Understanding exam questions

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Rosiemae885
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#1
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#1
Hi

I’m sure this is a common problem in lots of people but I am struggling massively with this. I’ve recently done mocks and I realise I lose most marks from not writing the right stuff in the question even know I though I wrote the right thing and it has been getting me down a bit after putting all the revision in but not getting results I need/want all becase My brain can’t process what needs to go into the question.

Any advice on how I can improve this or if anyone has or is in a similar situations and how they cope with it
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DataVenia
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(Original post by Rosiemae885)
...I lose most marks from not writing the right stuff in the question even know I though I wrote the right thing...
I almost had a stroke trying to read that!

Are these essay-type questions we're talking about? It sounds like you might not be paying sufficient attention to the "action" words in the question. I mean words like analyse, compare, define, describe, evaluate, explain, etc. Could that be the issue?

If you think it might be, then try to find examples of model answers for each of these types of questions, in order to help you understand what these "action" words really mean - i.e. what the examiner is looking for when they use them. Then, when you're taking your next practice question, underlying any action words in the question to make them stand out, and as you're writing you answer, keep checking that you're actually doing what that "action" is asking. Does that make sense?

If you know the subject matter, then you're most of the way there - you just need to work out how to present that knowledge in a way which matches what the question is actually asking.
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KirstinTM
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#3
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#3
Highlight key words and don’t just write the first thing that you think. If your exam answers are anything like your post then I’m not surprised you are losing marks; I can barely understand half of what you wrote. If you need to, write longer answer questions in bullet points, one point per mark so you cover hopefully all of the marks.
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tinyperson
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#4
Read the question carefully. Make notes.
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Rosiemae885
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#5
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(Original post by DataVenia)
I almost had a stroke trying to read that!

Are these essay-type questions we're talking about? It sounds like you might not be paying sufficient attention to the "action" words in the question. I mean words like analyse, compare, define, describe, evaluate, explain, etc. Could that be the issue?

If you think it might be, then try to find examples of model answers for each of these types of questions, in order to help you understand what these "action" words really mean - i.e. what the examiner is looking for when they use them. Then, when you're taking your next practice question, underlying any action words in the question to make them stand out, and as you're writing you answer, keep checking that you're actually doing what that "action" is asking. Does that make sense?

If you know the subject matter, then you're most of the way there - you just need to work out how to present that knowledge in a way which matches what the question is actually asking.
I do apologise about giving you a stroke…as you can see English is not a strong point of mine but thank you so much I’ll defo try that before my next assessments
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Kefrancos
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You’re problem is most likely not knowing the command words, which I struggle with too. Here are some useful resources for this: https://resource.download.wjec.co.uk...-glossary.html,
https://www.aqa.org.uk/resources/sci.../command-words, https://www.ocr.org.uk/blog/how-impo...command-words/, https://qualifications.pearson.com/c...ience-Spec.pdf. Just look at the ones from yours exam board. If I haven’t listed yours I would look it up because it’s a very common list for exam boards to publish and I probably just missed that exam board.

If this isn’t your problem then the best thing you can do is constantly do exam practice. Make sure to analyse your mistakes deeply and give yourself feedback on your interpretation of the question.

I hope this helped! 😊
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Medic Mind
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(Original post by Rosiemae885)
Hi

I’m sure this is a common problem in lots of people but I am struggling massively with this. I’ve recently done mocks and I realise I lose most marks from not writing the right stuff in the question even know I though I wrote the right thing and it has been getting me down a bit after putting all the revision in but not getting results I need/want all becase My brain can’t process what needs to go into the question.

Any advice on how I can improve this or if anyone has or is in a similar situations and how they cope with it
Heya! I know its stressful but don't give up on your revision There are tons of ways you can improve your revision technique and get higher scores!
I would recommend to do more past papers to begin with Practice makes perfect! Have you given yourself a mock exam and marked yourself afterwards? This is what I would often do in order to understand how to answer the questions properly! I would do around 2-3 past papers properly during the week for each subject. If its helpful, here is a link to free past papers which should help you with practicing -> https://www.studymind.co.uk/resources/
When you do past papers, remember to include key terms (especially important for chemistry and biology if you do them! ). Compare your answers to the mark scheme and highlight what you are missing as well as take a note of it to remember for the future. For essay based exams I would recommend creating a small template for yourself. For example for economics I used to use E.C.O.N.O.M.I.C.S template to answer any question! I would write up my plan/template including any key terms I would need to include before writing an essay (helped me!)

If you need any extra help, you could ask your teacher to give you some advice on how to approach the question and how to improve your answers! Personally, teachers weren't that helpful for me so I had to turn to 1-1 tutoring, in case you are interested here is a link to 1-1 A-level tutoring -> https://www.studymind.co.uk that is ofcourse if you are interested!
Hope this is helpful and good luck!
Milena G.
Study Mind
A-level Easter Classes
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Kefrancos
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#8
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You’re problem is most likely not knowing the command words, which I struggle with too. Here are some useful resources for this: https://resource.download.wjec.co.uk...-glossary.html, https://www.aqa.org.uk/resources/sci.../command-words, https://www.ocr.org.uk/blog/how-impo...command-words/, https://qualifications.pearson.com/c.../GCSE/Computer Science/2016/teaching-and-learning-materials/Command-word-taxonomy-2016-Computer-Science-Spec.pdf. Just look at the ones from yours exam board. If I haven’t listed yours I would look it up because it’s a very common list for exam boards to publish and I probably just missed that exam board.If this isn’t your problem then the best thing you can do is constantly do exam practice. Make sure to analyse your mistakes deeply and give yourself feedback on your interpretation of the question.I hope this helped! 😊
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Tzoky
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This is completely understandable. Like others have said, command words are the first thing to check.

+For essay-based subjects, it might also be helpful to make mind-maps displaying what you could discuss for more obscure subjects (which you have probably tried, sorry if this is the case) and then *pair them up into themes*.

Example:
Sociology
Gender roles within the family:
- More jobs available to women, expansion of the service sector ---> (factors affecting GR)
- Men's changing attitudes toward childcare --->(positive effect of changing GR)
- Women underestimate the time they spend on domestic labour --->(evaluation point, opposing the idea that enough change has occurred)

For non-essay-based subjects - ask yourself key questions from your revision
Example: Chemistry
An example reaction is given in the question and you are told that this is feasible at high temperature (Gibbs)
-Exothermic or endothermic reaction? - how do you know? - what does it mean?
-More positive or negative entropy? - how do you know? - what does it mean?

Answering each question hits every mark and formulates a clear and concise answer. Hope this was somewhat helpful
Last edited by Tzoky; 2 months ago
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Rosiemae885
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Tzoky)
This is completely understandable. Like others have said, command words are the first thing to check.

+For essay-based subjects, it might also be helpful to make mind-maps displaying what you could discuss for more obscure subjects (which you have probably tried, sorry if this is the case) and then *pair them up into themes*.

Example:
Sociology
Gender roles within the family:
- More jobs available to women, expansion of the service sector ---> (factors affecting GR)
- Men's changing attitudes toward childcare --->(positive effect of changing GR)
- Women underestimate the time they spend on domestic labour --->(evaluation point, opposing the idea that enough change has occurred)

For non-essay-based subjects - ask yourself key questions from your revision
Example: Chemistry
An example reaction is given in the question and you are told that this is feasible at high temperature (Gibbs)
-Exothermic or endothermic reaction? - how do you know? - what does it mean?
-More positive or negative entropy? - how do you know? - what does it mean?

Answering each question hits every mark and formulates a clear and concise answer. Hope this was somewhat helpful
sorry, I never replied back to this but I've been trying it and it has definitely helped, fingers crossed this works in my exams
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