The Cambridge IGCSE will begin within a few days and for many, this would be their first major board examinations.
Here are 5 tips for you to get through them with confidence.
1 – Revise, practice, revise, practice
Being familiar with your subject content is of utmost importance, and it includes being familiar with past papers and the expected answering style.
As the last days pass, attempt to do more past paper questions and revise from your short notes or other aids.
If anyone has delayed their studies till the 11th hour, it is not too late to catch up. Use these days productively to incorporate your revision with your past paper practice. Read through the chapter summaries and definitions. Make use of available short notes and cheat sheets.
2 – Give yourself a break
Remember that exams are not everything, especially not at the cost of your wellbeing. Well-timed breaks will help reduce your stress, divert your mind, and prevent information overload.
Take a complete break the evening previous to your exams, doing light revision at best, to be mentally prepared for your upcoming exam.
3 – Be prepared
Being prepared is essential when facing major exams. It is recommended to prepare yourself the night before to avoid unnecessary tension or panic.
Have your exam timetable written clearly and placed where you and your family can see it. Double-check the date and time.
Pack your bag early with everything needed. Avoid taking items that will not be allowed into the exam hall (such as colored purse/folders or calculator covers). You will find the list attached to your statement of entry.
Always remember to carry extra pens, pencils.
Have your statement of entry (without the attached documents) and identification document in a clear folder. Take it with you every day! Failing to bring them can lead to unnecessary difficulties.
4 – Tackling the exams questions
Read the instructions carefully and know how many questions you are expected to answer.
As exciting as it might be to see a question you know the answer to, take a few minutes to read through all the questions and map out your answers. Mark the questions you find hard or unsure of. If you have any choice questions, take the time to choose them.
Read the questions with care, preferably underlining the key terms so you know what is being asked.
Answer the questions you are comfortable with first and tackle the harder ones later, to ensure time is not wasted. Be conscious of the time you dedicate to each question.
Make sure you have attempted to answer all the questions required.
Read the questions carefully.
Unless you know the answer immediately, use the elimination method to find the correct answer (by eliminating the wrong ones)
Do not get nervous if you get repeated a’s or c’s as your answer.
Short, long, or essay type questions
Knowing precisely what the question is about, is the key to answering these sections well.
For short answers, summarise the facts and write what is relevant.
Longer answers will require clear explanations of the facts stated.
If you have an essay, make sure to distinguish your answers into paragraphs. Give relevant details only.
Make yourself familiar with the command words used by the examination board and their expectations.
Write down the working where possible and be clear so that you can avoid careless errors.
Be sure to read the questions carefully, in case the answer requires some conversion of value.
5 – Let it go
Once the exams are over, try not to indulge much in discussing your answers with others. Use the time to either relax or to start revising for the next exam.
By discussing your previous paper, you will be undermining your efforts. It can lead to losing confidence or upset you if you find out you have done something wrong while your friends have done it correctly. That paper is no longer in your control and nothing you do can change anything, so just let it go.
The best way to walk away from your exams with the least regrets is to give it your best shot.
Wish you the best in your exams.