Using past exam papers to help you get that passing grade is nothing new. People have been doing it for centuries. The difference is that now these papers are easily available on the Internet. Still, even with access to this information, some people still have trouble passing a test.
Exams are a part of life that everyone has to deal with. From the day you enter pre-school throughout the rest of your life you will continually be tested. Tested by teachers, professors and eventually, employers. You’ll even have to pass an exam to get a driver’s license and various operators’ licenses for work permits. So it’s important that you learn how to pass exams.
You Must Believe You Can Pass
It doesn’t seem possible that someone could have access to past exam papers and still fail the test. Unfortunately, it only takes a couple of failures for some people to start believing they’re not good at taking exams. Some people firmly believe they’re not ‘Good Test Takers.’ But nobody likes to take tests. It’s not something we willingly choose to do.
You have to get that negative thought out of your mind. Unless you have some type of learning problem that prevents you from absorbing and comprehending the material then you have the same tools that everyone else has – you have a brain and the ability to use it. That’s all it takes. So stop thinking that people who do pass exams have some sort of secret weapon. Their weapon is – they believe they will pass the test.
You Must Prepare Constantly
People who regularly pass exams with seemingly no effort at all understand that it takes constant preparation. You simply can’t wait until the night before the test before you finally crack the book and start reading the material. The human brain doesn’t work that way.
Thanks to our marvelous short term memory, it’s easy to cram a lot of information into your brain and spew it all back out the next day. But short term memory is like a drinking glass. You can fill it up with water but it will only hold so much. If you keep pouring water into the glass eventually it’s just going to start spilling out of the glass. That information that ’spills over the top’ never reaches your memory banks.
The key is to commit that information to your long term memory where you’ll be able to access it when it comes time for the exam. The brain recovers information in three ways: Information that was most recently stored – as in short term memory - information that was most frequently reviewed, and information that was committed to memory via some type of intense experience.
By frequently reviewing the information you’re committing more and more of it to your long term memory which means it’s going to stick with you for a long, long time. In other words – you won’t forget it when it comes time to take the exam.
Combine the use of past exam papers and your own notes from class. That way you’ll have all the basics plus any new information the instructor provides. The more information you can commit to your long term memory the more room you’ll have in your short term memory for those niggling little facts you review just before you sit down for the exam.