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Tips to do well for Maths (IV) – Tackling Exams

Students may feel that they have done their revisions, and they could score rather well in school tests. However, when it comes to actual exams, like End of Year Exam, Prelims, PSLE, N, O & even A Levels, results are often less than satisfactory. Why is this so? There are a few reasons that students do not perform as expected during exams. We shall look at these reasons and some tips to tackle them.


#1 – Tackling Nervousness

This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, problems students face. While it is inevitable that student definitely will feel nervous, especially during major exams, this problem can be minimised. Students often feel that questions in the exam papers are usually harder. Remember, no matter how ‘hard’ the questions are, they can NEVER test beyond your syllabus. Follow these steps:

i) Calm down by taking a few deep breaths

ii) Read the questions again, looking for keywords and similarities with questions during practices.

ii) Treat normal practices like exams, but treat exams just like any normal practice.

With this mind-set, you can minimise your nervousness and focus better during exams.


#2 – Do Proper Presentation

In many exams, the marks allocated for answers alone are not high (except for multiple choice questions). Examiners expect to see essential workings before giving marks for method. Do these:

i) Quote the required formulae (if any) and then do the workings properly.

ii) Organise your working in sequence and allow enough space for all your working. Disorganised workings that are scattered all over the place not only confuses the examiners, but also confuses you! You may not be able to understand what you have written when you are reviewing your workings.

iii) Try doing proper working even during normal practices to better prepare for exams.


#3 – Reducing Careless Mistakes

Many students face the problem of being careless in exams. They often find that they have missed a number here or there, or the signs during maths operations are wrong. This is because students have not developed the habit of doing their workings properly, and they usually do not check properly while doing their workings. To address these, students should:

i) Cultivate the habit of showing proper working (even for multiple choice questions where necessary) – this allows you to know exactly where oddity occurs.

ii) Checking after every line  – this takes a short time as you only have to check one line, but this effect is accumulative as you do not have to do a major check after completing the paper, and this frees up time to do your questions.


So, with these tips in mind, you can look forward to a more efficient method to tackle your exams with more confident and fewer mistakes! In fact, these tips can even be applied to other subjects!

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