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Updated on June 15, 2015

The need to pass an exam is every student's passion, whether in elementary school or in college. We all have the desire to pass exams and beat our best friends, please our parents or beat our enemies, of course pleasing oneself by passing an exam comes last in our list of goals of passing exams. We now understand that everyone wants to pass, however only a few do, what is it that makes other students pass exams much easier while others fail or other why is it that some of our friends are always perennial exam failures. This brings us to our topic of discussion on how to stop making dump mistakes in exams. The common mistakes can be listed as follows :

(1)Failure to read instructions

One of the common mistakes we make is the failure to read instructions. Most of us never read the examiners instructions and yet move ahead to take the test. I can remember during my high school days , the whole class failed a math test save for one student who always assumed maths was hard and would never attempt any question in a test.This is because the examiner had written clearly on the question paper "DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY QUESTION" . Therefore it is always necessary to read instructions before attempting a test.

(2) Failure to interpret the question before answering

Secondly, we fail to interpret the key words used by the examiner or fail to read the entire question to find the key words. For instance an examiner may instruct you to answer the question with the aid of a diagram. Most of us will read the question, "Discuss the adaptation of the heart to perform its function (Use a well labeled diagram)" and forget to read the words in the brackets hence we end up not completely answering the question. Therefore there is need to read the entire question, interpret it then answer it correctly

(3) Most students do not understand key words used in examination.

Most examiner likes using keywords such as illustrate, discuss, write short notes on, briefly describe, which one is not true, and many more which mostly pose a challenge to students in the exam room. The mistake done by students is the failure to understand what this keyword means and mostly end up answering their own questions. Therefore as a student there is need to familiarize yourself with keywords mostly used in examinations.

(4) The urge to be the first to complete the test

This is another examination mistake done by students across the board. more so in a mixed school, boys tend to think that by completing the test very first they will be viewed as bright by the female counterparts and thus end up making some silly mistakes in the process. You need to give the exam the time it deserves and answer every question with accuracy.

(5) Examination cheating

Yes! You ask yourself why this appears here, right? Now come with me. When you plan to cheat in an exam and carry with yourself some written material to the exam room, the brain usually switches off in the event that a question whose prior written material you have is asked. The catch come when the examiner now seats next to you and you are unable to duplicate you copy to the answer sheet. The result is obvious, the time elapses and you will not have answered the question. Therefore we need to read smart prior to the exam and stop believing in other undocumented ways to success.

(6) Starting to answer the most difficult question.

As a rule of thumb, we should always start to answer the most friendly question before tackling difficult ones. This is because difficult questions tend to consume much time and tire the brain that answering easy questions becomes difficult or we are cut short of time.

(7) Memorizing
We should avoid memorizing our notes and duplicate everything on the answer sheet. In my fourth year at campus, a lecturer thought as that western blotting assay can be used to identify a protein. However in the examination he twisted a question and asked on the way a student can identify an enzyme which he had isolated from a blood sample. Most students failed to answer the question because they knew proteins can be separated by western blotting, but did not know that enzymes are proteins. This is due to the fact that during the introductory units they crammed much on proteins and enzymes, answered exam questions and forgot everything. It is important therefore to read and understand prior to examinations.

Other simple mistakes that can be avoided are arriving late for examinations, poor handwriting, failing to give time to each question, panicking during the exams and attempting to copy your neighbors work.

In summary if you successfully avoid all this mistakes and read smart prior to examinations then you will most likely see improvements in your results.


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