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How To Prevent Careless Mistakes When Working On Maths

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

How To Prevent Careless Mistakes When Working On Maths

Your child may have a comprehensive understanding of mathematical concepts and no problems with doing practice questions, which doesn't always translate to their grades. More often than not, the reason lies in their careless mistakes while doing their exam papers. Both parents and teachers agree that a tendency towards making these kinds of errors can be very detrimental to your child's mathematical capabilities. It can mean the difference between passing and failing or even getting the top grade you feel they deserve.

Taking an exam is a stressful endeavour that can take a toll on a student's concentration – unlike when they can practice at home at their own pace. This means that a certain level of careless mistakes can seem inevitable. However, it doesn't always have to be the case! Here are some strategies your child can utilise to prevent any unwanted errors when taking an exam:

1. Manage your time

Time management is the area most students are found lacking in. That's why you must ensure that your child takes no more than two minutes per mark in questions while doing their maths exam papers. For instance, if the question is worth five marks, students shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to solve it. This way, they'll still have some time left over to check their answers.

If they feel like they're taking longer than the designated time, advise them to move on. They can always come to it later. In these cases, it's always better to work smart and weigh your options. After all, it's preferable to lose a few marks at the beginning than not even having the time to attempt the questions at the back.

2. Don't skip too many steps

Avoid skipping too many steps when it comes to addition and subtraction. Students are prone to be overconfident with their mental calculations and will skip ahead to solve the problem. While this may save time, the calculations will not always be correct, which lands your child on the wrong answer despite using all the proper steps.

3. Check your answers

For math problems that require using any sort of equations to be solved, have your child put the final answer back into the equation and check if it's correct with a calculator. This is a great way to see if they've answered correctly or made an error somewhere along the way.

4. Highlight crucial details

Parents and teachers tend to advise students to check through their answers when showing them how to avoid careless mistakes. Truthfully, it's always better to prevent them than to correct them.

When students check back on their answers, the mistakes tend to slip their notice because they've already subconsciously assumed they're correct. Hence, highlighting key information in the question is of the utmost importance.

Highlighting the question's objective and critical details is essential to ensuring they've understood it correctly. Even those with the best intentions can sometimes mess up when reading the questions.


Consistent practice is necessary before one can master the art of avoiding careless mistakes. We advise you to assist your child in incorporating the maths tips listed above into their daily practices so that identifying errors and correcting them will ultimately come naturally.

Practice makes perfect! Colourtrain Academy is a well-established and high quality math tuition centre in Singapore, with tutors who are able to provide all the tools your child needs to unlock their fullest potential. Contact us today to learn more!

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