1. Unaware of exam formats
One of the things that shock me the most is the fact that some students are unaware of the exam format of the subjects they are taking. I’ve had students come in 2 months before the exam completely unaware of even the number of papers they will be sitting for each subject.
This is crucial information that helps you strategize your revision and study time to get the best results. This also helps in narrowing your target to pick up marks as effectively as possible.
2. Cracking the relationship between time and marks
The next thing you should do is be aware of the relationship between marks and the duration of your exam paper. For example, if the Accounting paper is worth 80 marks and the exam duration given by CAIE is 90 mins then you should be aware that you should not spend more than 0.8 min per mark. To be more clear, that means for a 5 mark question you should spend nothing more than 4 mins. Even if you are not done, move on! Pick up easy marks from other questions first. Come back to complete this when you have the time.
3. Stop the mental vomit
This is another mistake most students make especially for subjects like English, Business Studies and Economics. Unlike Mathematics, you can still attempt to write something using logic for these papers even if you have not studied. Most students hope that their gift of gab will help them score some marks. Trust me, this is far from the truth.
You need to answer what is being asked according to the command words given. A question that starts with “discuss” requires a whole different answer compared to a question that starts with “justify”. What students end up doing is vomiting everything they know without demonstrating any analysis or application of knowledge. This is the main reason why a student who has completely covered the syllabus is still unable to get a decent grade in IGCSE.
Be familiar with your command words. And obey them!
4. Not becoming one with the syllabus
You would assume that this is obvious. However, most students demonstrate a poor grasp of the syllabus hence unable to pass their papers. You need to be extremely well versed with the syllabus just to be able to obtain even a pass mark in IGCSE. So yes, the syllabus should be part of your DNA.
If you would like to know where you stand currently with your preparation towards IGCSE, sign up for a Pasxcel Discovery Session and find out!
5. Wingin’ It
If there is one thing that is clear from all the above, you can’t go with the flow in IGCSE. No matter what subject or paper, you need a clear plan. You can’t just start writing the answers for Paper 2 for English As First Language. You need to be sure you have enough points, each point needs to have proper detail and development. You should spend some time sharpening your saw before you try to chop down the tree. Have a solid plan before you attack the questions. Never wing it.
Accounting, Business Studies, Economics & Financial Literacy
BA(Hons) Finance, Accounting & Management, Sunway University
Chartered Accountant, ACCA.
Yuventhiran Nadarajan is a father, husband, speaker and entrepreneur. But he is best known among students and parents alike as an educator. Teacher Yuven believes that the current schooling system is outdated beyond measure and is the last piece of surviving antiquity in our fast-paced ever-changing world.