Arguably one of the most useful and effective study tools for exam preparation is past papers. Past paper practice gives you a clear idea about the exam, helps you become well-equipped to solve your examination questions, and boosts confidence in your abilities to attempt the examination. Here are just some ways that past paper preparation helps you score good grades on your exams.
The first benefit of past paper preparation is that it gives you a clear idea about the paper pattern. You will be able to see how the exam is structured and the way that questions are asked. This will give you confidence as you will not be walking into the examination hall blindly with no idea of the paper pattern. At the same time, consulting solved past papers shows you the correct structure for solving questions, which will further help you to answer each question correctly for maximum marks.
Secondly, including past paper practice into your exam preparation will help you become better at solving the different types of questions. For example, the exam may include MCQ’s, short answers, essay-length questions, or short notes. Either way, by solving past papers, you will gain sufficient practice in each type of question. Moreover, you will be able to focus on the types of questions that you struggle in, for example, if you are weak in solving MCQs, practicing past papers will help you overcome this weakness.
Solving past papers also improves your time management skills. It gives you a clear idea of the duration of the exam as well as the number of questions. This allows you to manage your time in such a way that you have enough room to answer each question effectively without running out of time. For example, if the exam is 2 hours long and there are 5 questions, then you can allocate 24 minutes for solving each question. Furthermore, timing yourself as you attempt past papers will help increase your speed so that you answer each question within the given time.
Consulting old papers of your educational board can give you a good indicator of important topics or questions that are asked frequently. In other words, you may be able to identify a pattern of topics and questions that are asked each year. This will help you to focus on those key areas during revision time. Furthermore, consulting solved past papers of those key topics is also a great way of revising before your exam.
Solving past papers will give you a clear idea of the marks allocation of the exam. It will tell you the total number of marks, and the division of marks for each type of question. For example, out of 100 marks, there may be 30 marks for the objective part such as MCQs, fill in the blanks, definitions, etc… and 70 marks for the subjective part. This way, you will be able to give importance to each question based on its mark allocation, and thus you can determine the amount of time to be spent on each question.
As you can see, past papers are a powerful tool for exam preparation. They not only help you practice questions related to the course but also helps you improve your exam writing skills, time management skills, etc… Furthermore, having sufficient past paper practice will surely give you the confidence needed to successfully attempt your final examination, so be sure to include past paper and solved past paper preparation into your study sessions.