The benefits of using past exam papers
Using past papers will help you to train for your exams, tests, and assessments. You can test your knowledge, develop your question-answering skills, and practice timing your answers.
All of this practice will not only improve your understanding of the subject but will also help you to feel more confident about your exams so it’s a great idea to build it into your revision plan.
Test your knowledge
Revision is often a process of memorizing facts, dates, formulas, and quotes, but the best way to make sure you’ve retained that information is to test yourself on it.
Answering past papers helps you to work out which topics you know really well and figure out what gaps you need to focus on.
By testing your knowledge you can check your revision progress and feel more confident about what you already know.
Apply your knowledge
Memorising your notes will only get you so far. Exams don’t just test what you know, but how you apply that knowledge and demonstrate your understanding of what you’ve been taught. You can expect to be tested in a similar way in your classroom assessments as the assessment materials have been provided by the exam boards.
Exams ask you to solve problems, analyse information and make arguments so it’s a great idea to use exam papers to get used to putting what you’ve learned into practise and develop your answering skills
Understand the questions
Practicing papers can help you to get used to the style of questions that might come up in your exam so that you’ll be better prepared for the real thing. Exam questions use command words to tell you how they should be answered so getting used to recognising and responding to these is really helpful exam prep.
Manage your time
If you’re using past papers, it’s a good idea to set yourself the same time limits that you’d have in an ordinary exam. This will help to give you a sense of how it feels to answer questions against the clock and get used to managing your time well. You’ll be able to see if you can complete the whole paper in time and if not, figure out where you’re going wrong.
There’s a lot to learn from testing yourself, but you can take that learning even further by marking yourself as well. If you download the memo along with a past paper you can use it to check your work. As well as helping you to check your performance, it will also give you a better understanding of how marks are awarded and what was required from each of the questions you answered.
Use this method to analyze and improve your test technique and you’ll be training yourself to do better in assessments and exams.