Past Papers – They’re like gold
I’m a big fan of past papers. For revision, they’re like gold. Although there is a caveat – unless you have seen bronze or silver you probably don’t appreciate the gold as much…
By this I mean we need to make sure students are ready for them. If they haven’t learnt the content of a subject, but are given a past paper, it’s a sure way to freak them out. If they see loads of questions from a past paper that they’ve never covered in class but are asked to do it in silence, they are understandably going to be worried, stressed and likely rather negative about the whole experience of exams and past papers.
However, if they have learnt the topic and (mostly) understand the material they are a great way to support revision and I personally hugely recommend them. They get you familiar with the type of questions that will come up in your exams, and they provide guidance on the way they should be answered. They are the equivalent of a ‘test-drive’ for exams, and the good news is that you can do more than one!
And since there are generally exams twice a year (the main June sitting and then the November re-sit period), and we’ve had exams for yonks, there are lots of papers out there.
So, back to the point. As a result of past papers being awesome, this is the time of year I give all my tuition students past papers (if I haven’t already). I usually make them complete a paper a week and hand it back in. Sometimes I get them to mark it (using a mark scheme), other times I mark it myself. Sometimes they complete it with notes in a non-pressured environment, and other times I make them complete it under exam conditions.
They are a fabulous way of helping students discover what they already know, what they don’t know and what they need to work on. (It’s one of the reasons schools do mocks – they’re helpful at working out what level people are at and what they know / don’t know).
So, my gift to you is a list of where you can find all the past papers! Of course you can type it directly into Google (example ‘Edexcel Maths Past Papers’) but there are some super helpful sites which do all the work for you!
(P.S. Don’t know which exam board you are taking? Ask your teacher or school. It’ll likely be one of the ones above unless you’re doing the iGCSE in which case just type it into Google).