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GCSE Physics Test Format: What to Expect on the Day

Knowing what to expect on the day of your GCSE physics test will calm your nerves and enable you to perform at your best. To help you get into a positive frame of mind before exam day, we’ve put together this post to take you through the test format step-by-step.

First of all, let’s summarise the subjects that you’ll be assessed in. In GCSE physics, there are eight broad topic areas, spread out over two test papers:

1. Energy

2. Electricity

3. Particle model of matter

4. Atomic structure

5. Forces

6. Waves

7. Magnetism and electromagnetism

8. Space physics

GCSE Physics Test Paper

The first test paper covers the first four topics in the syllabus, i.e. energy, electricity, particle model of matter and atomic structure.

The test will be written (rather than taken online) and lasts for 1 hour 45 minutes. Students will either take the test at the Foundation or Higher tier. There is a total of 100 marks, which account for 50% of your overall GCSE Physics grade.

The questions will include a combination of multiple-choice, structured, closed short answer and open response.

GCSE Physics Test Paper 2

The second test paper covers the last four topics in the syllabus, i.e. forces, waves, magnetism and electromagnetism and space physics.

The second test also lasts for 1 hour 45 minutes and pupils will sit the paper at either Foundation or Higher tier level. There are 100 marks in total and the paper contributes towards 50% of your overall GCSE physics grade.

Again, questions will include a combination of multiple-choice, structured, closed short answer and open response.

For more information on the GCSE physics test format, please visit the AQA website.

Our Tips for the GCSE Physics Tests

Photo of a girl studying outdoors

At Exam Papers Plus, we help students improve their physics grades with our GCSE physics practice packs, so we know a thing or two about preparing for the tests. Here are our top tips for exam day:

  • Organise what you’ll need the night before. This includes equipment like scientific calculators, pens, pencils and revision notes.
  • Read each question carefully and try to identify the question ‘type’, i.e. multiple-choice, open response as well as the topic area. This will help guide you towards the type of answer examiners are looking for.
  • Check how many points the question is worth and try to identify where they will be awarded in your answer. If you can’t identify where all points will be awarded, you may need to extend what you’ve written.
  • Revise your answer before moving on to the next question. Sometimes it can help to re-read what you’ve written while you’re still in the mindset of the topic.
  • Try to give yourself time at the end of the test to double-check your answers. Specifically, make sure you haven’t mis-read any questions, numbers, or figures.
  • Try to stay calm throughout. If you find yourself struggling to answer a question, move on to the next one and return to it later. Sometimes it’s good to maintain your flow by answering questions you know the answer to first.
  • Stay until the end. Even if you notice other students leaving early, make sure you use all the allocated time to double-check your work. Even if you feel that you’ve done well, you should always assume that you’ve missed something and try to find it.

For information on how to make the most of your physics revision, take a look at our post How to Revise and Practice for GCSE Physics.

Also, check out this video from Science with Hazel, which provides some more last-minute GCSE physics test tips:

GCSE Physics Practice Tests

In the lead up to your physics exam, it helps to put theory into practice. Revising topic content is of course very useful, but there comes a time when you need to focus on applying what you know under exam conditions. At Exam Papers Plus, we publish physics packs that allow you to measure your current attainment level.

In creating our practice tests, we thoroughly analysed reports from previous years to ensure that our GCSE physics practice questions cover all the essential areas of the exam. We’ve also included questions that pupils tend to struggle with.

All of the GCSE practice papers that we publish are written and developed by former GCSE physics examiners and markers. Not only do our practice tests help students become familiar with the format of the tests, but they can also improve time management skills when taken under exam conditions.

Each pack focuses on the key skills that students need to develop to perform well in higher tier GCSE exams and includes detailed step-by-step answers and mark schemes for every question. Each question is labelled to identify the relevant exam boards.

We’d highly recommend the following resources in preparing for the GCSE physics tests:

GCSE Physics: Key Skills

All of our GCSE packs are available immediately after download.

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Related posts:

GCSE Physics: Energy Questions and Answers

GCSE Physics: Understanding Exam Command Words

GCSE Physics: Working Scientifically

GCSE Physics: Key Skills Pack – Providing Essential Exam Practice and Preparation

The most effective way of preparing for an exam is to use repeated practice testing – it has been proved to produce far better results in the final exam than any other recognised revision technique.

 

Past papers and exam-style questions play an essential role in this process as, not only do they test and improve recall of key ideas, they also help to build essential exam skills.

 

In this article, ‘GCSE science: exam board tips’, published by Tes (formerly the Times Educational Supplement), the head of curriculum for science at exam board AQA spoke about the importance of developing exam technique and incorporating as much practice as possible into exam preparation.

 

Our new GCSE Physics: Key Skills pack is designed to be used alongside exam board past papers to provide an excellent, comprehensive programme of exam practice and preparation.

 

GCSE Physics: Key Skills – Main Features

 

The GCSE Physics: Key Skills packis designed for students preparing for the higher tier exam papers (grades 4-9). It is suitable for use for students studying GCSE Physics as a separate science or as part of combined science course.

 

Here are just a few reasons why the pack is completely invaluable when it comes to successful exam preparation:

 

  • it is packed with over 150 exam-style practice questions

 

  • it is suitable for all exam boards – each question is labelled with the relevant exam boards, so that you can easily see which ones are relevant to you

 

  • it provides coverage of the complete GCSE specification, including topics identified as ‘Higher Tier only’, ensuring that you focus on relevant content without straying off topic

 

  • it is informed by examiners’ reports from previous years, providing crucial practice in subject areas and question types that have caused problems for students in the past

 

  • the questions are organised by topic for flexibility – you can used them for focused practice in a particular topic or pick and mix across the specification

 

  • it includes all of the main question formats that commonly appear on GCSE papers, so that you can familiarise yourself with them and be assured of no nasty surprises in the exam

 

  • individual questions allow you to practise applying your knowledge across the specification in different contexts, including unfamiliar situations (this is an essential exam skill that revision guides and revision quizzes just don’t support!)

 

  • the answers andmark scheme are student-friendly (unlike past papers) and show exactly what the examiners are looking for and how the marks are awarded, so you will understand where you went wrong and how to avoid losing marks in future.

 

Using the Pack

 

The GCSE Physics: Key Skills pack is designed to be flexible, so that it can be easily integrated into your personal revision programme.

 

However, to maximise its benefits, we highly recommend that it is used in conjunction with exam board past papers to provide short, frequent practice sessions throughout your revision period.

 

Getting Started

 

Start by working through a complete sample paper or past paper from the relevant exam board – AQAOCR (Gateway),  OCR (Twenty First Century), Edexcel and WJEC/Eduqas – and then mark your answers.

 

The results will provide a benchmark against which you can monitor your progress and will help you to prioritise your revision by identifying the topics that you know, the topics that you are uncertain about and the topics that you don’t know. Click here to learn how to do this.

 

Focused Practice

 

Schedule in some time to revise the topics that you don’t know first. Read through your existing notes and refer to your text book or revision guide if necessary. End each revision session with a quick test to check understanding. The exam-style practice questions in the GCSE Physics: Key Skills pack are perfect for this. They are organised by topic, so you can quickly and easily identify which questions to use.

 

Repeated Practice Testing

 

Once you have revised any problem areas, you should use the exam-style practice questions for frequent, short practice sessions throughout your revision period. You can just focus on one topic per session or pick and mix questions across all topics.

 

The Importance of Feedback

 

It is really important to mark your answers at the end of each session, whilst they are still fresh in your head. Don’t panic if you get a question wrong or drop some marks – look at the mark scheme and make sure you understand what the correct answer is and how the marks are allocated. If necessary, do a bit of focused revision. This process will improve your subject knowledge and ensure you don’t miss out on any marks or get similar questions wrong in the future.

 

Check Your Progress

 

At regular intervals throughout your revision period, it’s a good idea to complete a full past paper from the relevant exam board. This will help you to track your progress by comparing scores and identify any persistent problem areas.

 

Repeating this process, using the exam-style questions from the GCSE Physics: Key Skills pack and exam board past papers, will ensure understanding of the complete specification, improve recall and hone your exam skills, so that you can walk into the exam hall feeling confident and happy that you know exactly what you need to do!

 

 Click here to purchase this pack and gain immediate access.

 

GCSE Mathematics: Key Skills Pack – Providing Essential Exam Practice and Preparation

The most effective way of preparing for an exam is to use repeated practice testing – it has been proved to produce far better results in the final exam than any other recognised revision technique.

 

Past papers and exam-style questions play an essential role in this process as, not only do they test and improve recall of key ideas, they also help to build essential exam skills.

 

Our new GCSE Mathematics: Key Skills pack is designed to be used alongside exam board past papers to provide an excellent, comprehensive programme of exam practice and preparation.

 

GCSE Mathematics: Key Skills – Main Features

 

The GCSE Mathematics: Key Skills packis designed for students preparing for the higher tier exam papers (grades 4–9).

 

Here are just a few reasons why the pack is completely invaluable when it comes to successful exam preparation:

 

  • it is packed with over 150 exam-style practice questions

 

  • it is suitable for all exam boards

 

  • it provides practice for both the calculator and non-calculator papers – non-calculator questions are clearly labelled

 

  • it provides coverage of the complete GCSE specification, including topics and skills identified as ‘Higher tier only’, ensuring that you focus on relevant content without straying off topic

 

  • it is informed by examiners’ reports from previous years, providing crucial practice in topics, skills and question types that have caused problems for students in the past

 

  • the questions are organised by topic for flexibility – you can used them for focused practice in a particular topic or pick and mix across the specification

 

  • it includes all of the main question formats that commonly appear on GCSE papers, so that you can familiarise yourself with them and be assured of no nasty surprises in the exam

 

  • individual questions allow you to practise applying your skills from across the specification and solving problems in a range of different contexts (this is an essential exam skill that many revision guides and revision quizzes just don’t support!)

 

  • the answers and mark scheme are student-friendly (unlike past papers) and show step-by-step working and how the marks are awarded, so you will understand where you went wrong and how to avoid losing marks in future.

 

Using the Pack

 

The GCSE Mathematics: Key Skills pack is designed to be flexible, so that it can be easily integrated into your personal revision programme.

 

However, to maximise its benefits, we highly recommend that it is used in conjunction with exam board past papers to provide short, frequent practice sessions throughout your revision period.

 

Getting Started

 

Start by working through a complete sample paper or past paper from the relevant exam board – AQAOCREdexcel and WJEC/Eduqas – and then mark your answers.

 

The results will provide a benchmark against which you can monitor your progress and will help you to prioritise your revision by identifying the topics that you know, the topics that you are uncertain about and the topics that you don’t know. Click here to learn how to do this.

 

In a recent article, ‘GCSE Maths: How to make the most of practice papers’, published by Tes (formerly the Times Educational Supplement), the head of curriculum for maths at exam board AQA spoke about the importance of using practice papers as part of exam preparation.

 

Focused Practice

 

Schedule in some time to revise the topics that you don’t know first. Read through your existing notes and refer to your text book or revision guide if necessary. End each revision session with a quick test to check skills and understanding. The exam-style practice questions in the GCSE Mathematics: Key Skills pack are perfect for this. They are organised by topic, so you can quickly and easily identify which questions to use.

 

Repeated Practice Testing

 

Once you have revised any problem areas, you should use the exam-style practice questions for frequent, short practice sessions throughout your revision period. You can just focus on one topic per session or pick and mix questions across all topics.

 

The Importance of Feedback

 

It is really important to mark your answers at the end of each session, whilst they are still fresh in your head. Don’t panic if you get a question wrong or drop some marks – look at the mark scheme and make sure you understand what the correct answer is, the method used to reach that answer, and how the marks are allocated. If necessary, do a bit of focused revision. This process will improve your subject knowledge and ensure you don’t miss out on any marks or get similar questions wrong in the future.

 

Check Your Progress

 

At regular intervals throughout your revision period, it’s a good idea to complete a full past paper from the relevant exam board. This will help you to to build your stamina, track your progress by comparing scores and identify any persistent problem areas.

 

Repeating this process, using the exam-style questions from the GCSE Mathematics: Key Skills pack and exam board past papers, will ensure understanding of the complete specification, improve recall, and hone your maths and exam skills, so that you can walk into the exam hall feeling confident and happy that you know exactly what you need to do!

 

Click here to purchase this pack and gain immediate access.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GCSE Chemistry: Key Skills Pack – Providing Essential Exam Practice and Preparation

The most effective way of preparing for an exam is to use repeated practice testing – it has been proved to produce far better results in the final exam than any other recognised revision technique.

 

Past papers and exam-style questions play an essential role in this process as, not only do they test and improve recall of key ideas, they also help to build essential exam skills.

 

In this article, ‘GCSE science: exam board tips’, published by Tes (formerly the Times Educational Supplement), the head of curriculum for science at exam board AQA spoke about the importance of developing exam technique and incorporating as much practice as possible into exam preparation.

 

Our new GCSE Chemistry: Key Skills pack is designed to be used alongside exam board past papers to provide an excellent, comprehensive programme of exam practice and preparation.

 

GCSE Chemistry: Key Skills – Main Features

 

The GCSE Chemistry: Key Skills packis designed for students preparing for the higher tier exam papers (grades 4-9). It is suitable for use for students studying GCSE Chemistry as a separate science or as part of combined science course.

 

Here are just a few reasons why the pack is completely invaluable when it comes to successful exam preparation:

 

  • it is packed with over 150 exam-style practice questions

 

  • it is suitable for all exam boards – each question is labelled with the relevant exam boards, so that you can easily see which ones are relevant to you

 

  • it provides coverage of the complete GCSE specification, including topics identified as ‘Higher Tier only’, ensuring that you focus on relevant content without straying off topic

 

  • it is informed by examiners’ reports from previous years, providing crucial practice in subject areas and question types that have caused problems for students in the past

 

  • the questions are organised by topic for flexibility – you can used them for focused practice in a particular topic or pick and mix across the specification

 

  • it includes all of the main question formats that commonly appear on GCSE papers, so that you can familiarise yourself with them and be assured of no nasty surprises in the exam

 

  • individual questions allow you to practise applying your knowledge across the specification in different contexts, including unfamiliar situations (this is an essential exam skill that revision guides and revision quizzes just don’t support!)

 

  • the answers andmark scheme are student-friendly (unlike past papers) and show exactly what the examiners are looking for and how the marks are awarded, so you will understand where you went wrong and how to avoid losing marks in future.

 

Using the Pack

 

The GCSE Chemistry: Key Skills pack is designed to be flexible, so that it can be easily integrated into your personal revision programme.

 

However, to maximise its benefits, we highly recommend that it is used in conjunction with exam board past papers to provide short, frequent practice sessions throughout your revision period.

 

Getting Started

 

Start by working through a complete sample paper or past paper from the relevant exam board – AQA,OCR (Gateway), OCR (Twenty First Century), Edexceland WJEC/Eduqas– and then mark your answers.

 

The results will provide a benchmark against which you can monitor your progress and will help you to prioritise your revision by identifying the topics that you know, the topics that you are uncertain about and the topics that you don’t know. Click here to learn how to do this.

 

Focused Practice

 

Schedule in some time to revise the topics that you don’t know first. Read through your existing notes and refer to your text book or revision guide if necessary. End each revision session with a quick test to check understanding. The exam-style practice questions in the GCSE Chemistry: Key Skills pack are perfect for this. They are organised by topic, so you can quickly and easily identify which questions to use.

 

Repeated Practice Testing

 

Once you have revised any problem areas, you should use the exam-style practice questions for frequent, short practice sessions throughout your revision period. You can just focus on one topic per session or pick and mix questions across all topics.

 

The Importance of Feedback

 

It is really important to mark your answers at the end of each session, whilst they are still fresh in your head. Don’t panic if you get a question wrong or drop some marks – look at the mark scheme and make sure you understand what the correct answer is and how the marks are allocated. If necessary, do a bit of focused revision. This process will improve your subject knowledge and ensure you don’t miss out on any marks or get similar questions wrong in the future.

 

Check Your Progress

 

At regular intervals throughout your revision period, it’s a good idea to complete a full past paper from the relevant exam board. This will help you to track your progress by comparing scores and identify any persistent problem areas.

 

Repeating this process, using the exam-style questions from the GCSE Chemistry: Key Skills Pack and exam board past papers, will ensure understanding of the complete specification, improve recall and hone your exam skills, so that you can walk into the exam hall feeling confident and happy that you know exactly what you need to do!

 

 Click here to purchase the GCSE Chemistry pack and gain immediate access.

How to revise and practise for the GCSE Chemistry exam

The GCSE Chemistry exam

 

GCSE Chemistry is assessed by an exam at the end of the course. There are no practical assessments or coursework. The exam consists of two papers, which for all the major exam boards, with the exception of Eduqas/WJEC, are equally weighted and contribute 50% each to your final mark and grade.

 

Depending on your exam board, your GCSE Chemistry specification will organise all of the skills and knowledge that are assessed by the exam into 7–12 main topics. Make sure you know the date for each exam paper and which topics it covers, as this will inform your revision plan.

 

The links below will take you to the relevant GCSE Chemistry specification:

 

Prioritise your revision

 

It’s a good idea to prioritise your Chemistry revision. Start by printing a copy of the course specification and going through the subject content line by line. Use three different colours to highlight:

  • things that you know
  • things that you are uncertain about
  • things that you don’t know.

 

Read through this article in full before you start putting together your revision plan. It goes over concepts and skills that aren’t necessarily listed in the subject content of your GCSE Chemistry specification but form a very important part of the exam.

 

Don’t worry about the things that you feel confident with – going over these again is a waste of time. Start with the things you don’t know and schedule in some time to revise these areas first. Read through your existing notes and refer to your text book or revision guide if necessary. End each revision session with a quick test to check understanding.

 

Once you have revised the problem areas, complete a set of GCSE Chemistry exam practice papers. These will test understanding across all topics and highlight any areas that need further revision, helping you to fine tune your priority list and providing a benchmark against which you can track progress.

 

Make sure you understand the key ideas

 

All of the GCSE Chemistry specifications outline a small number of ‘key ideas’ or ‘key concepts’ that underpin much of the learning covered on the course. A good understanding of these ideas is essential as they help to explain lots of different phenomena. Go over them carefully and if you are unsure about any of them, revise them – read the relevant pages of your text book or revision guide, go over your existing notes and ask for help if necessary.

 

Re-familiarise yourself with the periodic table

 

You will be given a copy of the periodic table in the exam, but re-familiarise yourself with the layout beforehand. Be clear about:

  • which number gives the relative atomic mass for each chemical
  • which number gives the atomic (proton) number
  • the locations, names and properties of the different groups.

 

Practice writing word equations and balanced chemical equations using the periodic table for reference.

 

Learn the essential formulae and methods

 

There are certain specific calculations that you are expected to be able to carry out without being given the equation (formula) or method. You must be able to identify where these are needed and recall them quickly. The best way to cement these skills is through repeated practice.

 

Your specification includes details of all of these calculations. Use the ‘Find’ function and search for ‘calculate’ on a pdf version of the specification, make a list, and be sure to practise all of them as many times as possible.

 

Don’t overlook working scientifically!

 

‘Working Scientifically’ is a really important part of GCSE Chemistry. However, because some exam boards list these skills separately from the main subject content, many students forget to include them in their revision. Make sure you look at this part of the specification and include it in your revision and practice. If there are any concepts you are not sure about, go over them in your text book or revision guide or ask for help.

 

Practice skills that make a real difference

 

There are a few key areas where students often lose marks in the GCSE Chemistry exams. These are:

  • applying maths skills
  • understanding required practical activities
  • answering extended response questions.

 

Practising and developing these skills as part of your revision will benefit you enormously in the final exam.

 

Brush up on your maths

 

All the mathematical skills that may be assessed in the GCSE Chemistry exam are listed in the specification. They include things like being able to use ratios, fractions and percentages (e.g. to calculate Rfvalues and yields) and changing the subject of an equation.

 

Rather than revising these skills twice, be strategic – try to schedule your Maths revision ahead of your Chemistry revision, so you have already revised and practised these skills when you begin revising Chemistry. It will save time and make your Chemistry revision more efficient, as you can get straight down to practising exam-style questions that use them.

 

Get hands-on to with required or core practical work

 

There are eight required or core practical activities on the GCSE Chemistry specification. There may not be a practical assessment but, in the exam, you will be asked questions based on at least one of these activities and it is an area where lots of students lose marks because they are poorly prepared.

 

You should revise the step-by-step processes involved, but one of the best ways of revising a practical activity is by ‘doing’. Speak to your teacher to see if there will be opportunities for you to repeat these practical activities before the exam. Alternatively, look for videos that demonstrate them.

 

For each practical activity, make sure you understand:

  • the purpose of the experiment
  • what equipment is being used and why
  • what measurements are being taken and why
  • any hazards and precautions that need to be considered
  • which variables need to be controlled.

 

Many practical-based exam questions ask you to identify errors or make suggestions for improvements; you need to understand all of the things above to be able to answer such questions.

 

When you come across questions like these on practice papers, don’t give vague answers – practise giving specific and detailed answers so, for example, someone could follow the procedure you have described to carry out an experiment that would produce valid results.

 

Get to grips with command words

 

Familiarise yourself with the command words used in extended response questions and practice answering questions of this type. For example, if you are asked to ‘evaluate’ something, you should weigh up positive and negative arguments and make a final judgement. If you do not make a judgement, you cannot be awarded full marks. Don’t limit your response to the information given in the question; use your own knowledge too.

 

A list of command words can usually be downloaded from your exam board website. For example, AQA publish a complete list of Science command words.

 

Practice testing and practice papers

 

Practice testing is the best way to prepare for your GCSE Chemistry exams. It is proven to be the most effective way of developing your memory and recall ability, producing better results in the final exam than any other study or revision technique.

 

Using practice papers will allow you to practise recalling and applying all the knowledge and skills outlined in this article and provide a good measure of which areas need further revision and practice. Use practice papers at regular intervals throughout your GCSE Chemistry revision for maximum effect and to track progress.

 

Exam Papers Plus has just launched a new range of GCSE exam practice products. These consist of higher tier exam-style questions, plus answers, which have been written by subject experts and can be downloaded for use at home immediately after purchase. Each question is supported by a video that provides a worked solution to the question, plus top tips on how to tackle similar questions, avoid making common mistakes and ensure you pick up all the marks available.

 

Planning and practising for GCSE exam success

With multiple exam papers for up to 12 subjects to prepare for, just the thought of GCSE revision can be overwhelming and it’s very easy to procrastinate and put it off.

 

Start early

 

The key to taking control is to start early and get organised. The GCSE exams start in mid-May and it’s a good idea to start revising five or six months ahead of that time. Why not harness the surge of motivation that many of us feel at the start of the New Year to get a revision plan in place?

 

Use a technique that works

 

It’s important to think abouthowyou will revise, as this will influence your revision plan.

 

To be blunt, a lot of the study techniques that you may have used in the past just aren’t efficient when it comes to preparing for an exam!

 

Practice testing is proven to produce far better results in the final exam than any other technique and the most effective way of using practice testing is in short bursts that are spaced out over time.

 

Make a plan

 

A structured revision timetable makes GCSE revision much easier, but make sure that you set achievable goals.

 

Start by checking the exam information for each subject: what is the date for each paper and what does that paper cover? Mark the relevant dates at the end of your schedule and work backwards from there. The exam boards – AQA, OCR, Edexcel (Pearson) and WJEC/Eduqas– all publish exam timetables and course specifications that will help with this on their websites.

 

Rather than blocking in one subject at a time, try to schedule lots of short sessions (about 2 hours each) for each subject, spaced out over the whole revision period to allow for repeated practice testing.

 

Be strategic – starting with Maths and English revision can help to make revision of your other subjects more efficient later on. For example, revise mathematical skills such as rearranging formulae and using ratios, fractions and percentages at an early stage. This will then save you time when it comes to revising subjects that incorporate these skills, such as Chemistry and Physics. Likewise, brushing up on your English writing skills early on will help you to tackle practice questions that require longer written responses in all subjects.

 

Prioritise your revision

 

Once you’ve allocated revision slots for all your subjects, you can start prioritising the topics within each one.

 

Start by printing out a copy of the course specification and go through the subject content line by line. Use three different colours to highlight:

  • things that you know
  • things that you are uncertain about
  • things that you don’t know.

 

Don’t worry about the things that you feel confident with – going over these again is a waste of time. Start with the things you don’t know and schedule in some time to revise these areas first. Read through your existing notes and refer to your text book or revision guide if necessary. End each revision session with a quick test to check understanding.

 

Once you have revised the problem areas, start using practice papers. These will test understanding across all topics and highlight any areas that need further revision.

 

Test yourself

 

There are lots of different ways that you can test yourself. For example, quick recall questions, of the kind you find in revision apps and online quizzes, are great for testing understanding at the end of a revision session. Practice papers can then be used throughout your revision to check progress and identify any persistent problem areas.

 

Use practice papers

 

Here are just a few reasons why practice papers are completely invaluable when it comes to ‘revising’ for an exam:

  • they ensure you focus on essential content without straying off topic
  • they help to highlight areas where you need further revision and practice
  • they familiarise you with the different question types and formats used in the exams
  • the answers / mark schemes are usually student-friendly (unlike past papers) and show you what examiners are looking for to award full marks
  • individual questions require you to draw on knowledge from a range of different topics (no other resources provide solid practice in this important exam skill!)
  • you can use them to track your progress by comparing your scores
  • they will boost your confidence – you’ll feel much happier walking into the exam hall, because you’ll understand exactly what you need to do.

 

Exam Papers Plus has just launched a new range of GCSE exam practice products. These consist of higher tier exam-style questions, plus answers, which have been written by subject experts and can be downloaded for use at home immediately after purchase. Each question is supported by a video that provides a worked solution to the question, plus top tips on how to tackle similar questions, avoid making common mistakes and ensure you pick up all the marks available.

 

Planning and practising for exam success

 

Planning and practising to ensure exam success really is as simple as that:

  • take control early on
  • get organised and put a plan in place
  • use a reliable revision technique: test yourself regularly
  • use practice papers regularly to track progress and develop essential exam skills
  • nail that exam!

Rethinking GCSE exam revision

What is revision?

 

‘Revision’ is a word that gets used profusely throughout your school life, but never more so than in Years 10 and 11 when your GCSE exams are the prime focus, and it tends to be taken for granted that you know what it means, what it involves and what it accomplishes.

 

However, taking just a short amount of time now to consider what revision does – and what it doesn’t do – can make a big difference when it comes to your actual exams.

 

Think about the end goal first – what do you want to achieve? That’s an easy one – you want to achieve the highest marks possible on each of your GCSE exam papers!

 

So, how do you make that happen? How do you ensure that when you sit down in the exam hall, turn over the paper and start to read the questions, all the relevant knowledge will spring to mind and you will be able to apply it quickly, efficiently and accurately to gain maximum marks?

 

‘Revise, revise, revise!’ I hear you cry. But what does that actually mean and to what extent will it help you in the exam?

 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the act of revising as ‘[rereading] work done previously to improve one’s knowledge of a subject, typically to prepare for an examination.’

 

And, yes, of course that is really important. You need to read through your revision guide and  notes on a subject to make sure you understand it – subject knowledge and understanding is, without doubt, the essential starting point for being successful in any exam. However – and this is the crucial thing – revising in this way alone does notguarantee great marks.

 

We’ve all experienced that mouth-drying, stomach-plummeting moment when you turn over an exam paper and your mind goes completely blank. This is where ‘revision’ in the traditional sense falls down. It doesn’t help you to develop key exam skills, such as the rapid recall of relevant information and the ability to apply that knowledge to explain an idea or solve a problem.

 

This is where you need to rethink your revision. The key to exam success is not cramming as much traditional revision into your time as possible. In fact, that’s a poor use of your time. Instead, you need to combine a bit of traditional revision with lots and lots of practice testing.

 

Why practice testing is important

 

Practice testing produces far better results in the final exam than any other technique. There’s lots of psychological and academic research that supports this. Without getting bogged down in the neuroscience, practice testing helps because it encourages you to retrieve information from your memory. This act alters how you store the information, making it more accessible and easier to recall in the future. The more you repeat this process, the longer you are likely to retain the information and the easier it becomes to recall.

 

How to test yourself

 

There are different ways that you can test yourself. For example:

  • flashcards
  • quick recall questions of the kind you find in revision apps and online quizzes
  • test-style questions, such as those on past exam papers and practice papers.

 

Don’t forget to check your answers

 

No matter how well you think you did in a practice test, always check your answers – getting feedback is a really important part of the process!

 

Don’t worry if you get a question wrong; just do a bit of focused revision. Note the word ‘focused’ here – don’t let yourself get side-tracked! Refer back to your notes, read over the topic in your text book or revision guide, watch a relevant explanatory video… make sure you understand what the correct answer is and why. This process will improve your subject knowledge and ensure you don’t get similar questions wrong in future.

 

Practice papers are your best friend!

 

If there is just one piece of information that you take away from this article, it should be: use practice papers!

 

Here are just a few reasons why practice papers are completely invaluable when it comes to ‘revising’ for an exam:

  • they ensure you focus on essential content without straying off topic
  • they help to highlight areas where you need further revision and practice
  • they familiarise you with the different question types and formats used in the exams
  • the answers / mark schemes are usually student-friendly (unlike past papers) and show you what examiners are looking for to award full marks
  • individual questions require you to draw on knowledge from a range of different topics (no other resources provide solid practice in this important exam skill!)
  • you can use them to track your progress by comparing your scores
  • they will boost your confidence – you’ll feel much happier walking into the exam hall, because you’ll understand exactly what you need to do.

 

Exam Papers Plus has just launched a new range of GCSE exam practice products. These consist of higher tier exam-style questions, plus answers, which have been written by subject experts and can be downloaded for use at home immediately after purchase. Each question is supported by a video that provides a worked solution to the question, plus top tips on how to tackle similar questions, avoid making common mistakes and ensure you pick up all the marks available.

 

Planning for success

 

The most effective way of using practice testing is in short bursts that are spaced out over time. So, rather than blocking in one subject at a time on your revision plan, try to schedule lots of short sessions for each subject spaced out over the months running up to your exams.

 

Revise your revision!

 

So, as virtuous, satisfying and reassuring as it feels to pore over a text book or your class notes, highlighting sections, adding annotations and making further notes, this should only take up a small part of your revision time. Arm yourself with a stack of good quality practice papers and start reinforcing understanding, improving recall and developing the essential skills you need for exam success. It’s time to change your battle cry: ‘Revise, practice test, practice test!’

GCSE Biology: Key Skills Pack – Providing Essential Exam Practice and Preparation

The most effective way of preparing for an exam is to use repeated practice testing – it has been proved to produce far better results in the final exam than any other recognised revision technique.

 

Past papers and exam-style questions play an essential role in this process as, not only do they test and improve recall of key ideas, they also help to build essential exam skills.

 

In this article, ‘GCSE science: exam board tips’, published by Tes (formerly the Times Educational Supplement), the head of curriculum for science at exam board AQA spoke about the importance of developing exam technique and incorporating as much practice as possible into exam preparation.

 

Our new GCSE Biology: Key Skills pack is designed to be used alongside exam board past papers to provide an excellent, comprehensive programme of exam practice and preparation.

 

GCSE Biology: Key Skills – Main Features

 

The GCSE Biology: Key Skills packis designed for students preparing for the higher tier exam papers (grades 4-9). It is suitable for use for students studying GCSE Biology as a separate science or as part of combined science course.

 

Here are just a few reasons why the pack is completely invaluable when it comes to successful exam preparation:

 

  • it is packed with over 150 exam-style practice questions

 

  • it is suitable for all exam boards – each question is labelled with the relevant exam boards, so that you can easily see which ones are relevant to you

 

  • it provides coverage of the complete GCSE specification, including topics identified as ‘Higher Tier only’, ensuring that you focus on relevant content without straying off topic

 

  • it is informed by examiners’ reports from previous years, providing crucial practice in subject areas and question types that have caused problems for students in the past

 

  • the questions are organised by topic for flexibility – you can used them for focused practice in a particular topic or pick and mix across the specification

 

  • it includes all of the main question formats that commonly appear on GCSE papers, so that you can familiarise yourself with them and be assured of no nasty surprises in the exam

 

  • individual questions allow you to practise applying your knowledge across the specification in different contexts, including unfamiliar situations (this is an essential exam skill that revision guides and revision quizzes just don’t support!)

 

  • the answers and mark scheme are student-friendly (unlike past papers) and show exactly what the examiners are looking for and how the marks are awarded, so you will understand where you went wrong and how to avoid losing marks in future.

 

Using the Pack

 

The GCSE Biology: Key Skills pack is designed to be flexible, so that it can be easily integrated into your personal revision programme.

 

However, to maximise its benefits, we highly recommend that it is used in conjunction with exam board past papers to provide short, frequent practice sessions throughout your revision period.

 

Getting Started

 

Start by working through a complete sample paper or past paper from the relevant exam board – AQA,OCR (Gateway), OCR (Twenty First Century), Edexceland WJEC/Eduqas– and then mark your answers.

 

The results will provide a benchmark against which you can monitor your progress and will help you to prioritise your revision by identifying the topics that you know, the topics that you are uncertain about and the topics that you don’t know. Learn how to do this here.

 

Focused Practice

 

Schedule in some time to revise the topics that you don’t know first. Read through your existing notes and refer to your text book or revision guide if necessary. End each revision session with a quick test to check understanding. The exam-style practice questions in the GCSE Biology: Key Skills pack are perfect for this. They are organised by topic, so you can quickly and easily identify which questions to use.

 

Repeated Practice Testing

 

Once you have revised any problem areas, you should use the exam-style practice questions for frequent, short practice sessions throughout your revision period. You can just focus on one topic per session or pick and mix questions across all topics.

 

The Importance of Feedback

 

It is really important to mark your answers at the end of each session, whilst they are still fresh in your head. Don’t panic if you get a question wrong or drop some marks – look at the mark scheme and make sure you understand what the correct answer is and how the marks are allocated. If necessary, do a bit of focused revision. This process will improve your subject knowledge and ensure you don’t miss out on any marks or get similar questions wrong in the future.

 

Check Your Progress

 

At regular intervals throughout your revision period, it’s a good idea to complete a full past paper from the relevant exam board. This will help you to track your progress by comparing scores and identify any persistent problem areas.

 

Repeating this process, using the exam-style questions from the GCSE Biology: Key Skills pack and exam board past papers, will ensure understanding of the complete specification, improve recall and hone your exam skills, so that you can walk into the exam hall feeling confident and happy that you know exactly what you need to do!

 

Click here to purchase the GCSE Biology pack and gain immediate access.

NEW GCSE Key Skills packs now available for Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology

We’ve just released a new set of resources for students preparing for higher tier GCSE exams.

 

GCSE Mathematics: Key Skills

 

GCSE Biology: Key Skills


GCSE Physics: Key Skills

 

GCSE Chemistry: Key Skills

 

We worked with actual GCSE examiners to create these Key Skills packs.

 

We thoroughly analysed examiner reports from previous years to identify:

 

i) the questions/topics that come up the most often

ii) the questions/topics that students struggle with the most

 

Based on this, we created a set of questions that focus on these areas specifically. These packs provide a targeted and efficient path to preparing for GCSE exams.

 

The packs are designed for students preparing for the Higher Tier (Grades 4-9).

 

Each pack comes with detailed step-by-step solutions for every question and a mark scheme created by expert GCSE examiners.

 

Your child will therefore be able to clearly identify how marks are allocated and what is required to score highly.

 

The packs are suitable for all GCSE boards. Each question is tagged with the correct exam board so you know exactly which ones will be relevant for your child.

 

Packed full of relevant questions and solutions, these resources represent excellent value for money.

 

Click on the links below to learn more and purchase:


GCSE Maths: 149 pages

GCSE Physics: 161 pages

GCSE Chemistry: 127 pages

GCSE Biology: 111 pages

 

We hope you find these new resources beneficial. As ever, if you have any questions or queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch.