• Edison

How can I get the highest mark possible by doing the least amount of work?

Students rarely ask out loud how they can get the highest mark possible by doing the least amount of work but I know they often wonder, so here are some suggestions:


1. Write all your steps. Many students skip steps when answering math questions, which often leads to careless errors. Here’s the problem, though: Those careless errors are usually on math the student knows well (that’s why they skip the steps in the first place) and who wants to lose marks on math they know? Nobody! So write all your steps so you reduce, or eliminate, all those careless errors.


2. Here’s another good reason to write all your steps. When a teacher is marking your test, your work has to prove to him or her that you know what you are doing. In other words, you’re not there to defend your answers so it’s essential that what you write on your test explains your work well, and, the only way it can do that is if you write all your steps.


3. Double-check your work. If you finish the test early, do not hand it in! Check it over! You’re in class for the full period, so use the time to catch careless errors.


4. See your teacher for extra help if you are having difficulties, and there are two good reasons to do so.

  • You will increase your math understanding by getting your questions answered one-on-one by your teacher, which can only help with your marks.

  • When you ask for extra help, you are communicating to your teacher that doing better matters to you. Your teacher is giving up his or her lunch, or after-school time, to provide one-on-one teaching to you and your fellow students. In other words, your teacher wants you to ask for help! Even if you only ask your teacher one question, he or she will remember that. Why? Because most students don’t go for extra help!

5. Do your homework. Homework is where you get to practice doing math and we all know that it takes practice to do anything well. In the case of math, homework (a.k.a. math practice) is where you improve your understanding and get a chance to practice doing tougher questions. The better you understand your math homework, the better you will do on tests.


6. Improve your approach to math class. A student who regularly shows up late to class, doesn’t do assigned homework, doesn’t hand in assignments on time, doesn’t pay attention in class, and so on, is clearly communicating their lack of interest in the course material and possibly their lack of respect for the teacher. That’s definitely not going to score many points with your teacher so it might be worth considering a different approach. If you do so, it will probably make your teacher happier and it will definitely help you learn more.