How the use the specification to get better marks in your exams

Andrew LawsonUncategorizedLeave a Comment

How the use the specification to get better marks in your exams

The specification is the document that tells you two massively important things.

1) The structure of your exams:
a. How many there are, and how long they are.
b. The format of each – multiple choice, short answer, long answer. 1, 2 or more sections.
c. What percentage of your final mark each one will be worth.
d. What topics will be on each one.
2) All the knowledge and skills that the exam will test. This is the most important bit of the specification.

It always amazes me that people don’t even look at the specification. It literally is a list of everything that you need to know for your exams. Every question that is set, starts life as an examiner looking in the specification. They look at a particular line in the specification, and wonder how they can test if students:
– Know a piece of information.
– Can demonstrate a skill.
– Can see how a question with an unfamiliar set-up, can be understood by using a skill or piece of information in the specification.

After you have done a question take a look at where it came from in the specification. This will get you used to what you need to know. While you are there, take a look at the other things you need to know in this topic. Think what similar questions could be asked to the one you just did. The only question guaranteed to NOT appear in your exam is the ones you are doing from past papers. They will at best be similar, so start thinking of what they might be. This really helps your understanding and makes you so much more prepared.

The wording used in sentence based questions, definitions – in the specification.

Examples of applications of knowledge and skills – in the specification.

The definitions and equations you need to know – in the specification.


Or Kwyn-tk (pronounced kwin-tik/quintick). Yes it’s totally shit, but it works. If you can think of anything better let me know!

If you know the things you’re meant to know, every answer is one of those things. So rather than asking yourself ‘How do I answer this question?’, you can ask the MUCH EASIER question ‘Which of the 4 things I know about this topic allows me to answer this question?’

Honestly, when you get used to it it’s surprising how useful this technique is.

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