Feel Confident When Sitting Your Exam

Past exam papers are a useful resource when it comes to revision. With them, you will gain valuable insight into what markers will expect from you and feel confident in understanding how to answer the questions accurately. That said, it's also important that you know how use past papers properly.

Let’s look at how past papers can help with future exams.

Exam papers on a desk in an exam hall

Exam Preparation

Past papers have the added benefit of helping you get a sense of what it will likely feel like in the exam. It can be daunting going into an exam and experiencing the silent working conditions for the first time. Answering the questions under these timed conditions is ideal preparation when it comes to preparing mentally for the real thing.

In a similar way, 'sitting' the past paper lets you get an idea of how long to spend on the different types of question. Again, getting this practice in well ahead of the exams will make a huge difference.

Familiarise Yourself with the Mark Scheme

Don't cheat! Mark schemes are there to show you how to answer the questions, not give you the answer on a plate.

For example, in A-level Maths, you can use the mark scheme to see where you might gain marks for working out even if you get the final answer wrong. Those marks can be crucial when it comes to your final grade, especially if grade boundaries are adjusted. Think of these marks as being like goal difference in football or a bonus point in rugby union. Every little advantage matters.

Again, don't just use them to get the answer!

Prioritise Areas You Find Tricky

Answering past paper questions on the subjects that you find challenging is a great way to build up your confidence and develop your understanding of that subject. Even if you don't get the final answer right, you will still gain valuable practice answering the challenging questions.

Use past papers to identify where you could be stronger.

a person writing in a notebook on a wooden table in front of a laptop.

Track Your Progress

Doing one past past paper is not enough - go through papers from multiple years, including the previous year. This will give you plenty of opportunities to build your confidence when it comes to exam-style questions.

Keep track of the marks you get and how they translate to grades. This, again, will show you where you should direct your focus and identify the areas where you might need improvement.

It is also worth looking at the grade boundaries for that particular past paper. These tend to be adjusted slightly based on difficulty as well as other factors, which is another reason why every mark you can get is so important.

placing wooden blocks with arrows on a blue background

Get Support From a Tutor

We alluded to this earlier but it's worth mentioning again; past papers allow you to find the areas that keep catching you out and identify ones where extra tutor support might be needed.

Even if you get a good mark from a past paper, discuss what you have found with a tutor as they will be able to provide additional resources to help you keep up that momentum.

Ready to Revise?

At Oxbridge, we partner with the UK's leading exam bodies, including AQA, OCR, Pearson Edexcel, and several others, ensuring that all our course materials follow the latest syllabuses and that our students are able to access a range of past papers as part of their revision

Our tutors provide unlimited, ongoing support, and are carefully selected for their subject expertise, meaning that our students are in the best position to reach their goals, whatever they might be.

Speak to our team for more about how we help our students, or choose from our full range of courses here.