10 mistakes students make when answering subjective questions

10 mistakes students make when answering subjective questions. Read this informative post and put the right ideas in to practice 5 Videos that will help 2023 BECE and WASSCE students blow their exam

Students always make mistakes when answering subjective or theory base questions and this leads to avoidable failure.

Passing any examination demands good preparation, but once you enter the exam hall, how well you answer the questions and the facts you provide as answers play a critical role in determining your result.

It is sad that many students fail to score good marks in their examinations because they make one or more of the 10 mistakes discussed here when they are answering subjective or theory base questions.

As you are aware, subjective or theory base questions are questions that require students to provide written answers. In this article, we will share with you some of the mistakes that lead to poor performance in the examination.


10 mistakes students make when answering subjective questions

#1. Failure to read questions carefully

The failure of students to read the questions posed by the examiner more carefully contributes to poor grades. Since students do not read to understand fully the requirements of the question, they end up providing wrong answers or incomplete answers. Once a student fails to read and understand the question very well, there is likely to be a mismatch between the demands of the examiner in terms of answers and the answers written by the student.

#2. Providing irrelevant information

While some students write less, there are some students who overwrite answers and push a lot of “rubbish” to the examiner as answers. Very often, those who overwrite end up providing answers that do not relate to the question being answered. Going round and round the answer with irrelevant facts only makes it easy for you to fail an exam. Learners must be able to raise the relevant points and provide explanations that fit the demands of the question, and this starts from understanding the question after reading it.

#3. Not organizing their answer

A student who knows the answers but cannot put them out in a more organized way is likely to fail an exam. There are learners who fail to plan their answers and such students hardly brainstorm or where they brainstorm, they do not jot down or list points to be explained. Once you identify the answers, you also need to structure them well and come out with how you are going to present them to the examiner. Poorly planned and organized answers or scripts can lead to a loss of marks.

#4. Failing to address the key points

It is common to see students raise good points in essays but fail to explain them. Sometimes, they are tempted to write a very simple sentence without adding the needed facts. Once a student uses this lazy approach, the examiner will not award the full marks. This, when done too often with nearly all questions, can lead to the candidate failing the examination.

#5. Making personal assumptions

Sometimes, students while answering questions assume what the question requires of them instead of reading and understanding the actual demands of the question. This happens if they fail to patiently read the question with clarity.  If a student fails to understand a question and assumes a different understanding of the question, the possibility of him or her deviating goes up.

#6. Failing to provide examples

When answering questions, students need to provide concrete examples to support their answers. For instance, if a student is required to explain the term food, he or she must ensure an example of food is provided as part of the answer. Examination questions do not state categorically that provide examples, but common sense and question-answering skills should tell you that provide examples as often as you can. These examples can be sketches, diagrams, or names of things that relate to the facts you are putting across. The lack of solid examples weakens your answers. Sometimes, a student may provide a not-too-good answer, but the provision of good examples covers up the weakness in the answer.

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#7. Writing in a disorganized manner

The act of writing is key in providing answers to questions. When students just write answers anyhow and make it difficult for the examiner to follow the ideas and thoughts expressed, the student is likely to score low marks. This often happens when the student fails to spell well and uses the wrong vocabulary, punctuation, and grammar. This is why it is always recommended that students allocate time in the exam hall to read through their answers before they submit the scripts.

#8. Students memorizing answers instead of understanding the concept is another danger

 If you memorize answers r notes and the examiner rearranges the questions or changes the wording, you can get confused. But if you understand the concepts along with memorizing, you are better off and able to explain the facts in your own words. Once you decide to just memorize, you can get confused or forget the facts or miss a few lines in the sentences memorized, and that can spell doom for you.

#9. Poor time management in the exam hall

Some candidates always never fully answer questions because they do not plan their work and waste so much time on earlier questions. This way, they have less time to answer other questions.

This is one of the reasons why planning and brainstorming are key in the exam hall. Students must allocate time to each question and also make time for proofreading the answers.

If an exam is a 60-minute paper and the candidate is expected to answer 3 questions, it means each question is about 15 minutes, and planning and proofreading is 15 minutes as well.

Once you spend 15 minutes on one question, leave some adequate space and start answering the next question.

Very often you are likely to score more marks from a new question than wasting time on a question you have been solving all this while.

#10. Failing to number answers correctly

There are students who mix up question numbers and allocate wrong question numbers to their answers. Others seem to set their own questions in the exam hall, while some end up not numbering answers at all.

All these can be punished by the examiner, leading to failure.

Not managing time effectively: Students may spend too much time on one question, leaving inadequate time for the rest of the exam, or skipping other questions entirely. Ensure that the question numbers are boldly written.


If students can work hard to avoid these 10 mistakes students make when answering subjective or theory base questions, better scores can be obtained in the exam hall.

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