Have you ever taken a test where you see a question that you have done before and gotten wrong, only to realise, “I know I’ve done this question before, but I can’t remember what the answer was”? Or how about getting an exam paper back, only to realise that you made the same mistake again (and again) from a previous assignment?
Much like penalty kicks and free throws, you really want to capitalise on these “free points” as they are there for your taking. Here’s an easy guide to eliminating one of the silly regrets you will have when you take your next paper:
- Go through the mistakes from your past papers.
John Maxwell put it best when he wrote, “Experience teaches nothing, but evaluated experience teaches everything”. I know you don’t like harping on the past or seeing those big fat red marks on our test papers, but reviewing your mistakes is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you don’t make the same ones again. You don’t have to go through all that you did right, as it’s assumed that you actually deliberately made the right choices.
“Experience teaches nothing, but evaluated experience teaches everything”
- Redo those questions.
Make sure that you cover all the points, especially for math-based open-ended questions, to lock in what you have learnt from the mistakes. Often times, we just read through the answers, but that is not enough. Redoing the questions with the correct answers ensures that we have a positive enforcement on how to solve the problem.
- Get a good night’s rest.
Nothing trips the brain up more than the feeling of lethargy from sleeping late the night before, whether it is studying or playing Dota 2. That makes it easy to repeat the same mistakes again as you find it harder to hold your attention across the next few hours, and lose focus during certain questions. Everyone recommends it, but the best students ensure it happens.
No one likes making the same mistake again at an exam, but more than that, it is one of the low hanging fruit that you want to make sure that you don’t miss out on.
The next time you are preparing for your paper, I encourage you to implement the 3-point guide I’ve shared in the article. I’m sure you’ll not only score better, but also save yourself from forehead slapping during the exam while trying to recall the steps to get to the answer.