Syllabus & Past Papers
Get hold of at least 3 years of past papers, the content of them will help you plan your revision.
- Do they follow the course units clearly?
- Is there a clear pattern year to year?
- Make a note of marks awarded for each section.
- Note any subjects that are always present.
Look through the syllabus, this will give you an idea of which topics are likely to be covered in the exam, and if it is not mentioned in the syllabus it will NOT be in the exam.
Start at least 2 weeks before the exam date. Go through your notes and course texts. Get a new revision notebook ready.
- From what you learned about the past exams write down topics likely to be in the exam in order of importance (this will often relate to the marks awarded).
- Alongside each of these topics rank what you are good at down to the least.
Concentrate on your weakest areas of knowledge.
- Make notes, diagrams and memory aids in your notebook. Write facts, figures and key points, do not re-write your class notes.
You will find it helpful to use a past paper to give yourself a mock exam. This should help build confidence and is very important in learning the TIMING of each question. You should plan for a read through of all questions before, time to select questions and roughly plan each, as well as time to check through your answers at the end of the exam. Make a time plan for the examination. Note how much time can be spent on each question, you may choose to spend more time on the compulsory questions and those which give more marks.
Learn the buzz words used in exams and how they should be answered (see the end of this leaflet).
The Exam & Regulations
- Make certain you know the exact time and place of the exam. Work out your transport arrangements for the day itself, if necessary do a "dummy run" to work out your exact travel times.
- Check the regulations, are dictionaries or calculators allowed?
- Is there a candidate number you should know?
Before the Examination
The night before or at least 3 hours before the exam read through your revision notes fully and skim through your course texts or class notes.
- Make sure you get a good nights sleep.
- Eat breakfast.
- Make sure you arrive with time to spare.
- Make sure you have all the materials you need.
- Bring a watch.
Just before entering the exam, skim through your revision notebook to refresh your memory.
During the Examination
- Fill in your details as required.
- Read through all the questions once thoroughly.
- Select your questions. Eliminate those you cannot answer and re-read the rest.
- Start with any compulsory questions. If not applicable start with the question you feel most confident with.
- But keep a close eye on the time and stick to your time plan learned in your "mock".
- Always make a brief plan of what you need to say before you start, you are less likely to forget anything in your answer.
- If you find you are spending too much time on one answer, leave it and come back to it when you have answered the other questions if you have time.
- Do NOT waffle or write everything you can think of about the keyword in the question. Read the question carefully, what exactly is it asking?
- If you feel yourself starting to panic or unable to think, sit back and take a few deep breaths. Do a plan of what you would like to say or look at your existing plan again. Take it step by step.
- Leave plenty of room for additional thoughts. Use one side of paper per question.
- Always answer the full number of questions required.
- If you run out of time write down the key points of your outline plan.
- Do not leave early, fill extra time with re-reading your answers, scan through your rough plans and add anything you may have missed.
- Read through and amend any errors. Cross through clearly anything that you do not want marked.
- Put your name on all your sheets.
After the Examination
Try not to dwell on the exam. This will not change anything. Take time out to relax and enjoy yourself.
Some exam question buzz words:
ANALYSE break into sections and interpret each part
COMPARE look at 2 or more things noting the differences and more importantly similarities.
CONSIDER state your view
CONTRAST show the differences
CLASSIFY organise into related groups
CRITICIZE make your own judgments after ANALYZING
DEFINE give the meaning
DESCRIBE give a detailed account of
DIAGRAM use pictures, graphs and charts
DISCUSS arguments for and against, explain conflicts
ENUMERATE list ideas, qualities and reasons
EVALUATE make a judgment and support it giving good and bad points
EXPLAIN Why? Give reasons or causes
ILLUSTRATE give examples, use diagrams
INTERPRET comment on, give examples, explain relationships and give meaning of
OUTLINE main ideas of a topic
PARAPHRASE put it in your own words
PROVE support answer with facts
REVIEW examine, analyse and comment on statements
STATE explain what you believe and support with evidence
SUMMARIZE give a brief account with conclusions
TRACE show the order of events
VERIFY confirm or establish accuracy of a point of view using examples and evidence.