By virtue of its definition, human error is something we all do. In the more quantitative HSC subjects such as Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, human error can be a big cause of losing marks in exams. For example, how often have you walked out of an exam room, and realise only moments later that you’ve lost a few marks in a question or two due to ‘silly mistakes’? Or when, coming out of an exam room, you chat with your friends about how they did question X Y Z etc and realising you missed a tiny detail that cost you marks? This happens all too often for many students, and the truth is, human error happens to all students, even the top ones.
Common places to make ‘silly mistakes’
In HSC exams (as well as assessable school exams, since they are all similar to HSC exams), students mainly make their silly mistakes in a few ways:Long, complex algebraic proofs (e.g. long proofs in Maths Extension 2, causing you to copy the previous line’s expressions incorrectly)calculation-based questions requiring long working-out and calculator work (e.g. molar calculations in Chemistry)Multiple choice section in science exams 200-301.
It is quite impossible to make a ‘silly mistake’ in humanities-type subjects like English, or in the long-answer sections of science exams in the same ways as those described above.Since there’s only a few situations where silly mistakes can be made, students should be mindful of which areas of their exams they need to check over when they have spare time near the end of their exams.
In most cases, you would only have a little bit of time left after you finish your exam. Therefore, it is wise to know how to best prioritise your time in checking for mistakes before the exam time is up. This is assuming you’ve already done all the questions – if you’ve left some questions blank, obviously finish them before you begin checking your work.