The primary and secondary school examination schedule is just right around the corner. As expected, this is the period of anxiety in the minds of students where they start planning for the studying of the final tests for the year.

Sometimes having studied for the Chinese papers just doesn’t seem to be enough. A common plight that many faced is making careless mistakes. If you are wondering how to better help your child from falling into the carelessness traps in the Chinese Papers, read on as Connected Learning compiles the top 5 reasons for losing marks. 


1) Racing against time due to poor time management

In the pressure-cooker setting of timed examinations, students usually rush to read through and attempt to understand the question, resulting in misinterpretation and therefore loss of marks (离题). This situation is common, especially when the answer selections include Chinese words that look similar to one another.

In another scenario, poor comprehension skills coupled with the time constraints also lead to the guessing/skipping of keywords. This affects reading comprehension, therefore resulting in the student given inaccurate answers instead.


2) Poor Handwriting

With increasing panic as time slips by, students tend to scribble their answers with poor handwriting. Writing too untidily, too small, or too fast will all lead to an illegible handwriting. Regardless of how well answered the question is, as long as the papers are marked by teachers (who are subjected to long, sometimes sleepless hours spent on marking papers), answers which are difficult or ‘sloppy’ to read will definitely lead to loss of marks.


3) Overuse of idioms/phrases

While teachers have always encouraged the use of idioms and phrases to enhance the quality of the essay, overusing might affect the clarity of the content. Even worse,  it may cause a loss of marks if the student’s familiarity of the idiom / phrase or command of language is not strong enough. One obvious reason is that since idioms do not represent the literal meaning of the words put together, they can easily be misinterpreted or misused due to lack of knowledge or overall inexperience with the usage of the idiom/phase.

Too many idioms in an essay can make the writing appear extremely cliche and that is something students should try to avoid. So bottom line is to use idioms and phrases sparingly, and use those that one is familiar with. Sometimes, the use of simple language can better improve the clarity and structure of the essay.

4) Over reliance on your dictionary

Primary students are permitted to consult a dictionary during an examination. This is supposed to be of great help especially when students cannot remember how to write certain words. However due to time constraints, frequent use of the dictionary with all the flipping and searching will cause considerable time to be lost, leaving lesser time to complete the essay.

Other than that, using the dictionary too often will affect a student’s train of thoughts, and the flow of the essay. Students should try to use the dictionary only after the completion of the essay by leaving spaces for the words that needs checking, and writing the “hanyu pinyin” of the word for easy searching later.

5) Being too Complacent

Such a scenario may happen where instead of rushing through the papers, one has worked very efficiently or find the papers to be easy, and has loads of time to spare. Usually students would want to leave the exam room early, if they are allowed to, without checking their answers.

So, even if students have finished their paper early, students should use that extra time at the end to read all the answers, and making sure that they have all been answered to the best of your abilities.

Students should read through what has been written, and sometimes additional points will occur that would be worth adding on, or one may recall certain Chinese words that they have forgotten earlier on.

In conclusion, it is always a good habit to check your papers and submit at the very end.