12 Reasons to make the mark scheme of past exams your best friend

12 Reasons to make the mark scheme of past exams your best friend

Another secret that schools and university does not tell you!

We don’t know when or how exams will take place when we return to school in September but you may want to spend an hour a week over the summer to make sure you can still remember how to revise.

So, following on from last weeks’ blog; the best thing we can do when studying for a test or exam is to make the mark scheme our best friend.

How often have we heard teachers say you have a test tomorrow or an exam soon and its time to prepare but you are not having the mark scheme – ‘it’s cheating!

Well in fact, if used in the correct way the mark scheme of a past exam paper is one of the best tools we can use to prepare us for an exam.

Here’s why.

1. It is crucial to take note of the number of marks written at the end of the question for example if it says (4) at the end of the question that means provide an answer which one example.

2. Always give your answers in full sentences. Even if you are doing a mathematics or science exam.

3. Don’t be afraid to state what might seem obvious. Remember if you fail to provide evidence of what you know – the examiner can not read your mind. However, don’t state everything you know on the subject; especially if it is not relate to the question.

4. For (12) mark and (20) mark questions treat them like essay questions. Write in clear sentences and structured paragraphs. This will help the examiner see the logic of your answer and so make it easier to gain more marks.

5. The mark scheme is sets out the criteria of what is expected in a model answer of teachers/examiners to mark against. In other words, it provides teachers/examiners guidance as to what grades to give students. Therefore, it is perfect guidance of students to match their knowledge of a question to what the teachers/examiners are looking for.

6. As well as highlighting what the question is looking for; the mark scheme also states what is NOT acceptable as an answer. So, it provides guidance as to where students can lose marks.

7. The mark scheme can also be used to provide examples of a correct answer. For instance in GCSE Mathematics 360÷(3+1+5)(=40). It then says Allow 360÷8 and 360÷10 for 1 mark.

8. The mark scheme also provides guidance on the technical language used in subjects. For example, in GCSE Science (because) reaction / photosynthesis is controlled by enzymes. This not only helps teachers/examiners to ensure the correct terms are identified for maximum marks; but it helps students to include the technical terms in their answers.

9. Mark schemes are also useful in essay style questions too. For example, Level 6 Convincing, critical analysis and exploration 26–30 marks. Critical, exploratory, conceptualised response to task and whole text.

10. It is good practice to try to write your answers without looking at the mark scheme (unless you are really stuck), and check at the end because then you can find out how much knowledge you have on the subject.

11. Compare your answers with the mark scheme, but be honest with yourself. There is no point giving yourself full marks if your really don’t know the answer. If you do this, this technique will not help you.

12. Count up how many marks you have. Compare your marks with the mark scheme. Don’t worry if you don’t get full marks first time. This exercise will show you what you know – but also where you need to revise!

If you need more information, tuition, or support to revise. Contact us by email:- contact@outsidetheboxeducation.co.uk or call us on 07590395089.

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