Sitting exams can be quite a stressful time for many students, whether it is GCSE or GCE exams. The feeling of this is it, and what happens next can be overwhelming and hard to shake.
I find it best, therefore to know your exam board very well. Every school and every subject chooses their own exam board for their own purposes; as such yours might be different from your friends and siblings. Knowing which exam board and its requirements can be half the road to a successful result at the end.
The first step is to go online and get a copy of the syllabus, if your teacher doesn’t give you one, and that way you can track your way through the course and see how far you are, how much furtherP there is to go, and set your study plans accordingly. The syllabus is also very helpful as it has helpful hints in terms of the structure of the exams, how they work and what the exam board is expecting. If there’s coursework or controlled assessment in your course, they’ll have a mark scheme for that in there too, which you can follow and thusly better your grade with ‘insider knowledge’.
The second step is to read the examiners report for every year. At the end of every summer exam series, the exam board will put out a report of the exams that have just happened. A good student will read this report and see what the students in the previous year did right and wrong in the exam board’s opinion. It will tell you about structure, knowledge and what they were looking for in the answers. It’s very helpful to read and see what the people who were marking the exams were actually looking for; as close as you’ll come to be being able to ask them.
The third step is to ask your teacher if they’re signed up to the exam board’s online system. This can be helpful, as your teacher will then have access to the previous years’ scripts and marks. This can be a useful tool to see where students in your school went wrong and whether there might be an issue with a particular question or topic that you’ve studied. You can then give more attention to this and ensure it’s not a problem for you.
Lastly, the exam boards will have a large amount of past papers on their websites too, which you can use to practice your content and structure. They often come with mark schemes and you have the ability to self assess how well you’ve done and also test your time management skills.
So, it does not have to be a daunting prospect sitting exams come summer time. Make sure you’re familiar with your exam board and their online presence and you should have all the tools you need to excel!
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