To avoid carelessness, we must know the definition of "careless". Careless is defined as "not giving sufficient attention or thought to avoiding errors" or "not concerned or worried about".
To give sufficient attention to something, one main factor is ... one's personality! What is the personality of your child? Is your child a careful and mindful person?
What could be the main reason on why do children make SO MANY careless mistakes? In this modern world where each child possess at least one IT gadget (tablet or mobile phone), the child is easily addicted to playing internet games or watching YouTube channels. Without much control on their usage and with the continuous stimulus that the child is being exposed to, his brain will be trained to process information very fast! With that, more careless mistakes can be found in his work as he tends to skip words or read the numbers incorrectly because his brain processes information much faster than his eye and finger movements.
To avoid any careless mistakes, one's mind must be calm and alert especially when solving Mathematics problem sums!
Can you help to minimize your child's careless mistakes? To minimize your child's careless mistakes, you must first understand the common careless mistakes made by your child.
I would recommend that you to keep track of your child's mistakes by making a list of the careless mistakes made in EACH EXAM and to get him to be aware of those mistakes and avoid them during the next exam! If the mistakes are repeated, it means that your child has not learnt from his mistakes. You will have to put in extra effort to remind him to avoid these mistakes in his coming exam!
Below are some of tips to help you to minimise your child's careless mistakes: 1) Do NOT jump into conclusion -> When your child sees a familiar question, e.g. question on overlapping figures, he might jump into conclusion that the question is ALWAYS about finding the shaded part! However, it may NOT be the case! So, remind your child NOT to jump conclusion and read the question CAREFULLY to know exactly what is being asked.
2) Sometimes, our eyes play tricks on us. It is found that many students read the number 255 as 225 or 3 x 3 = 6. If you know your child tends to read certain digits wrongly, remind him about this mistake the day before his exam.
3) When checking the answer, solve it in a new perspective by trying the question again and check that his method answers correctly to the question.
4) If your child tends to lose mark by forgetting to write the unit of measurements, then I would recommend your child to make the habit to write down what he is finding in the answer space regardless if it is an unit of measurements (e.g. $, cm, g, etc) or non-unit of measurements (e.g. apples, lollipops, pens, etc)
5) If your child has the tenancy of writing incorrect working presentation, e.g. 2/5 = 30 or 2/5 x 100% = 40 (missing of %), then I would recommend you to get him to write in the correct working presentation 10 times EACH DAY! :)
6) Tell your child NOT to PANIC if he is running out of the time during the exam or does not know how to solve the question. Do deep breathing to control his anxiety. The more anxious he is, the more mistakes he will make. Remind him to focus on one question at a time and put in his best effort!
Learn to manage time well e.g. A 1-mark question should NOT take more than 1 minute to solve.
7) Label each working step CLEARLY and do not skip any step to avoid losing method marks!
8) Always find the value of 1u FIRST. Most students made the following mistake: 20u = 80 5u = 80/4 = 20 15u = 15 x 30 = 300 (Wrong! Should be 20 x 3 = 60!)
9) Look out for transfer errors! CHECK, CHECK & CHECK!
Check that the numbers are copied correctly from the question. Do not lose marks due to using inaccurate values.
Check numbers TYPED into the calculator are correct. Did your child accidentally press '5' instead of '6'?
Avoid copying the wrong values obtained from the calculator. For example, the final answer in the calculator was 132 but your child wrote as 123.
How can I help my child further? -> Help your child to identify the reason(s) for the “careless mistakes” i) Have a reward system that rewards him for doing his work accurately.
ii) Does he read or think too fast? If yes, ask him to read word by word TO YOU SLOWLY and you can manage his speed of reading from there.
iii) Is he weak in his language of math? e.g, “Sean had 20% more stamps than Leo”? If yes, drill him with the different types of language of math by extracting some of them from the assessment books or school works.
iv) Does your child have a misconception of the topic? e.g. Most students thought that all percentages can be added or subtracted. This is the reason why when the students are asked to calculate the amount payable after 7% GST is imposed on the discounted price (e.g. 20% discount was given), most students will take 87% (100% - 20% + 7%) as the percentage for the amount payable! This is incorrect because the base values (100%) are different!!!
Help your child understand the correct concept. Seek external help if necessary.
v) Untidiness can result in him taking the wrong value for his subsequent steps. If it is the case, then you will need to help him to be more systematic in his work and guide him to present his workings in an orderly manner.
Hope you find the tips and recommendation useful to reduce your child’s careless mistakes!! J