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Preparing for the Exam

Quick revise

Success in GCSE examinations comes from an organised approach throughout the subject course and a positive attitude to the examination, or examinations, that terminate it. The following approach may help you throughout your ICT GCSE course.

Know your course
Check which examination you are taking and see which sections of this book you need to study. Some examinations focus upon a context, for example using ICT in the health service. Others require you to demonstrate your knowledge through general ICT use.

Planning your study

  • After completing a topic in school or college, go through it again in this revision guide.
  • Try copying out the main points, or use a highlighter pen to emphasise them. A couple of days later, try to write out these key points from memory.
  • Check any differences between what you wrote or highlighted originally, and what you wrote later.
  • Keep any notes that you write for revision before the examination.
  • Try some questions in the book and check the answers.
  • Decide whether you feel confident about the topic, noting any weaknesses that you feel you have. If possible, discuss these with your teacher/tutor.

Preparing a revision programme

  • When you start to revise for the examination (you should allow yourself a number of weeks), check through the list of topics in your Examination Board’s specification.
  • Identify topics that you are not confident about. You should spend time on these topics, rather than spending valuable revision time on things you already know and can do.
  • When you feel that you have mastered a section, try past questions on it. Always check the answers carefully.
  • In the final fortnight before the examination, go back to your original note sheets, or highlighting in this guide.

Exam technique
You will have a more positive attitude to the examination if you feel you have prepared for it properly. A good examination technique will also improve your performance. Remember the following basics:

  • Read the instructions on the front of the examination paper carefully to make sure you know how many questions to attempt.
  • Read the questions very carefully, paying particular attention to words of instruction such as State or Describe or Explain or Show or List or Compare.
  • Carefully note the time available to complete the examination. Aim to divide up your time before you start. For example, if an examination is two hours long and contains eight questions that you should attempt, allow yourself about fifteen minutes for each question if each of the questions gives you roughly the same number of marks. You should aim to attempt all questions rather than spending all your time on a few.
  • Examination papers usually tell you how many marks are available for each answer. The number of marks gives you a guide to the importance of the question and often to the amount you ought to write.
  • Check before the end of the examination that you have not missed out any pages. Remember to turn over the last page, too.
  • Try to leave time to check your work through carefully.