3 reasons why your practice exam could be doing you an injustice

Look anywhere on student forums at the moment and you’ll see a mad scramble by students, looking for practice exams or tests. These kids are hungry for practice – some want to challenge themselves, some need reassurance that they’ve done enough work, and others are looking for the gaps in their knowledge so that they can study more effectively. For all these reasons, practice exams WORK. But are all practice exams equal?


Case study 1: Tran has just got a practice test from his mate on the internet. You little ripper! He’ll smash his way through it and feel better that he’s done enough study for tomorrow’s test. Unfortunately, the test his ‘mate’ gave him wasn’t from this year’s curriculum. It was 4 years old and much of the course is now different.

Result: Fast forward an hour or two, now Tran is a bit frazzled, he’s wasted the last pieces of his valuable time fretting over outdated questions AND is still trying to work out why he wasn’t taught this content by his teacher.


Case Study 2: After downloading a past exam from the internet, Karen is stoked to have finished it in under 3 hours. She’s sure she’s got the right answers. Time for bed, ready and refreshed for tomorrow’s exam! In reality, Karen hasn’t realised that she didn’t put anywhere near enough detail into her answers to get full marks for each response. The downloaded exam didn’t come complete with a full marking key, or sample answers that would’ve guided her responses and led to a better understanding of how to ace her test.

Result: Karen loses 15 marks in her exam by partially completing many answers, only gaining part marks for each.


Case study 3: Jim does a previous End of Year exam. Over and over. Nice work, Jim. Good to see you have a great handle on 2016. Sadly, Jim hasn’t realised that examiners do not repeat questions (or maybe even concepts) that were examined in the past few years. (We could even argue that doing last year’s exam might be the worst way to study for this year’s exam).  Examiners will throw in a different example that requires you to apply your knowledge in a different context or ask questions that relate to other areas of the curriculum that weren’t covered in past exams.

Result: Jim gets a question in this year’s exam that really throws him. He hasn’t learnt to apply his knowledge to other contexts and is now stuck.


So, when you’re looking for revision material, remember these key elements:


• Relevance – has it been written with my current syllabus/study design in mind?

• Quality – look for well written questions that challenge you to apply your knowledge across different contexts

• Supportive – come complete with quality sample responses and detailed marking keys showing mark allocation


At ReviseOnline, we produce, quality, relevant revision material, all written by subject specialists with your course in mind. Find revision that gets results at www.reviseonline.com