HE Exams Wiki

Once you've worked through the course, whether that is via a textbook, correspondence course, with a tutor etc, you will need to spend some time doing practice papers / mock exams. Most students find this a valuable experience.

You can usually download past exam papers, mark schemes and examiners' reports from the page on the exam board for that particular qualification.  Have a look at the subject pages on this wiki for more resources on each subject (see Main Page for list of subjects), and if you're still short of material, post on the HE-Exams list to ask for suggestions.  The most recent past paper will normally be secure download only from the exam board as schools use these for mocks.  The exam boards will only allow exam centres to download locked papers from their sites, but you can usually source a copy via the HE-Exams group.

  • When doing practice papers, students may find it helpful to mark it themselves and become familiar with the mark scheme so they know what markers are looking for.  Read the Examiner's Report too - reading about other people's mistakes may save you from making some yourself!
  • How many marks per minute? Pay attention to timing; during practice exams, divide the total number of marks by the minutes available so you have a 'marks per minute' number.  Then, when you look at the number of marks available for a question, you know roughly how long to allow for it.
  • The marks available tell you also how many points you need to make in an answer.  If there are 3 marks available, generally you need to make at least 3 points - even if this involves spelling out something you think is obvious.
  • Do some past papers under exam conditions - in a quiet room, with strict exam timings - to help you pace yourself.
  • If you have some revision time available, but don't have time or stamina to work through a full past paper, you don't need to do one all in one go.  Look at the marks per minute, as noted above, and give yourself questions to suit the available time.
  • You may need to look at the previous specification if there are not many past papers available for your qualification.  Often the changes between specifications are quite small so you may find that the old papers are still good practice.  The exam board may have a document explaining changes from one specification to the next, available under 'teacher support materials' on the subject page. Otherwise, you need to look for questions which are similar in style to the current ones, and compare the specifications.

Revision Tips[]

All In The Mind from BBC Radio 4, on which revision techniques work.

Quizlet - Free online study tool site offering screen flashcards and various games and options to help you learn them.  Search for a ready-made set on your subjects (eg 'Biology IGCSE'), or make your own.  

Memrise - mnemonic program.  Search for your subject or create your own course.  Especially good for languages but used for other subjects too.

Coggle - free Mind Mapping-style program

GetRevising.co.uk - free site with tools to create mind maps, flashcards, revision timetables and more.

MindMeister free Mind Map software