Exam Tips: How to avoid silly mistakes

Making a mistake in English is never a bad thing – you can always learn from it. However, in exams people often make mistakes that they would never make in class or in other situations when using English. ‘Silly mistakes’ are these types of avoidable mistakes that you can correct yourselves very easily. You might make these mistakes in exams because of the stress of the situation or because you are in a rush to answer the question with enough time before the end of the exam. So how can you avoid making silly mistakes in your exams?

The main way to avoid making silly mistakes is to check your answers. When you first write down an answer, you might not notice a mistake that you make in it. You should always read your answers again to make sure that you agree with what you’ve said. Give yourself 10 minutes at the end of every test to check your answers. Another thing to check for in your answers is your spelling. You don’t get the mark in Cambridge exams if you spell the answer incorrectly so make sure you haven’t got any spelling mistakes.

You should also look at the format of the exam question. Have you written exactly what the question asked? Read the question again and look at the example at the start of the question – make sure that your answer looks the same as the example structure. Does the question give you options A, B or C, or does it ask you to write a word in a gap? Check the number of words allowed in the answer, for example each answer in the Use of English part 4 in the FCE exam must be between 2 and 5 words – if you have more words than this you won’t get the marks.

Another piece of advice for exams is don’t get stuck on a question. If you don’t know the answer to a question, move on and go back to it at the end of the exam. If you worry about answering the questions in order, you can spend too much time on one question and then not have enough time to answer all of the questions.

Finally, make sure you answer every question in the exam. Look at every page of the exam paper to ensure you haven’t missed any questions. Also, if you don’t know an answer to a question, you should always make a guess! You don’t lose any marks if you guess, but you might gain some by getting a right answer.

Everything that I have mentioned can be good advice to avoid losing marks unnecessarily in exams. You can always learn from mistakes you make in practice exams, but when it comes to the real thing you want to get as many correct answers as you can. Therefore, if you’re going to remember one thing from this blog post, it’s to read your answers a second time!