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Careless Mistakes Are Your Best Friends!

“Why you get it wrong again? Careless, Careless, CARELESS!!!

Sounds familiar?  Making careless mistakes is quite common in math exams beyond Primary 3.  After all, to err is human.  So, being careless is ok. What matters more is what the student should do to be more careful.

Different strategies are used for different academic targets.  The strategy for achieving a B grade is different from that of getting an A grade. Likewise, getting a 75-mark A grade or a 90-mark A grade requires different methods as well.

But, before we embark on the effective strategy we are about to share, everything boils down to a starting strong with a solid foundation.

How strong is your child’s foundation? Is it as solid as a rock or it is filled with holes distributed randomly? If there are holes, do you know what kind of holes they are.

To build upon your child’s foundation, you must determine which level he is at now.

Here is what you can do:

1) Troubleshoot the problem

Start by reviewing the latest math test papers completed by your child, focusing on the wrong answers.

  • Identify the questions that your child has problems with
  • Identify the concept that was being tested by the questions.  For example, ask yourself:
    • Is it on algebra and calculation?
    • Is it on numbers testing the concept of hundredth and thousandth?
    • Is it on finding area of triangle?

2) Focus on the specific weak areas

It is necessary that you be as specific as possible in defining the problem, so that you can apply a systematic way to tackle the problems, instead of shooting around in the dark at everything.  There’s nothing quite more boring to a child than to have to be drilled on concepts which he/she are already comfortable with!

Once the problem has been identified, you can then focus on filling these gaps by helping the kid clarify the concepts of
a. algebra (addition)
b. numbers (hundredth and thousandth)
c. triangle (area)

So you should ONLY set questions on algebra (addition), numbers (hundredth and thousandth) and triangle (area).

Assuming the child is able to get all these questions right, voila! He has improved and we can see the improvement, which is the right answers he has written, Now, we can move on to work on his other weak areas by repeating exactly the same steps.

Another reason why filling the voids and rebuilding the foundation is very important is that a concept may be tested in Paper 1 and Paper 2 in various ways. The questions will look or feel different but the concept tested will be similar.

And the main reason why a child get these questions wrong is not because the questions are hard. It is because he does not understand that one same concept which is tested in those two questions.

Plus, rebuilding foundation and learning to fill all the gaps is another way of telling the child “You can do well too!”.

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