Some of the most common mistakes that Keystone’s tutors see relate to exam technique. So many marks are lost by students who have not read the question properly and answer the question they thought they read, or wanted to read. Here are a few tips relating to GCSE exam technique:
- You may not know this, but if you cross out a correct answer (and don’t replace it with a wrong answer) the examiner can give you credit for it even though it’s crossed out. As such, make sure you use a single line to cross out, so it can still be read, just in case!
- For numerical questions, make sure you show all your working. Credit will be given for the method even if you don’t get the correct answer.
- For some subjects, short answer questions that are worth up to 4 or 5 marks can be answered with bullet points. Ask your teacher whether bullet-point answers are appropriate in their subject.
- Before you answer any question, look at how many marks are available for it. If there are, for example, 3 marks, then you must make 3 points to secure all 3 marks.
- Don’t spend too long on any one question at the expense of others. As a rough guide, you should aim to spend as many minutes on a question as there are marks for it. Think: ‘a mark a minute’. This means that you should be working for most of the time that the exam is going on, with a short time at the end for checking your work. If you get really stuck on a question, jot down all the keywords you associate with that topic and move on.