So how should you answer a past exam question?
- Only complete one question at a time following these steps. (by one question we mean one whole numbered question, including the sub-sections I.E Q1 a/b/c/d)
- Complete the question in exam conditions without looking at the mark scheme/textbook first and allocate 1 minute to 1 mark
- Then use your textbooks/consolidation notes/revision guides and add to your previous answers in a different colour to try to get ‘perfect answers’ meaning that you should get pretty much all of the marks when marked
- Use the mark scheme: firstly to mark what you did in exam conditions and secondly total all marks including the answers with open book strategies from step 3
- The first mark will give you an indication of your biological knowledge and understanding
- If the second mark you are not pretty much attaining all of the marks then there is an issue with exam technique
- If it is exam technique you need to speak to your teacher ASAP.
The document below gives you all the command words and what they mean that you are likely to come across in exams or practical assessments. My advice is to take it to every lesson so if you do not know what a question is asking you then this is a starting point.
PLEASE DO NOT try to memorise them all as it is a waste of brain power and space. Just refer to them when answering past exam questions if you are not sure.
An example of what should be done
So this student has 15 out of 17 with access to textbook so the student’s understanding of the questions posed are pretty good and can focus directly to the areas of the 2 marks not attained. The student attained all of the available marks for part (c) of the question however there are other areas where no marks were attained without access to the textbook. This clearly identifies areas of subject knowledge that the student is lacking.