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GCSE time! - Last minute tips from bitesize

If you think being prepared for an exam just means revising, think again!

Revising and knowing your stuff are just the first steps towards exam success.

As a tutor I agree that knowing where the exam is, having the right equipment and being in the right headspace are very important too.

The day before

Start your preparation process the day before.

  • Check you know which building and room your exam will be held in and double-check the date and time.

  • Lay out all your equipment and check that your pens are working.

  • Make sure your pencil case is see-through, and that your calculator has its case removed.

  • Now that you have removed any potential worries that may have been playing on your mind, get to bed early, so you will be refreshed and ready for the exam.

  • Don't forget to set your alarm with plenty of time in the morning!

The day of the exam

The big day has finally arrived. Make sure you:

  • Get to your exam 15 minutes before it starts

  • Make sure you take a bathroom break BEFORE your exam starts

  • Implement your stress-relieving techniques, take some deep breaths and remind yourself of the work you’ve done to get yourself there.

How well do you know your exam paper?

Knowing the structure of your paper, and how to tackle it, could give you the edge you need to get the grades you crave.

Here are some pointers to get you started:

  • Read your exam paper all the way through before you start. Don't forget to check the back of the paper for questions you might not have noticed!

  • Mentally note how many questions there are, and how many marks each question is worth

  • Practise with past papers so you are familiar with the format of the paper and the type of questions asked.

Once the exam starts, it's tempting to jump right in and just start writing, but taking a few minutes at the start of the exam can actually improve your overall performance and possibly your grade.

HSC Medway Maths Tutor advises: "If you do not know the answer of a question, do not guess right away. Skip and return later, you will more likely to answer at the second look."

Put a few minutes aside before you start answering questions, and read through your exam paper. In particular watch out for:

  • How many questions there are

  • The different marks on offer

  • Which questions are compulsory

  • Which questions you can answer quickly

  • Which questions will require more time and thought

  • Questions on the back page, which you might not notice.

Use this information to work out how much time you need to spend on each question.

HSC Medway English tutor advises: "Timing and planning for a few minutes before you write an essay is the most important skill for GCSE English."

Another useful tip is to familiarise yourself with the paper structure beforehand by going over past papers. Ask your tutor if you are not sure how to get hold of them.

Good luck from us, HSC Medway!

Original video blog post are on https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/articles/zng2vk7

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