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Previous Papers - Are they Enough to Prepare You for the Exam?
Previous question papers can be useful to find out what kind of questions are asked in an exam or on your subject so that you can prepare yourself accordingly, but they should never be the only tool you use to study or prepare yourself! Sometimes previous papers can be misleading and not actually reflect the type of questions that will be asked in the exam, which can lead to frustration and disappointment when you’re sitting the exam and realise that your preparation wasn’t thorough enough!
Why do you need previous year papers?
If you’re considering sitting an exam that is part of a certification program, there are many reasons why you should use previous papers in your preparation. The first, and most obvious, reason is because you can use them as a benchmark against which to measure your own performance. This makes it much easier to track your progress (or lack thereof). It’s also a valuable tool for gauging exactly what kind of questions are likely to appear on test day.
Every certification body has its own unique style and presentation of exam content; if you want to be prepared for what lies ahead, having access to older papers—even ones from different years—can prove invaluable in testing out your approach before it counts. Another reason for using past papers is simply to gain familiarity with how exams are structured. Whether you have experience or not, taking a paper version of an exam can help you get used to completing one under pressure.
Some students don’t find them helpful
After years of prepping and studying, students are now taking their final exam that will define their future. There is a lot at stake. Students want to get good grades so they can get into a top university. Some use mock exams as one of their study methods but some don’t see them as an effective study aid. Mock papers help in practice but do not guarantee good grades in most cases and should be used wisely if they are available.
Must be relevant
Past exam papers should be a major component of your study plan. There are two reasons why past papers aren’t necessarily a great indicator of success. First, you need to understand that there’s often only a one-to-one correlation between past papers and current exam questions. Second, since ASQA has changed some elements of their exams (such as adding an online component), it can be hard to determine which previous exams you should use in your studies.
The best way to use previous papers
There are a couple of ways you can go about using previous papers. If you’re relatively new to a subject, you could use them as a diagnostic tool – if you struggle with a question on a paper that was at your level, it may be time to revisit your preparation and do some more in-depth work on that area. For those of us who’ve been doing something for a while, though, it might be worth checking out what has changed.
Final words on using past papers
I hope it’s clear by now that you should treat past papers as a tool, not a crutch. I also hope that it’s clear from my above examples that past papers are more than enough to give you an idea of what will be tested and what types of problems and questions will be presented. But do not rely on these too much, because your aim is not just to memorize information; instead, work on mastering the exam format so that there are no surprises come test day.