Math Tests: Correcting Careless Mistakes

Some kids struggle with math tests. They seem to understand math concepts but when it comes to the tests, they often fail almost every test. They’ll make careless mistakes or seem to forget everything they’ve been taught.

It’s easy to help them if you can figure out why they’re not doing better on math tests.

Some reasons your kids could be making careless mistakes include:

  • First of all, if they race through things, they’ll probably race through math tests and make mistakes. In this case, suggest they put their pencil down before starting each problem. This simple act helps kids slow down, catch their breath and start fresh on the next problem.
  • Other kids make careless mistakes because they don’t stay focused. For example, some kids add when there’s a minus sign and vice versa. When this is the case, suggest that they circle the plus or minus sign before doing the math problem.
  • Another common issue is keeping numbers lined up. If you think this is a problem, show your kids how to use lined paper turned sideways (or graph paper) to help keep numbers in line.
  • They can also subvocalize while they’re doing math problems. This means talking to themselves while they do the problem. They can even just move their lips which will help them stay focused.
  • Finally, some kids make mistakes because they get anxious every time they have to take a math test. They’re so fearful they’re going to fail that they can’t focus on what they’re doing.

As a parent, be sure you aren’t putting pressure on your kids. Some parents set their children up for failure by putting their kids down every time they do poorly. Instead of becoming frustrated which will just upset them, find out what’s causing your kids to make these mistakes. Then help by giving them appropriate strategies.

Be sure and leave a comment. What tricks have you discovered to help your child with math and math tests?


  1. I am a student , i have maths test on Tuesday .. I will keep this in mind 😉

  2. I am the mom of a grade 7 boy. The last reason listed above is an issue for me. My son understands the concepts but gets too anxious when asked to solve problems on his own. He gives upimmediately and as a result makes silly errors. This has started since the last few months. We have tried speaking to him over and over again but with no change. When this pattern continues, I get frustrated.
    With exams next week, I am really worried.

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