top of page

5 Mistakes That Are Costing You Marks In Your English Exams

5 Mistakes That Are Costing You Marks In Your English Exams

The exam hall (or classroom) is a place ridden with tons of anxiety and tension for most students. The stress and pressure to perform well and answer all the questions to the best of your ability can sometimes get the best of us, costing us precious marks due to careless mistakes.

Excellent exam techniques can make a world of difference and allow you to achieve stellar grades. Moreover, English is one of the most important subjects in one’s education – whether it is at primary, secondary or tertiary levels. With it being the primary language of Singapore, a strong foundation in English can not only improve your communication skills overall, but also help you advance to higher levels of education.

In this article, we discuss 5 common mistakes that are causing you to lose marks in your English exams.

1. Failing to read the question properly

Due to the pressure of the exam, students frequently feel compelled to skim through the materials quickly and get straight to answering.

The tendency of human brains to perceive just what they want to perceive is exacerbated in stressful situations like the exam hall. If you don’t read a question closely enough, your mind may easily convince you to believe that it is asking you a question that it isn’t, causing you to produce an entirely other answer that doesn’t address the question you were given.

Failing to read the question properly is an extremely costly mistake to make, especially when it comes to essay writing or the comprehension portion of the main written paper.

2. Poor time management

Spending too much time on the first few questions and not leaving enough time to finish -- this is a common error made by many students and results in an incomplete exam script.

There is nothing worse than the “what ifs”. What if you had enough time to complete your paper? Would you have performed better and achieved a higher grade?

Eliminate the possibility of feeling regret by honing your time management skills. Time is essential in an exam, especially with so much to get through in a stipulated amount of time. We recommend that you practise going through a few papers prior, so you will be able to get used to the pace you’d need to keep in the actual exam.

You know what they say, practice makes perfect!

3. Leaving multiple-choice questions blank

Even if you have done your preparations to a T, there is still the possibility that you may encounter questions that catch you off-guard and leave you feeling stumped.

Some students make the grave mistake of leaving multiple-choice questions that they do not know the answer to, blank. With several options available to choose from, multiple-choice questions are one of the easiest test formats. In certain cases, if you don’t know the answer, you may still figure it out by determining which options are less likely to be correct.

And even in the worst-case scenario where you have absolutely no clue, simply picking an option is not going to do you any harm. In fact, there is a possibility that lady luck may be on your side, and you will get it right!

4. Copying chunks of text wholesale

Most students find it challenging to ace the infamous comprehension open-ended (COE) component of the main written paper. It not only assesses one’s comprehension of the material, but also calls for your ability to gather and unpack information.

It is crucial to understand that open-ended comprehension questions are designed to test a candidate’s critical thinking skills. One of the most common mistakes that students make is adopting a “copy-and-paste” method, wherein they lift full phrases and sentences from the passage without considering if the question is actually addressed.

5. Overlooking details

On the flip side, there are students who tend to use only their own words to answer the question, completely neglecting the details mentioned in the passage. While this is comparatively a less serious mistake as compared to copying chunks of text wholesale, there is still a possibility that the answer no longer has the same intended meaning as it is missing crucial details.


While it is normal to make mistakes, it would be best to minimise them in the context of an examination. The fewer mistakes you make, the higher your overall grade will be! Additionally, we recommend leaving approximately 10 minutes before the end of your examination to carefully check through your answers and ensure that you are putting your best foot forward.

If you are struggling with your studies and require additional assistance, enrolling in English home tuition can be incredibly beneficial. An English private tutor would be able to offer you the help you need to ace your final examinations. From improving your comprehension skills to sharpening your writing skills, an English tutor will be able to tailor lessons specially to your needs and learning pace.

For the best English home tuition in Singapore, Premium Tutors is the one for you. We are the country’s leading home tuition agency and are dedicated to providing exemplary tuition lessons for a range of subjects and levels.

To learn more, feel free to contact us today!

25 views0 comments


bottom of page