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The Exam

Here are the most crucial points to remember during the exam itself, along with the examiners’ comments, to remind you of the importance of following instructions and being aware of such things as the mark allocation.

1. Read the questions

  • “Some candidates disadvantaged themselves by failing to read the questions properly.”
  •  “Often candidates simply recited their knowledge… without applying it to the questions.”

2. Take note of the number of marks available

  • “Candidates should be encouraged to pay attention to the mark allocation.  Questions worth two, three or four marks often elicited only short answers containing just one point. … some candidates supplied lengthy responses to questions where only one mark was available.”

3. Keep answers concise and detailed

  • “Candidates often gave answers that were too imprecise to be awarded credit.”
  • “Not surprisingly, many of those candidates who included superfluous information in their answers found themselves short of time at the end of the examination.”

4. Show your working out

  •  “Only steps for which clear working is given score marks.”
  • “Candidates can answer by any valid method with clear working.”

5. Include units where necessary

  •  “Questions requiring numerical responses should have units given (when appropriate).”

6. Do not repeat the question

  • “A substantial number of weaker candidates simply restated the question and so failed to gain any credit.”
  • “…candidates were required to give an explanation … rather than simply to repeat information already given in the question…”

7. Be careful with spelling and punctuation

  • “…there are some situations where the examiners accepted only the correct spelling.”

8. Take care with illustrations

  • “Some lost credit by not labeling… diagrams.”
  • “…the absence of labels or clarity often made this impossible to credit.”

9. Check your answers

  • “Make sure the answer is reasonable.”
  • “…some did not seem to have taken the trouble to check what they had written.  If they had done so, and then made appropriate corrections, they might well have secured some more marks.”

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