Many students often ignore the benefits of using past test papers when it comes to doing their note revisions or preparing their test reviewers for an incoming test.
Past test papers can help you understand how your teachers would organise the exams for that subject and how it will be graded.
Fortunately, past test papers are available online and in a school’s library so students can check them out. However, how should they be analysed as part of one’s exam preparations?
To help you get started, here are some examples on how you can use free exam papers:
Learn the Exam Structure
Even if teachers have to make new exams every semester or year to ensure students don’t just memorise facts without analysing what they memorised, they tend to use the same exam structure and wording for their exams.
By reading previous test papers, you will be able to see certain quirks on how an exam is written for a particular subject and prepare accordingly.
When you check these free exam papers, check if they are done in sections, what type of questions are asked, what parts did they cover and how much time can you allot in each question.
Once you know these facts, you can get a general idea on how you can plot your reviewer and even prepare your mindset on how the exam can go.
Do Mock Exams
Another great way in using free exam papers is by using them as mock papers and conduct a timed mock exam.
With a mock exam, you will be able to determine if you can stick to the time limit you set for each question, answer as best as you could without checking your notes and stop yourself from talking to your fellow examinees.
Mock exams can also help you condition your mindset for the exam and also help you determine where you need to improve on in terms of the type of question you may find in the exams and how much time you should allot to them.
This is also a good way to determine where you need to revise on in terms of the subjects you find difficult to work with and help analyse questions for hints.
If you will not do a timed mock exams but still try your best to answer it without notes, take note of the questions you found difficult to answer.
Mark the question accordingly and once you are done with the exam, look up the answer and try analysing the question from there.
Stop The Temptation to Cheat
When you find yourself facing a tricky question, you may be tempted to cheat in order to answer that question.
You may be tempted to try checking for the question on a past exam and use the answer there to answer the question before you.
However, this should not be done because even if you try calculating backwards to reach the same conclusion as that in the old exams, the question in the real test may be asking for something else.
Considering this, it is best you skip tricky questions, answer the questions you can answer and just get back to the tricky questions when you have the time.
Review the Papers Several Times
Just like regular exam reviewers, it is ideal to repeat past papers as much as you can because once you pass through it once, you will be able to spot the quirks and score higher in your next attempt.
Of course, you should practice with other papers as well and try repeating them to see how well you fared after a proper review.
Make sure to review the papers at random so your brain stays sharp and help you respond faster when confronted with the real exam.
Get Your Answers Marked
If you are attempting to answer past exams for practice, doing it on your own is good because you will be able to determine how well you can answer, what parts you are having troubles with and help you focus.
However, it is still best to get them marked to see if the answers you wrote in these exams is worth double points or not.
Try asking a friend to grade your exam, or if not, mark it yourself. Some exam groups often release mark schemes to help reviewers understand the grading system and help them plan accordingly.
It is ideal to get someone else to grade the exam because some exam questions, such as essays, cannot be marked easily on your own.
You can also try approaching your teachers or tutors to get your mock exams graded. They can help you determine which answers you need to improve on and they can also tell you how to answer certain questions.
Seek Help from Friends
Sometimes, doing your own revisions without help can cause you to miss one or two things that you should include in your reviewer. In this case, you may need to get help to cover everything for your exams.
Seek help from your friends and ask them to help you look into the past exam papers. With their help, you can learn techniques in answering tricky questions and you can even make an exam model which you can apply during your exams.
They can even help you discover the exam quirks you may have missed during your self-review. You can even ask them to mark your exam answers and get critics on how it can be improved.
Exams are a key part of one’s academic success and as early as now, students must explore all the avenues available to help with their exam preparations.
Past exam papers can help students not just get an idea on how their exams might go, it will even help their mindset focus on the test at hand.
Even if these questions won’t appear in the real exam you are preparing for, they hold the key on how you can answer your exams faster and ensure you prepare correctly.
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