How to revise for A-level Physics exams: AQA explains what to do

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Exam and revision advice to help you get your target grades in A-level Physics

When you're revising for your A-level exams, you want to make the most of your study time.

So, we invited the experts at the AQA exam board to share their tips and advice on preparing for A-level Physics exams.

The article that follows has been written by an AQA curriculum expert, based on their years of experience in the assessment of their subject.  

You can find more articles in this series, covering a range of subjects at both GCSE and A-level, over on our revision section.

Also on The Student Room, you can find student discussion of 2024 A-level exams.

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  1. Read the question carefully and respond specifically to the command word(s) and the context given in each question. Try to make sure you’re answering the question being asked, rather than the question you’d like to be asked.
  2. Be prepared to apply your knowledge of practical work to new contexts. The practical questions will often ask you to apply the skills you’ve learnt during the 12 required practical activities to situations you won’t necessarily have come across before - as opposed to reciting the practical you did in class.
  3. Show all your working and make sure your intermediate numerical values are clearly set out. Examiners can’t award credit for intermediate steps that aren’t visible. In multi-step calculations, a consistent flow down the answer space is ideal. Answers that are difficult to interpret or unclear can lead to examiners being unable to award credit. 
  4. Be careful when rounding intermediate calculation steps as you only need to round to the correct significant figures at the final step of a calculation. Rounding too early and/or too severely may well take your calculation outside the range of answers that an examiner will accept.
  5. Before tackling an extended response question worth 6 or 8 marks, you should take care to read the question thoroughly in order to make sure you answer all parts of the question. These questions will sometimes provide guidance in the form of ‘in your answer you should include…’
  6. Practise the maths skills listed at the end of the specification – make sure you understand them all.
  7. Examiners deliberately count the numbers of answer lines they provide for each question to make sure there’s more than enough space. You should only need extra pages if you need to cross out incorrect work.
  8. Be aware that answers that contain contradictions, even on additional pages, can mean you may lose marks. Make sure you cross out anything that you don’t want to be marked, particularly if you’re using an additional page.
  9. Don’t rush. You can avoid common errors if you take a little more time to understand the nature of data given in a question before attempting an answer.
  10. Keep going. If you don’t understand the question, move on to the next one and come back to it later. There are multiple choice questions at the end of papers, and you’ll find some harder than others – so, if you’re running out of time, make sure you write an answer down for every multiple choice question.

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