How many past papers have you looked at or worked through?
1? 3? Maybe 5??
Most students I know barely look at past papers.
That’s like trying to pass a driving test without actually having driven before.
Past papers (and this is for any subject) is one of your best tools to understand how to do exams and skyrocket your grade.
Here’s what you can learn from past papers:
– What to expect in the exam: most exams – especially maths – follow a simple structure and the same one year after year.
– What kind of questions come up: There are only so many ways you can ask a question on the quadratic formula, or circle theorems, or any topic really. The more exam papers you look at the more likely you will find a familiar question in your real exam.
– How to do the exam: You don’t have to go in order and you don’t have to spend ages on the first few questions. There is a much better way to do a GCSE maths exam, which I will share with you.
– Build familiarity: This one might be the most important. The reason exams are stressful is because we worry about what might come up. We are worried it will be something we don’t know or recognise.
The more past papers you do, the more familiar exams become. This means we get less panicked and stressed when it comes to the real thing. So it’s far less likely that you’ll forget something due to stress.
Unfortunately, the proper way to use past papers to improve your exam technique and increase the marks you get is not taught correctly in schools.
So I’m going to teach you.