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How To Pass An Exam Gcse & A Level Revision

How To Pass An Exam - GCSE & A-Level Revision

Read our guide on how to pass an exam in your GCSE & A-Levels

You’d think that knowing everything you can about the subject, being on time for the exam, and answering as many questions as the time allows you to would be enough – i.e. how to pass an exam – right?


Well you’d be wrong.

If you’re serious about passing your exam, and even if you know every ounce of content there is to know for it, you still need to complete your exam sensibly, to be strategic.

So, with the above in mind, here is Part I of our expert guide on how to pass an exam. Any exam.

1) Prep in advance

Know the exam paper: the number of sections/questions, the time allowed for each section/question, and the marks available for each section/question.

2) Plan for the exam

Now that you know the exam inside-out, draw up your battle plan, one you can practise at home and during mock exams.

As an example, take an exam paper that has 3 sections, A, B, and C. A and C are both worth 40% of the final mark while B’s worth 20%. The exam lasts for 2 hours.

Even if ‘B’ is your best section, you should always complete ‘A’ or ‘C’ first as they are worth more marks. So, based on your work throughout the year, decide your best section of ‘A’ and ‘C’ and answer it first, then complete the section you didn’t choose.

This means you’ll leave ‘B’ till last. ‘B’ is worth fewer marks; and, if you run short of time in the exam, struggling to complete ‘B’ will mean you fewer marks than not giving ‘A’ and ‘C’ your best shot.

3) Practise exam papers

Practise your preparation and planning by completing mock versions of the exam: treat your mock exams as the real thing, complete any assessments your teacher gives you, and complete exam questions and papers at home as part of your revision.

4) Tailor your revision

As you practise completing the exam and how to pass it, note the gaps in your skills and knowledge. Target these with extra practice and study so that you can maximise your marks in your weaker questions/sections come exam day.

5) During the exam, stick to your plan

It’s exam day, you’re ready, you’ve done the work, and you open the paper. But it’s not what you’re expecting.

Don’t panic. Remember your preparation, planning, and practise, and stick to these as best you can.

Returning to our example, even if you don’t like ‘A’ and ‘C’, and ‘B’ seems like an easier section, still answer either ‘A’ or ‘C’ first, then the other.

6) Watch the clock

Remember your timing. Even if your first section isn’t going that well and you feel like you need to do more to achieve the marks you want, move on once its time is up.

Complete the other section worth equal marks as best you can, then give the last section your best shot.

If you finish with time left over, you can return to your first section to go after extra marks.

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