I felt really disappointed when I got my science exam back. This is because I made really silly mistakes in the exam which could have easily been avoided during the exam if I wasn’t feeling so cocky and confident during the moment. After the exam, I felt like I did well during my exam, but my results state otherwise. I am pretty sure that this is the worst science test that I have taken in the whole grade 9 course, usually I ace the tests, or get 92% at the lowest, but in this test I only got 91.2%. A lot of people will say “oh you did so well”, well I think otherwise, I think that I did pretty bad and I could have done much better.
Two things that I have learnt about exam techniques, specifically science exams, is that the only thing that is actually needed for a science exam is the keyword. As long as you know the keyword, and you know how to phrase it into different sentences, you will be guaranteed full marks for the question. This was shown in the first question itself, I lost a mark because I didn’t state the keyword that was needed for the answer – the solution is more dilute than the leaf – instead I wrote – the solution has a higher water potential than the leaf – which didn’t give me the mark as I didn’t state the necessary keywords needed. The second thing that I have learnt about exam technique is that we always have to be accurate with our reading, there usually won’t be a range of different answers when the question asks for a reading. This was shown in question number 3, where I somehow managed to get the reading off by .1, even though the scale was right in front of me. I have made this same mistake in a few of my science tests, and I honestly don’t know why I keep getting the readings wrong, maybe I just need to focus and be more in the moment when taking exams.
As I stated in the previous paragraph, keywords are EVERYTHING in science, and I mean everything. The only way to get marks in science is by getting the correct keywords, even if you explained the question properly, you won’t get marks unless you have the specific keywords. In biology, if the question asks you about plant cells put in water (or something within those lines), then osmosis is guaranteed to be one of the keywords. A few other keywords for these types of questions will be – dilute/concentrated, water potential, down a water potential gradient, into the cell/out of the cell. For chemistry, if the question is talking about the rate of reaction then a few keywords will be – collisions, more/less frequent collisions, activation energy, successful collision. If the question is about physics and about things like force and acceleration, you should always remember that if the forces acting on an object are unbalanced, then the object will accelerate at a constant rate, it will not accelerate and an increasing rate.
3 specific mistakes that I have made which shows misunderstanding in 3 concepts are:
- (5a) I wrote that oxide is OH instead of O. This was a misunderstanding as I thought that a hydroxide and an oxide were both the same.
- (3dii) I wrote that since the values don’t go up by the same ratios, they are not directly proportional, but my misconception was that we need to use the evidence given to us, such as the table, and that we have to be more specific about how the data values show that it is not directly proportional. An ideal answer to this question would be the data values in the table show that the values for Power do not double as the values for Current doubles. My main misconception in this question is that I thought we didn’t have to be specific, so I made my answer very broad.
- (8biii) In this question, I wrote that a difference between boiling and evaporation is that boiling produces bubbles, while evaporation does not. For some reason, I thought that this would be a valid answer but turns out that this is not, and that my answer is incorrect. The correct answer, in this case, would be evaporation is only happens at the surface, while boiling happens throughout the liquid // evaporation produces cooling, while boiling does not, etc. My main misconception was that I thought that boiling producing bubbles and evaporation not producing bubbles would be a legit answer.
Looking forward, there are many things that I have to keep in mind. I always have to remember to focus on the exam and to stay in the moment so that I don’t make silly and unnecessary errors. Another thing that I should keep doing in the future is past paper questions. For this exam, I felt pretty well prepared, but I didn’t do as well as I expected, but in the future exams, I will do much better by practising even more with past papers.