Back to the blog

101 Common mistakes you must avoid at A-Level

By Tom Lenton on 15 December 2017UKblogExam adviceAssessments

Remember when you forgot to save the document the night before the assignment was due? Or when you were sitting in that GCSE Chemistry exam and wondering why you finished a good 10 minutes before everyone else only to find with one minute left that there was a back page? (I actually did that…)

Throughout our time at school we’ve all made stupid mistakes, and hey, your friends found them pretty funny at the time - even if you didn’t. But your A-Levels are also actually kinda important (as your parents probably keep saying), and so squeezing out these silly mistakes now is a good idea.

Now - even though we all got our As here at Atomi, most of us are still pretty lacking in the common sense department. So between us we had a good laugh about all the mistakes we made and all the times we were left thinking our life could be the next Series of Unfortunate Events book.

Basically, we put together a list of 101 stupid mistakes that we made so that you don’t have to:

  1. Misreading the question
  2. Telling yourself you can do it tomorrow
  3. Getting the due date wrong
  4. Missing a page in an exam
  5. Attempting past papers and not marking them
  6. Doing the wrong section of the paper... one that your school actually didn't do
  7. Forgetting to save your work
  8. Forgetting to backup your work
  9. Studying in chronological order not priority order
  10. Thinking that something "won't take that long"
  11. Never reading the actual syllabus
  12. Not sticking to the word limit
  13. Disregarding the keywords of the question
  14. Not checking your answers
  15. Not looking at the clock
  16. Not allocating enough time per question
  17. Forgetting to bring a spare pen
  18. Writing too much or too little
  19. Making study notes and never returning to them
  20. Not making a copy of handwritten stuff
  21. Leaving questions unanswered
  22. Forgetting to return to unanswered questions
  23. Forgetting to write your name/student number on your work
  24. Answering multiple choice questions in the wrong space
  25. Drinking too much water before your exam
  26. Not drinking enough water before your exam
  27. Writing excessively long notes
  28. Using other people's notes instead of making your own
  29. Not putting enough effort into early assessments
  30. Forgetting to convert your units in maths/science
  31. “Refer to Source A”… forgetting to refer to source A
  32. “Refer to Source B”… referring to Source A
  33. Forgetting to hand your phone in before an exam
  34. Leaving your study notes hanging out your pocket in an exam
  35. Deciding to pull an all nighter the night before an exam
  36. Getting the wrong time for an exam
  37. Only studying when you have an assessment coming up
  38. Not checking the prerequisites for uni courses
  39. Only using one method of studying
  40. Not talking to your teachers outside of class
  41. Forgetting to put in your UCAS applications
  42. Not getting someone to proofread your essays
  43. Leaving an assessment till the night before
  44. Leaving an assessment till the morning of
  45. Thinking that group study is ineffective
  46. Cramming too much information to memorise
  47. Panicking during or before an exam
  48. Arriving late to your exam
  49. Not making the most of reading time
  50. Jumping straight into writing without planning
  51. Having illegible handwriting
  52. Not showing your working out
  53. Thinking that reading the textbook counts as study
  54. Not allowing time for a conclusion
  55. Making basic spelling/grammar mistakes
  56. Making basic calculation errors
  57. Ignoring the trends of past papers
  58. Having a cheeky look at your neighbour’s response*
  59. Leaving the exam room early
  60. Spending too much time on one subject
  61. Only studying the ‘fun’ or ‘easy’ topics
  62. Only doing the type of questions you can already answer
  63. Thinking that highlighting is effective study
  64. Letting yourself be distracted by other people in the exam room
  65. Not practicing handwriting your responses
  66. Not practicing in timed conditions
  67. Setting unrealistic goals
  68. Never attempting a full practice paper in one go until the exam
  69. Spending too much time procrastinating by formatting
  70. Thinking you can stick to an unrealistic study schedule
  71. Procrastinating by making ‘to do lists’
  72. Letting one bad mark stop you from putting in effort
  73. Getting too caught up on marks to help others
  74. Thinking you have the ability to predict possible questions
  75. Not structuring your response
  76. Writing essays without an argument
  77. Not supporting yourself with enough quotes/evidence
  78. Making errors with the order of operations
  79. Regurgitating a memorised response without adapting it
  80. Not making the most of your study periods
  81. Putting too much pressure on yourself
  82. Not taking sufficient breaks
  83. Misinterpreting the key terms in a question
  84. Providing multiple answers and hoping that one is correct
  85. Using big words you don’t know the meaning of
  86. Including irrelevant information for the sake of it
  87. Not using a pencil and ruler for diagrams in Science
  88. Incorrectly rounding significant figures
  89. Ignoring the weighting of assessments
  90. Not watching Atomi videos – sorry, I had to.
  91. Going off on a tangent in essays
  92. Letting what other people have done freak you out
  93. Taking easy questions for granted
  94. Not moving on after a bad exam
  95. Not planning your study around your exam timetable
  96. Second-guessing your initial response
  97. Dwelling on a question you can’t answer
  98. Only looking at the mark and not reading feedback
  99. Answering a question twice
  100. Adding up how many marks you think you got
  101. Not numbering your writing books correctly

*this one can get you into serious trouble

Try Atomi for free and receive regular updates from our blog.

Learn More