GCSE Physics Help: Preparing for the Exam
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If you’re looking for GCSE physics help then this post is for you. Whether you need some last-minute study inspiration, or a few tips for calming those pre-exam nerves, this guide should help. At Exam Papers Plus, we publish physics revision packs, so we know all about how to make the most of your time before the tests.
Get Organised the Night Before
Preparing everything you’ll need for your GCSE physics exam the night before can help put your mind at ease. Double-check the time and location of your exam and make travel plans to ensure you arrive early.
Some things you’ll need to pack the night before include:
- A scientific calculator that you’ve used before
- Revision notes to read before you enter the exam hall
- Stationery including pens, pencils, a ruler and an eraser.
- Bottled water to stay hydrated
- Your exam number if you’ve been given one
This goes without saying, but make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Go to bed early, switch off all electronic equipment and relax knowing that you’ve prepared as well as you can. Set an alarm for the next day and ask a family member to set one too as a backup.
For more advice on what to do the night before a GCSE exam, watch this video from student Jade:
Put Yourself in the Examiner’s Shoes
Before you answer each question, ask yourself what the examiner is looking for. Take the time to identify the command word at the beginning of the question, so you have an idea of how the answer will look. For example, if the question asks you to ‘describe’, you’ll need to give an account of what’s happening. If the question asks you to ‘calculate’, you’ll need to recall a formula or equation and probably use your calculator to arrive at an answer.
You should also consider how you structure your answer. Open response questions in particular, require you to present each step in the process and ‘show your working’. Imagine you are the examiner and ask yourself if the steps leading up to the answer easy to follow. Can you easily identify which parts of your answer you’ll be awarded points for?
Read Each Question Carefully
This is fairly common advice for any exam, but it’s worth repeating. One of the most common mistakes GCSE physics students make in the exam is misunderstanding a question or misreading a number. Take the time to read the question until you fully understand what you’re being asked to do.
Identify the question type, i.e. multiple choice, structured, closed short response or open answer. Once you know what type of question you’re being asked, you can take the time to consider how you’ll tackle it. You should also keep referring to the question as you answer to make sure you don’t lose track of what’s being asked.
Some questions in the GCSE physics test require you to recall knowledge from practical experiments. They require you to ‘work scientifically’ to prove a hypothesis in order to answer the question.
In these questions, you’re being assessed on your knowledge and understanding of the practical elements of the syllabus, so you should aim to demonstrate your learned skills and observations.
For some examples of questions that require scientific working, read our post GCSE Physics: Working Scientifically.
GCSE Physics Practice Tests
At Exam Papers Plus, we believe that the most effective way to prepare for the GCSE physics exam is to use practice test papers. The sooner you introduce sample questions into your revision, the more time you’ll have to improve your exam technique.
Not only do practice test help you become familiar with the layout of the exam, but they help you identify the types of questions you could be asked on the day. When we created our GCSE practice tests, we thoroughly analysed reports from previous years to ensure that our sample questions cover all the essential areas of the exam. We observed that there are certain questions that students tend to struggle with and we included similar questions in our tests so you’ll be prepared for every eventuality.
All of the GCSE practice papers that we publish are written and developed by former GCSE physics examiners and markers. When taken under timed, exam conditions, our tests can help you get used to answering questions quickly and under pressure, improving your time management skills.
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:
All of our GCSE packs are available immediately after download.