Studying with old exam papers

Close up of student using old exam paper to study

One of the best ways to prepare for exams is with old exam papers.

Why past exam papers are the best way to study


Teachers recommend preparing for exams by completing old exam papers. That's a great way of determining what you know and which sections you need to revise. Educational psychologist Marinda Botha explains why using previous exam papers are the best way to study and ace your exams.

  1. Getting used to the exam style questions, the layout of the exam paper and subject specific terminology. Getting used to these aspects might even improve the speed with which you answer your real exam.
  2. Your exam might include similar questions to the ones you have practised. Having seen the question or some aspects of the question before, will give you the added benefit of having had time to think about the topic and plan your answer before entering the exam room. 
  3. It forces you to not just memorise the facts, but to interpret and apply your knowledge. Your overall understanding of the subject content will thus improve. 
  4. You can use old exam papers to focus and get the most of study groups.

Tip: Give yourself the same amount of time indicated on the question paper to complete your mock exam. This will help you practice time management skills for your upcoming exam.

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