What to do, and what not to do for question practice
Practice questions are an essential part of your studies. Here’s how to get the most from using them for mocks or the real thing.
Start your question practice as early as possible
Get yourself into the habit of using the practice questions as early as possible. The most effective learning is about more than simply reading over your notes or making your own notes.
You need to take things one step further by testing yourself and consolidating your learning as you go along. View the practice questions as an integral aspect of your learning, and not something ‘separate’ that you can tackle later on.
Work through lots of practice questions
By doing lots of practice questions over a period of time, you’ll refine your exam technique, get more confident with the technical material and give yourself a much stronger chance of passing exams the first time. Doing as many as you can will familiarise you with the terminology and vocabulary used in the actual exam.
An awful lot of exam success is simply down to your technique and how you use all the knowledge you’ve built up. It’s how you demonstrate that knowledge in the exam that determines how well you will do – and that’s where the practice questions are really beneficial.
Review the questions that you get incorrect
A really important part of your learning is to spend some time looking at the practice questions you didn’t get right the first time around. With these, refer back to your notes. Aim to pinpoint specifically where and why you went wrong.
For example, was the error the result of not reading the question carefully and picking up incorrect information (e.g. dates, time periods or financial information), or was it because you needed to know more about a particular concept or principle?
Once you’ve established where you went wrong, go back to your notes and brush up on that issue. Don’t forget to review your performance in the progress tests and mock exams as part of this process.
Go straight to the solution if you don’t know the answer
Instead, try to work through it by referring back to the relevant section of your notes. If you still feel unsure or don’t understand how to work things out, speak to your tutor in class, drop them an email or simply pick up the phone to chat it through.
Particularly in the early days of your studies, try not to worry too much if you get the practice questions wrong, as that’s what they are there for.
Leave all the practice questions until revision week
Not looking at the practice questions until revision week means that you will miss out on many of the great benefits that they offer – time management, improving your confidence and understanding how the final exam content will be presented to name just a few.
Revision week is a busy and often stressful time, so don’t make things worse by leaving all the practice questions till the last minute.
Wait until you’ve learnt all of the technical material
Remember that you don’t need to know all of the technical content inside out before attempting the practice questions – your tutors are not expecting you to be an expert before getting stuck into the questions.
Get started with some open book question practice using your course notes alongside for support. As you get more confident, start to move towards a closed book approach and test yourself under exam conditions.
You can access a variety of materials from ICAS, as well as your paper notes. Revision questions will be made available to you when you reach the end of your class time.