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5 Common mistakes 1

5 Common Mistakes Your Child Should Not Make in Science

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First Mistake – Did not link the knowledge back to the question



By stating the knowledge only, the answer is not linked back to the question and the student does not get any marks.

Refer to the examples in Second Mistake on the linking knowledge back to the question.



Second Mistake – Fails to read the questions carefully



Many students know the science knowledge but fail to grasp the requirement of the question.

Science facts
Birds lay eggs.
Birds have feathers.

Still, many students fell for the traps in this question.

Which of the following is/are characteristic(s) observed in all birds but not in other animals?

A     They have feathers on their bodies.
B     They lay eggs.
C     They can fly.

Common answer from students:  A, B and C.

The above answer is wrong.


Only sentence A is correct.



When a question mentions “all birds”, it means both male and female birds.

Male birds DO NOT lay eggs.

Ostriches have wings but cannot fly.


The student needs to read the question carefully.



Third Mistake – Identify the wrong concepts.



In the science exam, each question has a specific concept that the student must find out.



The diagram below shows a pair of sunglasses.


Which of the following properties should the material be used to make part Z?

A       Waterproof

B       Allows light to pass through

C       Strong


The common answer from students: A and C only.

The answer above is not correct!


Why do students not choose B?

Wrong concept: Students were taught the concept of sunglasses blocking the sunlight.


Correct answer: A, B and C.

Correct concept: Sunglass blocks most of the sunlight so that the person can still see what’s in front of them.

If not, the person will hit his head on the wall.



Fourth Mistake – Use incorrect keywords



By not using the correct keywords or missing any keywords, the teacher will interpret the answer very differently.


Study the flower below.


Based on the diagram above, state the method of pollination. Give a reason for your answer.

Wrong answer: Wind pollination. The flower has feathery stigma.

The examiner is puzzled. How is the feathery stigma related to wind pollination?

The answer above is just describing the picture.


Correct answer: Wind pollination. The feathery stigma increases the surface area to capture the pollen grains carried by the wind.

By stating the function and link it back to wind pollination, you give the examiner a clear reason for choosing wind pollination.

This example brings me to the last common mistake:



Fifth mistake – Memorise template answers


This is the most dangerous mistake of them all.

There are two important problems with memorising answers:

  1. Sentence structure is disjointed and does not answer the question
  2. No application of science knowledge. This is an important skill needed in almost every question.


Students are taught this template answer when it comes to explaining why the child looks like his or her parents:

“The child inherits characteristics from his parents.”

By memorising template answers, the student’s answers are not clear at all.

The student needs to know how to apply scientific knowledge to the exam question.


Study the diagram showing Mr Lim’s family

Explain why David resembles both his parents?

Wrong answer: David inherits characteristics from his parent.


The student will not get any marks by using the template answers.

The student needs to apply the knowledge of inheriting characteristics to the question.


Correct answer: David inherits his father’s narrow eyebrow and inherits his mother’s round chin.

The student needs to identify the characteristics David has inherited from each parent.


Don’t memorise all the templates. This will not work in the Science exam.


Master the correct thinking process!


Scienceshifu trains your child to:

1) Spot clues in the question

2) Identify the correct science concepts involved

3) Once the concepts are identified, work on explaining their answers clearly with the correct keywords

4) Once the thinking processes are clear, your child is able to master ALL the questions in the science exam easily.



Train your child the correct scientific thinking process

right away!



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