For year 11 pupils, GCSE exams are now looming. With the Easter holidays out of the way, it’s time to really knuckle down to revision. But while you’re reading through your notes, working through past papers, and using online resources, remember to look through the marking guides too.

You might be thinking why should you look at the marking guide, it’s for the examiners after all? However, it can be a trove of information that could help you pick up those extra marks.

When your GCSE exams are just weeks away there are a few reasons to have a quick look through the GCSE marking guide beforehand:

  • Understand what the perfect question is – Marking guides will provide model answers, showing you what the difference between a grade 9 and 4 is. With a better understanding of exactly what markers will be looking for, you’re in a position to tailor your responses to suit this. Glancing back at the examples can help you when you’re working on your revision and you’ll soon find that you begin to take on board the key parts automatically.
  • Highlight focus revision areas – As you look through a marking guide, you’re likely to notice some reoccurring themes. If they’re areas that you know you struggle with, you can make better use of your revision time by focussing on these core parts of the curriculum. Taking just a few minutes to glance at the marking guide before you get down to revision can support you in focus your efforts and getting the most out of every minute.
  • Figure out where you could miss marks – Even when you’re comfortable with a subject area, it’s easy to miss a couple of marks through carelessness – using the marking guide before the exam can help you identify where you’re dropping marks. If you’re on a grade boundary it could make a huge difference to your final grade.
  • Get to grips with the exam format – The format of your exams should be something you’ve already looked at as you’ve tried your hand at past papers. The marking guide can help reinforce that work you’ve already done. It’ll show you what’s expected for each question style that you’ll encounter, helping you to achieve maximum marks and allocate the correct amount of time according to the potential gains.