“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” – Henry Ford
Competitive exam preparation puts quite overwhelming pressure and stress on aspirants. Students often fight tooth and nail to complete their entire syllabus and revision on time in addition to practicing test papers and attending mock test series – all the while dreading the exam day and result. The fear is justifiable because the entire sum of years of hard work and your career depends upon that one result of the competitive exam.
One thing to consider here is that competitive exams not only test the academic knowledge of the aspirants but also challenge their discipline, temperament, emotional stability, and time management skills. Therefore in order to succeed, you must master those skills. Studies suggest that for competitive exam aspirants, academic knowledge accounts for 61% of the score, and the remaining 39% of the score depends on an individual’s exam-taking skills. Hence, academic knowledge is extremely important for acing competitive exams, but your rank will be determined by your exam skills.
Every year, we come across hundreds of students who have equipped themselves with the adequate academic knowledge but messed up due to silly mistakes in exams. To prevent that scenario, here we’ll discuss a few common exam mistakes and competitive exam tips to prevent them.
Top seven common exam mistakes that students tend to make during competitive exams and tips to avoid them…
Confusion about formulae, incorrect application of the concepts, implementing the information they know rather than what’s actually asked – all come under the category of silly mistakes. Usually, aspirants know the answer but due to overwhelming stress, either they forget it or write the incorrect one. Every year almost 34% of the students complain that they made silly mistakes and lost the exam by 1 or 2 marks.
Tip: To avoid common exam mistakes, it is imperative that you practice enough, revise and re-revise the concepts until you get a crystal clear understanding of them. Practice enough questions to understand the areas where you tend to make silly mistakes in exams and improve them.
Another most common exam mistake is not reading the questions correctly. Due to time limitations, aspirants were in such a hurry that they tended to ignore words like ‘NOT’ ‘INCORRECT’ etc. The reason is, the human brain is habitual in seeing what it wants to see. That’s why instead of actually reading the question, we tend to guess what it asks and move forward.
Tip: To avoid that, calm your mind and read the entire question thoroughly. It is also recommended to underline words like ‘NOT’ ‘INCORRECT’ to avoid the mistake of ignoring them. During the online exam, you can highlight those words using your mouse.
Every year almost 7.1% of the students appearing in competitive exams like NEET and JEE commit that mistake. The scenario is more common for NEET aspirants as compared to JEE aspirants but regardless the mistake is huge. Usually, aspirants start with their favorite section first, mark answers on the question paper and then proceed to fill the OMR sheet at last. Due to this they either start with the wrong question number or darken the incorrect circles continuously until they realize their mistake. But that mistake cannot be rectified as you won’t get another OMR sheet and there’s no option of erasing the answers.
Tip: To avoid that mistake, check the question number first every time before marking the answers in the OMR sheet. Be extremely attentive and careful while filling the OMR sheet.
The classic exam mistake – poor time management. Aspirants spend too much time on initial questions they attempt leaving too little time to finish all questions in the end.
Tip: Practice as many question papers as you can, take mock tests in real exam-like conditions to plan your time management strategy. Allocate specific time for each question, and if you are stuck, leave that question and come back to it later when you have spare time in the end. Regularly monitor time while writing exams.
Though exam guidelines do not change frequently, it won’t hurt to spend initial 3-5 minutes reading them, especially for online exams where you have a color-specific grid for questions. Candidates often skip the guidelines and thus remain unaware of the new modifications.
Tip: Do not skip exam guidelines. Spend initial 5-7 minutes reading exam instructions to gain a clear understanding of the mark distribution, question choices, and any other minor changes.
Top-tier competitive exams like JEE and NEET have negative marking for every incorrect answer. That means guessing answers for MCQs can actually reduce your total score. On the other hand, if you leave the questions blank you are not confident about, it won’t hurt your score at all.
Tip: There’s no tip for this mistake instead there’s a rule. Do not guess your answers to MCQ questions. Mark them only if you are confident about it, if not leave them to avoid negative marking.
Oftentimes, in such a hurry to finish your examination, aspirants often forget to re-check their answers. Sometimes, they even forget the question they left to attempt later.
Tip: To avoid that, always finish your paper on time and spare 10-15 minutes in the end for rechecking your answers. This way, if you have left any questions unanswered, you can solve them at that time.
A few competitive exam tips to ace your examinations…
Aspirants need to plan and practice their exam strategy thoroughly before appearing for competitive exams. Strategize the time allotment for each question, which section to attempt first and which to attempt last.
Make sure you take enough sleep before your exam in order to avoid fatigue and drowsiness in the examination hall. Also, a tired mind will result in wavering concentration and focus which you couldn’t afford during competitive exams.
Many aspirants have the habit of revising and re-revising until the bell rings. Avoid that, because you are already stressed due to exams, and if you try to recall something and fail, this will add stress to your already worked up brain.
At last, stay calm and confident. Overthinking and panicking will mess up your thoughts and make you more prone to mistakes. Believe in yourself. You have prepared for months and you can do this. Just stay focused and confident and other things will automatically fall into place.
Aspirants should remember that silly mistakes in exams happen due to insufficient practice, poor exam strategy, or panicking due to exam stress. To overcome those common exam mistakes, it is vital that you have an accurate exam strategy and enough practice. If you are thinking about how to equip yourself with those, ALLEN Overseas is here to help you. We are the most-trusted and result-dominated institute with the best-in-class faculty pool to help you overcome all the obstacles and achieve unparalleled success in your academic tenure. Reach out to us with your doubts, queries, comments, and suggestions and we will gladly assist you.