Expect the unexpected in your exams

Every year, the GCSE and A Level examiners outdo themselves by throwing in cryptic questions which only Sherlock Holmes could crack!

This year is no exception – if the Science and English exams are anything to go by… How can you get round this? It’s all bananas … or is it?

How to handle the unexpected

  1. Learn to think. First, exams are not designed to get you to merely regurgitate facts. It might seem like that, but in reality, education is designed to make you THINK on the spot. Many exams ask you to solve problems, or use the information you’ve learnt.
  2. Take a deep breath. Does an awkward question throw you off beam? Don’t let it. Sit with it for a minute or two. Try to re-think the question in your own words – in your head. Even write notes round the question to generate ideas. Sometimes, abstract questions need a little more thought. Take a deep breath, don’t let it outface you, read it again and again.
  3. Don’t expect the obvious. English Literature exams are perfect examples of this. Students pray that the main characters come up in the questions, and then when they are nowhere to be seen, internal panic spreads across the exam hall like wild fire. (Cue Lord of the Flies!) It makes sense to learn about some of the other characters and poems in your texts. But, more importantly, if you know WHY the writer included them in the first place – and there is ALWAYS a reason – then you won’t find it so tricky if other characters are the unexpected stars of the exam paper show.
  4. Practise practise practise. This goes without saying – the more you practise exam questions, the more you’ll be able to fend off an attack of nerves when a ‘bonkers’ question pops up.

If you are in year 10 or year 12, it makes sense to start your exam prep early so you can handle those tricky little beasts with ease. Your final year flies by so fast, that it’s worth taking this on board early.

If you’ve still got two weeks of exams to go after half term, spend half term planning for the unexpected. As you just never know…

As ever, contact our tuition dream team here in the heart of Cheshire if you want to get cracking early. With a bunch of the best tutors across the Manchester area too, we’re ready when you are.

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