Exam essentials: Understanding your exam paper
How well do you know your exam paper?
Knowing the structure of your paper, and how to tackle it, could give you the edge you need to get the grades you crave.
Here are some pointers to get you started:
Read your exam paper all the way through before you start. Don't forget to check the back of the paper for questions you might not have noticed!
Mentally note how many questions there are, and how many marks each question is worth
Practise with past papers so you are familiar with the format of the paper and the type of questions asked.
Once the exam starts, it's tempting to jump right in and just start writing, but taking a few minutes at the start of the exam can actually improve your overall performance and possibly your grade.
Put a few minutes aside before you start answering questions, and read through your exam paper. In particular watch out for:
How many questions there are
The different marks on offer
Which questions are compulsory
Which questions you can answer quickly
Which questions will require more time and thought
Questions on the back page, which you might not notice.
Use this information to work out how much time you need to spend on each question.
Another useful tip is to familarise yourself with the paper structure beforehand by going over past papers. Ask your teacher if you are not sure how to get hold of them.
Now you really are ready. Good luck!