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Should You Spot Questions for Your Student?

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What does it mean to ‘spot questions’?

Also known as predicting questions, this is usually done during the exam period when students and tutors predict the questions that will come out in the exam in order to concentrate students’ revision time on specific topics or areas of study.

But there has been much debate online on whether spotting questions is actually beneficial for our students or not. So as tutors, should we spot questions for our students?

Benefit of Spotting Questions


When you spot questions for your student, you make their revision sessions more effective and efficient. Predicting test questions allows your student to focus on specific chapters or topics, so they just need to study these areas instead of the entire textbook.

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After all, only a limited number of topics can come out during the exam. This helps them conserve their time and effort and reduces the chances of them facing an unexpected question during the exam, which keeps them calm and less prone to test anxiety.

Disadvantages of Spotting Questions


Despite the many benefits of spotting questions, its ‘high-risk, high-reward’ nature holds many students and tutors back from predicting exam questions.

If you predict right, then your student would be sufficiently prepared. But if you predicted the questions wrong, your student wouldn’t have studied for the question and cannot answer it.

How to Spot Questions for Your Student?


One way to make sure that spotting questions is not harmful to your student is by making sure that they briefly revise other topics too. This way, they still know the information for questions that were not predicted.

Another way to ensure that spotting questions benefits them is to ensure that your predictions are accurate. So here are some tips for how to accurately spot questions for your student:

Predict the topic


Try predicting the topics that would come out instead of the questions. This decreases the chances of your students facing an unexpected question because they would study the entire topic instead of focusing on a specific point in the chapter.

Make the questions more generalised


Make the predicted questions more generalised, for example, instead of “Why did Singapore break away from Malaya?”, try “The breaking away of Singapore from Malaya”. This way, your student can answer different variations of the question, including why, when, how, who and the consequences.

Look at the trends from past exam papers


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One of the more popular ways to predict exam questions is by studying the trends of past exam papers. For example, if you notice that “area of a polygon” was tested in the previous year, it is unlikely to appear in the upcoming exam. So your student doesn’t have to concentrate much on it.

Is it new?


For many subjects, the examiners tend to make the exam questions related to real-life issues, especially issues that are more recent. For example, if a new government policy is announced, there is a high chance that it might appear in your student’s social studies paper. So keep up with the news and get your student to read up on it.



Spotting exam questions poses many risks to students’ performances during the exam. But it also offers many benefits that give students the upper hand in the exam hall.

We just need to predict the questions accurately and ensure students don’t skimp on revising the other topics. Then, spotting questions will become our students’ greatest asset during the exam period.

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Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.