Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter

    I'll be doing my GCSE exams soon and I'm wondering, is doing past papers more important than learning the actual content? Is it better to spend more of your time doing past papers/ reading through examiner reports or should you spend equal amount of time on both learning the content and the past papers?

    I'd say learn the content more as just doing past papers won't really help. But actually do some as they can show you where you're going wrong.

    Past papers are super useful, but you have to know the content first. On subjects like History & Geography they can really help improving exam technique meaning you are more likely to get better marks for the answers you give. On subjects like Sciences and Maths they help to show gaps in knowledge and show you what to revise. I also strongly reccomend looking at English past papers so you know the kind of question you will be asked, because I've found you can't really revise for English Language.


    I'd say spend equal amounts of time on each or even spend more time on the content! Past papers are really good but you won't get asked about everything so you won't know what you still need to work on If you just do the papers! I find it best to do the papers close to the exams once I've been through all the content as then i know which bits i can't do and what I need to go over again!

    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App

    Past papers should be treated more like practice questions, but different people learn differently, so if you learn by more practicing rather than revising the rules then do more practice papers and vice versa

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    • Study Helper

    Study Helper
    I think it depends on the subject. For science the are really, really helpful because they can highlight what you need to focus on more. A lot of time when I'm revising I tend to focus on things that I'm already ok at, but if I do a past paper and lose a lot of marks on a particular topic that'd motivate me to revise and concentrate more on that topic because I think "what if this was in the exam? I'd lose so many marks and it'd significantly impact my grade." You also understand how examiners want to you to phrase answers and what they look for, so sometimes I make some more revision notes based off those. Sometimes just sitting down with a textbook and trying to learn that way starts to bore me, whereas at least past papers keep you actively thinking.

    But as with all revision, different people learn differently. Some people prefer revision books, some people prefer past papers.

    I'd focus all you revision orientated around past papers.It is not the completion that is important though, its marking it.

    If you do a past paper for science for example, you subconsciously learn the content you are answering about. The questions you answer incorrectly can then be analysed in great detail. Say you answered a few wrong in the 'microorganisms' part, go over the topic in your revision.

    Through doing this it will allow you to pick up on the topics that you don't necessarily know as well.
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Would you rather give up salt or pepper?
    Useful resources

    Study tools


    Essay expert

    Learn to write like a pro with our ultimate essay guide.

    Thinking about uni already?

    Thinking about uni already?

    See where you can apply with our uni match tool

    Student chat

    Ask a question

    Chat to other GCSE students and get your study questions answered.


    Make study resources

    Create all the resources you need to get the grades.


    Create your own Study Plan

    Organise all your homework and exams so you never miss another deadline.

    Resources by subject

    From flashcards to mind maps; there's everything you need for all of your GCSE subjects.


    Find past papers

    100s of GCSE past papers for all your subjects at your fingertips.

    Help out other students

    Can you help? Study help unanswered threads

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Write a reply...
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.