How to win in any exam

This advice blog is deliberately short to reduce any time away from revision or relaxing - only the gold dust is included!Here are some important exam techniques that will save you from making silly mistakes and losing marks as you work through each paper. Give them a go with each past paper you try and by the time the exams come round, they will all be second nature!

Visual techniques

  • Highlight or underline key words or bits of information in the question you think you might forget about;
  • *Star* questions you are unsure about rather than dwelling on them for a long time. You can then quickly spot which ones to come back to when checking through the paper at the end;
  • Create an 'information box' for any mathematical questions containing all values and units given to you and ones you derive. You can use this to select which equation is most useful to answer the question.

If you're ever stuck...

  • Read ahead in the question as they often give away units, equations or suggestions for what the answer should look like;

  • If you have very little idea how to start, read the full question and then leave the question for later - you'll be surprised how much thinking your brain does in the meantime to help you make sense of it!

  • If you don't know something and you've done a sensible amount of revision - chances are, you're not supposed to know it. The examiners often test to see if you can apply common sense, can use a process of elimination or can apply your knowledge to a new situation. Go with it and trust your instincts.

Tackling long answer questions

  • With the dreaded six-markers, the best way to answer them is to tell a story as if it was a 6 page children's book. One simple, methodical sentence on each page to tell the story to the examiner, always starting right from the beginning by setting the scene.

How to check answers

  • Double check all units afterwards. Have you used the right ones in the equation? Does your answer have the correct units? Have you written the units in if you need to?
  • Count the marks for each question; have you answered enough points to get that many marks if you were the examiner? If there seems to be a lot of marks for what feels like a simple question, re-read to see if there is a catch!
  • Always ask yourself: 'Does this answer make sense in the context of the question?'. Knowing a range of values you should get will help you sense-check everything numerical and will leave you feeling confident walking out the exam hall!

Best of luck for all your exams and do get in touch if you ever need any exam advice!

Kathryn - LearnSmart Academy Founder

Kathryn - LearnSmart Academy Founder