Now that you’re studying your GCSE, exams become an important part of your assessment criteria and preparation for A-levels. The use and importance of past papers, therefore, cannot be over-emphasised. So what’s the big deal about past papers?
Know what you know
Firstly, they help you establish what you already know through listening in class and doing your assessment activities and homework assignments. This means you can identify areas that need extra attention in order to fill in the gaps, as well as areas where you show strength and needn’t focus so much of your revision time.
Keep time on your side
Time management is an important life skill to develop, and exam preparation is one of those ways you’re going to learn to exercise it. By creating an exam time table for your revision, you’ll ensure you have plenty of time to take in all the necessary information. However, it’s one thing to feel prepared for your exam with all the facts, dates and figures, it’s another thing entirely managing your time effectively during the exam so that you get through all the questions without running out of time or ending up in a panic, which will impact your ability to think clearly and confidently. Past papers are the most effective way to get to know the exam environment and practice pacing yourself so that each question, whether it’s multiple-choice, short answer or essay, is allocated the right amount of time in accordance with its mark allocation.
Familiarity is your friend
Exams can be daunting, but it’s especially important to keep a clear head and to have a solid understanding of what is expected when answering a question. By doing past papers, you’ll familiarise yourself with vocabulary, terminology, and styles of questions.
Remember, some questions will be assessing your knowledge and understanding of key features and characteristics of a period studied, others will require you to explain and analyse historic events or themes, while others still will require you to compare and contrast source material and contextualise it in the historic environment. All of these questions require you to substantiate your answers using facts.
These questions will also be awarded marks in levels, i.e. basic, simple, developed and complex. By practicing with past papers, you’ll have access to mark schemes, which examiners use to evaluate your responses. This way, you’ll get to know what’s expected for each type of question and how to answer in the best way to achieve the most marks.
Where do I find past papers?
Right here, of course! School History has hundreds of examination-style questions to help you practice for your history exams. By signing up, you’ll not only have access to past papers but thousands of resources related to what you’re studying, including notes, activities, quiz questions and more. Take a look below at the major examination boards we cover. Give yourself every advantage to excel in your exams and sign up today!