The number one question parents ask us at this time of year is, “How can I help my child to stop making silly mistakes in the AQE and GL tests?”
Here are Martin’s top tips to eliminate silly mistakes in the AQE and GL Transfer Tests. With 13 years experience, teaching hundreds of children for the tests he knows how to avoid throwing away marks needlessly.
- Treat each question the same. Don’t think a question is “easy” or “hard”. Be consistent in how you approach every question.
- Read the whole question and try to understand what the question is asking. This sounds obvious but many students read part of a question and assume what it is asking because they have “seen a question like that before.” Never assume! Always read it!
- Revision! Make sure you fully understand the topic. If the student is not 100% about a topic they must stop and go over any areas of weakness. Keep a notebook and jot down what needs to be revised when you are marking the tests. For a true reflection of how they would do in an actual exam, make sure they have revised all the topics in a test before they sit it.
- Have a method. Students need to work methodically through each question – Break down a question so it becomes easier to understand. Highlight key information or words in a question or passage or poem by underlining or circling.
- Check your work – Return to a question and double check working out to confirm you have answered the question correctly.
Different approaches for the AQE and GL tests
- In the GL – The multiple choice style questions work as a ‘safety net’ to students who commonly make errors, especially dyslexic students. For example, if a student has made a silly mistake in their working out and their answer is not one of the choices – this makes the student go back over the question and check their working out immediately so they come up with the correct answer.
- In the AQE – some questions can be wordy. The student needs to underline key words in a question. The AQE does use bold lettering in questions but I always get the students to highlight important words themselves. When checking your work you should ask yourself, “Is this answer reasonable?” Another strategy would be to make a quick estimation to confirm if the answer is ‘reasonable’. Be aware of common mistakes e.g. mixing up perimeter and area or adding instead of subtracting. Look out for numbers! A question might ask you to “tick the two best answers.” If you only tick one, you will lose the mark. Highlight the word “two” as you read it and you won’t forget.
When you are marking your child’s practice papers, give them their actual mark and then beside it write the mark they would have got if they didn’t make any silly mistakes. This can often motivate them to try and eliminate these errors themselves. They can aim to have the number of silly errors go down for each test they sit.
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AQE and GL practice papers please visit here.
AQE and GL revision books please visit here.
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