In my previous post I said that I would be looking at my favourite revision tool. Without a doubt my number one approach to revision is the use of past papers!
Over the many years of my teaching career I must have helped many students with their exam revision, and whilst I agree that one approach does not suit all, I have found that going over past papers has had the greatest benefit in helping students to reach their potential.
So where do you start? The first thing is to find a good source of exam papers. If you can get the corresponding mark schemes and examiners’ reports then even better. I use a site called ‘Save My Exams’ as my source of materials. (https://www.savemyexams.co.uk)
Using Google you can search for free papers, but with ‘Save My Exams’ you are able to download topic-specific sets of exam questions. This is really helpful when you’re revising particular areas of the specification.
What’s so great about using past papers? There are several compelling reasons. Firstly, you need to understand exactly what the examiners are asking you for. What are the command words? How much detail do you need to provide? Secondly, there are only a limited number of questions that the examiners can ask you. How many different ways are there to ask questions about photosynthesis?
You will see very similar questions appearing over and over again, so if you’ve had experience of a wide range of questions then you should know what to expect. If you’re organised, then you can file the papers away with your revision notes, and you will be on your way to producing excellent revision resources!
In my next post I will be looking at how you can use past papers most effectively.