The best preparation for the AS and A2 exams is practicing exam questions. Throughout this site there are sample exam questions. These can be used in a number of ways:
- Planning exam answers
Sketch out the plan or structure of an answer. This is quicker than writing an entire essay, and helps to highlight areas where you need to do some more reading. It's also a good habit to get into - the most successful exam answers have been planned out in advance. For a 45 minute exam question, a good plan may take between 5 and 10 minutes, but is well worth it!
- Writing an essay using books and notes
This is a good way to start preparing for an exam, and you should be doing this right through your course. It's a way or re-writing or re-working your notes that is purposeful, but it also gets you used to the style and expectation of exam questions
- Writing an essay 'blind'
This is where you really find out what you've taken in. It's much easier writing an essay using notes, but recalling things learnt some time ago uses a different part of the memory - the part you will call upon in your exam.
- Timed essays
You need to get used to the full demands of the exam. Practising timed essays can highlight issues that might stay hidden if you allow yourself unlimited time to answer questions. You should ask your teacher to mark the essays for you - they will be able to give you pointers to help you improve. You should also be able to get a reliable predicted grade.
You will also find some sample answers on the site. You can use these by:
- Writing an essay plan. This is much easier if you have an exam answer in front of you. Doing this also makes you think critically about the way you structure your own answers.
- Writing your own answer. Sometimes the notes you have just can't get you started on an exam question. Reading someone else's attempt may give you inspiration or even just a staring point
- Marking the answer. If you become good at marking exam questions, you will become better at writing them. If you struggle to mark exam answers, it shows you don't know what the examiner was looking for - this is an issue you need to address!