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4 Ways to Use A-Level Past Papers

A-Level Past Papers

Love them or loathe them, Easter revision has begun (which means the summer is edging closer…) and your stacks of past papers are lying untouched. However, after endless mind maps have been created and notes have been summarised, using past papers are the best way to test your knowledge.

In this handy blog, you’ll find out about how to best use these little booklets of wonder…

Read how to get an A* in A-Level Biology

1. Practise under timed conditions

Each exam this summer will last for about one and a half hours. You want to do your best and show your skills to the examiner. It really goes without saying, but having the ability to prioritise questions over others in strictly timed conditions is a key skill to have.

You’ll have heard your teachers say to not spend too long on a one mark question when there’s a six marker over the next page.

Therefore, when it comes to ploughing through those past papers, remember to do them under timed conditions. This is a great way to practise working quickly and to get a sense of how long you will have to complete the real thing.

Read the 3 Most Effective A-Level Revision Techniques>>

2. Revise topics you’re not sure of

Don’t you just love getting questions right? We all love feeling confident with our work – however, true progress can only be made if you focus on your weaknesses as well as your strengths.

Don’t spend a whole night again revising the structure of a eukaryotic cell if you can’t remember the stages of meiosis! We all love feeling in control but don’t kid yourself by going over the same easy topic again and again.

Read How to Create an Effective Revision Timetable>>

3. Look at the mark scheme

You’ve completed your first past paper and you weren’t sure about the essay question in the middle. However, you decide to move on to the next booklet and leave the paper behind. Again, however, you don’t feel confident with the essay question.

If this sounds like something that you do, the most important thing that you can take away from this blog is to remember to mark your work.

After all, you wouldn’t begin to bake a cake if you didn’t first check that you had an oven to work with. The checking process of your work is just as important as completing it. This leads very nicely to the final tip…

Read 3 Tips to Get an A* in A-Level Maths>>

4. Use examiner reports

Both the examiner reports and mark schemes can be found on your exam board’s website. The examiner report is a document written by the people who will mark your exam and is useful for when you’re unsure.

Was the last question of this paper considered a hard question? Look at the examiner report. How should you mark the last question? Look at the examiner report. Did you need to include all of these points to get the mark? Look at the examiner report!

Words: Matthew Heneghan

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