Benefits of Using Past Exam Papers
Preparation is key to any successful exam result, and one of the best methods of preparation is to look at previous exam papers. Even a cursory glance at past GCSE English practice papers can have a profoundly positive effect, for example, when studying for an English GCSE. This isn’t a minority theory either – the majority of Yorkshire schools and awarding bodies accept, condone, and even encourage the use of past exam papers as a revision tool. Here are some simple reasons why.
1. Understand general content
One obvious benefit of past exam papers is they give an insight into the general content of the exam. Obviously the exact specifics will change year to year, but it will give an idea of the way the topics are spread throughout the paper. With GCSEs for example there will likely be multiple topics split up through the whole paper. Looking at previous years’ papers can give insight into breadth of topics that need to be thoroughly understood before the student can consider themselves properly prepared. It can also help highlight potential patterns if multiple years are examined.
2. Learn question wording
Another key benefit of previous exam papers is they give an insight into how general questions are worded. Sometimes this isn’t as clear as it could be – the last place a student wants to spend time deciphering instructions is in the middle of an active exam. Previous exam papers can help a student to understand what specific questions and terms actually mean, and develop suitable answers in response to them. Account for stress, as even if there is no issue with reading comprehension understanding specific instructions can be difficult in a stressful exam environment.
3. Develop specific practice routines
Something else mock papers allow you to do is to provide accurate simulations of the exam environment. Revision is good, and breaking up the routine is also beneficial, but ultimately it will culminate in the student having to sit for an hour or more and work through their exam paper in a continuous fashion. Mock papers allow these simulations to form a part of the wider revision plan, which can also include things like activities and outside assistance from private online English tutoring. Even if you’re Yorkshire based, your tutor can be located anywhere in the country and still provide the student with the same level of practical and qualification-driven guidance.
These three simple tips can help you use previous or mock exam papers to the best of your ability when helping a student to prepare for their upcoming exams. Mock papers are a tried and tested revision tool for studying at all levels, but can be particularly useful when it comes to GCSEs. When used with the other aforementioned strategies like developing a varied revision schedule and investing in the assistance of a private tutor, they can make a pronounced difference.
As with any exam, preparation is key – as such mock or previous year exam papers should form a key part in any Yorkshire student’s revision schedule.