Has it been suggested to you that you make past papers a part of your Matric revision? If so then you have been given good advice. But did you know that using past exam papers can be useful as far more than just a ‘test run’ for the real thing? Here are the top three ways they really can help and make a difference in your studies as you prepare for those big exams.
For Pure Practice
The most obvious – to most people anyway – way that past papers can help any student studying for any exam is to simply use them to practice answering the kinds of questions that a student is likely to be faced with when they turn their exam paper over.
This is not only useful because it gives you a way to access in just what areas you need to put in the most work in terms of extra revision but also to become more familiar with the way that the questions themselves are usually formatted. Although brand new papers are written and set every year the style, phrasing and format of the questions is usually quite similar from year to year.
You can also choose to replicate ‘exam conditions’ complete with silence and a time limit. Learning the material is one thing but often being able to effectively apply and convey it within a limited amount of time can be quite another. By practicing past papers using the proper time limits you will be able to better determine if your basic time management skills need more work as well.
For Better Organization and Study Focus
The use of past papers can be very useful early in your study process as well. By reviewing a number of past papers on the same subject you can very often begin to get a clearer picture of the range of material that is covered and that can help you decide which topics to revise when. Using the past paper questions take them one by one and ask yourself just what you will have needed to have spent time studying in order to successfully answer that particular question and then make sure that that topic is added to your ‘master revision list’ and given the time and attention it deserves.
For Familiarity and to Calm Nerves
Even the very best students sometimes sabotage their own chances of exam success success because they are so nervous about the general idea of taking an exam that could significantly impact their academic future they make mistakes they would not usually have done in a ‘calmer’ situation.
For these students sometimes the relatively simple act of working through past papers under exam conditions can help calm those nerves as the more they get used to the way the questions are phrased and the material they have learned is expected to be applied can really help dispel many of their fears and trepidations leading to a better – and more confident – ‘performance’ on their ‘big day(s)’.