The Advantage of Looking Back at Your Work


My dad is always talking about checking your work. He runs a business where buildings are formed from his work. This seems so important that I would think everyone checks their work. But he says they don’t, that his company spends a lot of time fixing other company’s work.

Recently, we had Standardized Testing at my school. Instead of the usual FCAT that most public schools do (I go to a private school), we do ITBS and Cogat. ITBS stands for Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and Cogat stands for Cognitive Abilities test. Our teacher told us that the tests were created so that we should finish all the problems. She said that if we finish early then we should check our work before going to read our books. She also said that studies show that kids who check back at their work get higher scores. I, unlike my comfort zone, did do this and spent a lot more time on every problem than I usually do. I would then go back and check it again.

Well, at first I had many disappointments with this procedure. I would never find anything incorrect, and I did not get to complete 3 of the problems. Two were from the Cogat, and one was from the “Math Computation” in ITBS. I was not sure if this was good or bad. I believed that it was good that I was spending more time analyzing my work, but on the other side of the scale I believed it was bad because I didn’t get to finish the problems. On top of that, I figured out what the answer was RIGHT after the teacher said, “Pencils down.” Except for one, which took me about 5 extra seconds to guess. However, on the last day of testing, my luck changed.

We had to finish 3 Language Arts-related tests. The second-to-last test we took, I believe titled “Usage and Expression”, where I proved the studies right. I finished my problems and went to the boring process of checking all of my problems. Right, Right, Right. I am confident with my answers. But then, I come to a story. It is about a girl named Andrea, and it’s her first day in her new school. After recess, she notices a note on her desk from a girl named Bonnie, who wants to be her partner at the field trip. The note made them become best friends for the rest of the school year. We had to take unnecessary sentences out, change wording, and move places of sentences. I started checking it, and you wouldn’t believe what happened. I got THREE problems wrong, almost in a row! That would’ve affected my score a considerable amount, and it balanced out the ones I didn’t have time to finish. After this, even though it was only the second-to-last test, I knew to always be more careful with checking my answers after that.

What I want to get across is the basic principle that looking over things will generally give you a better score, grade, salary, or reputation. If you look over your work, people will respect you, from co-workers as to bosses. Co-workers will respect you as being the right guy to look up to. Bosses will respect you as a man/woman who takes their job seriously and puts lots of effort into it. And, as what happened to me, you may find last-minute, easy to miss mistakes which can seriously affect your score.

When you apply this to my dad’s business, it becomes even more important. Buildings are being created. Why would anyone creating building NOT want to check their work?

Jake Gould

(11 years old – 6th Grade student. My short list of hobbies include: Boy Scouts, Mensa, reading, using electronics, blogging, Legos, and organizing his 300+ book collection. I live in Jacksonville, Florida)