6 Ways To Tackle Careless Mistakes In Physics Exams

We’ve all experienced the pain and frustration that comes after spotting a careless mistake that could have been avoided, long after we’re done with our Physics examinations. It could be that one miscalculation in your workings belonging to a question with linked parts. Or using the wrong term when explaining the definition of a Physics concept.

No matter how hard you’ve been studying for Physics (especially if you’re one to take up physics tuition to have a better grasp at the subject), careless mistakes may seem to be inevitable – but they are actually very much avoidable. Here are some proven tips for tackling careless mistakes in Physics examinations!

1. Build a solid foundation

Physics requires less memorisation and more critical thinking, which is why the primary goal of Physics learning is for students to learn and have the ability to transfer their knowledge into major concepts, principles, and solutions in examination problems, also known as conceptual understanding.

If you have a strong conceptual understanding, the chances of making silly mistakes are little to none. After self-studying, test your concepts by working on Physics problems then have your teacher or Physics tutor explain the concepts to you.

2. Alternative methods

For every Physics problem, there is more than one way to solve them! Attending group-based JC Physics tuition is a great way to broaden your knowledge and understanding of the Physics subject.

This is because when you work on a problem together, you’d be surprised at the many ways you can solve them. Despite the different approaches to a question, the answer obtained will always be the same – provided that the working is right. When sitting for a Physics examination, apply this method when double-checking your work.

3. Avoid copy/transfer errors

This might seem like an obvious step, but when you’re sitting for an examination, the setting is different. Plus, there’s a set duration for you to finish all the answers in time.

However, you shouldn’t overlook this step which honestly, doesn’t take a long time! Check to see if you’ve copied the data from the question correctly into your working. At the same time, key in any workings into your calculator.

4. Look out for blanks

Sometimes, you might have skipped some parts of a question to attempt them again after. So, the moment you complete your paper, take a short breather. Then, check through each section to make sure that you’ve attempted all the questions. Leaving a question empty is such a waste, especially if you know the correct way to solve it!

5. Write neatly and legibly

This applies to not only your handwriting but also the way you present your workings! While it may seem trivial, failing to do this can cost you a couple of marks. When “3” gets mistaken for a “5”, most students fall victim to their own ineligible handwriting by copying the wrong answer or bringing forward a mistake.

Hence, you must always make sure your penmanship is neat and that you present your solutions systematically – with no missing steps.

6. Be sensitive to units of measurement

Some Physics exam questions give you the information in different SI units and physical quantities. If it helps, highlight the various units presented in different colours to avoid confusion.


You should always assume that your answers are wrong until you have checked through them. Checking your work may seem troublesome and unnecessary, but it is a crucial step if you want to avoid making mistakes that could have been avoided in the first place.