakes In Math: How They Kill Your PSLE Score


You can pile your child full of assessment books and past years papers from prestigious schools and still get frustrated when his math exam’s result remains the same. Impossible to improve your child’s PSLE math results? You can actually improve his results just by following below tips to avoid loss of marks that are within your child’s control.

1st Approach: Identify And Do Away With Careless Mistakes

A lot of students feel guilty about making mistakes and this frustrates many parents who feel that their child should not have made such a mistake.

Many students are not aware of the careless mistakes which can be easily avoided; it is an apparent indicator of the areas they needed to improve on.

Below is a list of regularly made mistakes and how your child should avoid making these mistakes in their exam.

1. Replication Of The Incorrect Number

This type of mistake happens when your child reads “16” however the child writes “19”. This mistake may also occur when your child is working on a step to step in their calculations. The worst that happens is when he has got the correct answer but ends up filling in the wrong answer. Ouch!

2. Inscription Of The Incorrect Units
This can occur when your child writes the wrong units’ example being instead of writing “cm”, the child writes “m” or instead of finding the solution in “kg” he works out in “grams”. With such a mistake, the markers will deduct one mark instead of half a mark for each incorrect unit they make out.

3. Unreadable Handwriting 
This seems to be the most commonly occurring mistake. On the bright side, this mistake can easily be prevented. For instance, you child writes “1000” but instead the zeros appear as “6” making the number look like “1666”. Therefore in maintaining the handwriting tidy and easily decipherable does help.

4. Punching In The Incorrect Number When Using A Calculator
This happens when your child reads “32” from the question however inputs “23” or your child sees “69” from his calculator screen and instead writes “96” as their answer. It happens to adults as well when we incorrectly make an assumption without reading carefully.

5. Inscription Of The Incorrect Operations “+, -. x, /” –
This happens when your child is aware that they are meant to put multiplication sign but instead wrote a “+” rather than “x”.

6. Not Reading The Problem Sums Carefully
Scanning through the problem sums rather than to read the sentence word for word will guarantee mistakes arises. This usually happens when the child is overly confident or he realised that he is out of time to complete the whole paper hence rushing through the last few questions.

Getting the child to read through their CA1 past paper and any available mock SA1 revision papers noting carefully all the avoidable mistakes they have made. This call for you parents to talk about them with your child on the mistakes made and get him to tell you what would have been the correct process to tackle the question. At this point ask the child to be more cautious next time they tackle any questions.

Restore confidence to your child by letting them know it is okay to make a mistake, provided it is not done repeatedly. Everyone feel silly when they are being pointed out their careless mistakes.

2nd Approach: Simply Do The Tests Again 

Nowadays, there are plenty of resources to obtain top school’s CA and SA math papers. In fact, they should redo their previous CA1 and as a parent, you can compare the results between previously taken test and the current one after their careless mistakes are highlighted. This is one obvious way for you to check if your child has realised his mistakes or if he keeps making those mistakes.

Your child needs to recognize and accept that they had not achieved their desired scores in the earlier test, take initiative to identify their mistakes and come up with their own appropriate solution and strategies to improve their grades. It can be rereading the problem sums twice before attempting it because he has a habit of skimming through words or tackle the problem sums first before any other types of questions because he is always running out of time at the end.

Do not tell your child what they should do instead guide them through the steps. Give them pointers on how to tackle the math problem so that it can give them confidence for them to figure out how to come to the correct answer.

In essence, point them in the right direction and show them how to find the solution. Once your child is ready to unravel the question alone, his self-confidence goes higher and he can feel a lot more competent.

3rd Approach: Engage Private Lessons

The last thing your child might want is to have more homework pile on him but if he needs the extra attention to improve, this is one of the surefire ways for grades improvement. You might not have the time nor the energy to constantly check on his work to make sure your child is not making the same careless mistakes. It might be frustrating for you to keep reminding him over and over again to always check for mistakes and frustrate him as well to keep hearing you repeating the same speech.

A maths private tutor can do that and more. A tutor can devise the same kind of questions in different ways, different context to ensure he does not keep making the same error. The tutor can even come up with different methods to subliminally remind the child to check his work before every submission, not just during test and exams.

There is nothing impossible to work through your child’s weakness in maths. These tips will help your child retain the extra 15 to 20 marks that could have been lost due to his negligence to be more careful. Remember, good habits need time to cultivate hence it is important that he is doing the same checks for his homework rather than to wait until exam period.

Rum Tan

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors.

You may try out his free home tutoring services via smiletutor.sg or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.