Nonny of Class 11 (2018) explains a few ways of increasing accuracy in exams.
Scores on tests such as SAT or ASSET depend mainly on two factors. The first is skill — obviously, if you don’t have intelligence or strong concepts, your score is going to reflect your lack of ability. The other is test-taking strategy. Sometimes, even people who have the skills required to get a full score end up making a few careless errors. Therefore, their scores do not reflect their true ability. So, the purpose of this article is to talk about some of the common reasons why people make those careless mistakes, and how they can be rectified.
The first step is to practice a lot. If you keep practicing the type of sums that come in these tests, the process of solving them will soon become automatic. For example, if you’re asked to do a simple addition such as 2+3, there is no question of making a careless error. Your brain automatically knows the answer- 5. Similarly, if you keep practicing more complicated sums, you will get the ability to immediately figure out the answer as soon as you look at the question, thus eliminating any possibility of making a silly mistake.
The second step is to stop using your calculator. Tests such as SAT allow you to use a calculator, but for nearly all of the questions in the entire paper (apart from two or three rare exceptions) you don’t really need to use it. In fact, the calculator is a distraction — it disrupts your focus and often makes you forget what you were thinking about before you picked it up. It will also give you more calculation practice, which will result in a reduction of silly mistakes while performing simple arithmetic operations.
Another way that people make silly errors is by not reading the question carefully enough. In an attempt to read fast, people often skip over one or two words in the question, which lead to careless mistakes. The solution to this problem is to highlight the more important parts of the question. For example, a question may ask you to work out the number of minutes that a car takes to travel a certain distance. So in this question, it may be a good idea to underline the word ‘minutes’, so that you don’t end up calculating the number of hours or make some such other mistake.
The fourth step is to do proper roughwork. Your roughwork should not be illegible or unorganized — you may end up confusing yourself. If your roughwork is properly structured and your steps are methodical, you will make far less careless mistakes.
So keep this in mind the next time you take a test, and your scores will then really start to reflect your true ability.