Six points about doing past papers


Six points about doing past papers:

1. Do them in 90 minutes and as near to exam conditions as you can manage. If you don’t finish in 90 minutes, then you don’t finish. Think about how you can be quicker next time.

2. Always mark your work. Calculate a total mark out of 75, and a percentage.

3. After your 90 minutes, check through all your mistakes and the questions you haven’t got to. If you don’t see how to do a question even after giving yourself more time and checking with the mark scheme, ask me.

4. Write your work so as to make it easy for both yourself and the marker to see what you are doing. Leave spaces between lines. Preferably start each question on a new page. Make your diagrams big and neat. Write words to explain what you’re doing. Remember, the marker is not as clever as you, and may be marking your paper late at night, after a hard day, in a bad mood.

5. Read through each paper before you start working on it. Do the questions easiest first, hardest last, which may not be the order they are on the paper. Remember long questions, or certainly bits of long questions, are often easier than short ones.

6. Practising the questions you find easy is as important as practising the ones you find hard. If you can make yourself 100% reliable and speedy on the questions you find easy, then you guarantee yourself a minimum of marks, and you guarantee yourself maximum time and confidence to tackle the questions you find harder. Some students find it useful to do concentrated work on booklets of past-paper questions sorted by topic, which are provided on this website, but on the whole I think doing whole past papers is most effective.