Exam Information & Advice

Student Area

Before the exam – revise and devise

Getting started is the most difficult part. So use the ‘10-minute rule’ whenever you are having difficulty.

  • Ditch those four-hour sessions you planned, where only 10 minutes of actual work is completed. Start with the 10 minutes you know you will do. Then have a 10-minute break and start again.
  • When working, work and when relaxing, relax. The two don’t mix.
  • So now you have started, you’ve doubled the time you normally work in an evening and had a 10-minute break, all within the first half hour.
  • Increase the working periods to 30 or 40 minutes and keep the breaks at 10 minutes or less.
  • You’ve made a start.Whenever you have difficulty in starting something you don’t want to do, staring into space won’t help – but the ‘10-minute rule’ will.

Manage your time and plan

  • Ease in an extra half hour of work a day at least, by getting up earlier or taking less time over lunch.
  • Over five days that will give you a minimum of two- and-a-half hours of quality study time. You could now have an evening out.
  • Cover two or three subjects in the one session. Start with the one you dislike most and then look forward to finishing with the one you like best.
  • Try answering some questions from past exam papers. Your teachers will probably be able to provide these, or you can look on the exam board websites.

In the exam room

  • Take six deep breaths before the exam and have a sugary sweet to boost your energy
  • Choose questions carefully and write notes on the question paper to help you remember later. And make sure you answer the question asked. There’ll be no marks if you don’t.
  • If you run out of time, sometimes marks can be gained by completing your remaining answers in outline only. State what you would do and how to do it by outlining the main arguments you would include in an essay – without writing the essay – and by jotting down formulae in science – stating how you would complete the question – without doing the calculations.

After the exam

  • Don’t worry about the exam you have just taken – you can’t do anything about it now. Concentrate instead on the next one, where you can make a difference.

Advice taken from George Turnbull – Ofqual’s Exam Doctor