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Planning your time in the exam
1. When you are told to turn the paper over, look through the whole paper before you start
answering any of the questions.
2. In the Unit 3 exam, there are five questions and you should answer all five.
3. Try to spend roughly the following amount of time on each question:
Question 1 10 minutes
Question 2 12 minutes
Question 3 12 minutes
Question 4 12 minutes
Question 5 20 minutes
Also allow yourself time to read through the sources and the background information about them.
4. Remember that the exams are not set to trip you up, but are designed to allow you to show
your knowledge of the syllabus. Be positive and have confidence in your ability.
5. Take time to consider each question. Look at where the marks are to be gained and allocate
time appropriately (and stick to it). Many candidates spend too much time earning and
re-earning small numbers of marks, thereby losing time for the heavier-tariff tasks. Remember
that answering three questions fairly well is better than answering one very well and leaving
two badly done. Underlining key words in the question may help to focus your mind and jog
6. Structure your longer answers by making an answer plan; writing this down will help.
7. Don't forget to refer back to the question to help ensure that you answer the question asked.
The examiner can't give you marks for your knowledge and understanding of a topic if you
don't answer the specific question properly. Make sure you don't answer the question you
wish you'd been asked rather than the question in front of you! Try to read your answer
through before moving on to the next question.
8. While you will not be marked down for bad handwriting, if the examiner cannot read what you
have written, then they can't give you the marks you deserve. Remember that in Question 5
your skills of written communication will be judged. To get to the top level you have to write
effectively, organise coherently, spell, punctuate and use grammar with accuracy.
9. Try to relax, and keep an eye on the clock without checking it every five minutes. You need to
leave time to complete each question and to read through your answers before the end of
10. Once you have finished the exam, don't worry about it and try to avoid comparing your
answers with other students.
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