Why Past Paper Practice is So Effective
- Exams almost always follow the same format – exam writers use previous exam papers as a template for constructing a new exam.
- Question styles almost always follow the same format – so much so that you can see virtually the same question asked in the same way in several years’ worth of past papers – master one and you should be able to do the rest without breaking sweat.
- Practising the past papers over and over means that when you sit the exam the paper will seem like the face of an old friend or a path you have walked every day of your life.
- It builds confidence. Week on week you will see your expertise grow and the marks you have secured increase. You get to the point where you JUST KNOW that you WILL pass.
- It reduces stress or nerves. When you open the paper in the exam hall and see what you have been practising, a lot of your anxiety will vanish.
How do I use Past Papers in My studies?
So, there are two ways they should be used.
- Specific question practice throughout the year. As you learn new sections of the course you should find the questions in past papers that use this knowledge or skills. And keep practising them on a regular basis. Go through all the past papers and practice these questions. This develops mastery in a particular question.
- As you get nearer to the exam and have covered more of the course material, move on to practising entire past papers, front to back. This develops an awareness of the typical layout of the exam and the location of specific questions. It also gives you an idea of what rate you need to work at in order to complete the whole exam within duration.
Now have a look at the video introducing the English Past Paper course.