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How past exam papers can be key to exam success


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Past exam papers are an essential part of preparing for your actual exams. On one hand, these papers provide a practical insight into the style and theme of typical examination papers.

Passing examsOn the other hand, past exams equip you with knowledge and examination techniques to help you handle future exams. 

The Benefits of Past Exam Papers

1. Help you focus on common exam themes

Going thorough past papers enables you to understand some of the themes that may be covered in your exam. It is a fact, most study courses have a wide variety of associated topics and thus, cannot all be covered in one exam paper. Scrutinising these papers is the best way to determine the areas that examiners usually test students on, so that you can focus your revision on those areas.

2. Practice with actual exam-style questions

Including past exam papers in your revision enables you to have a feel of the key topic areas and/or themes that you are likely to encounter in your forth-coming exams. As such, you have an idea on the subject areas that you are strongest in, as well as the areas that you know little or nothing about. You can, therefore, focus your revision on the particular subject areas that you don’t have a proper grasp of. It also helps you to understand and refresh your memory on some of the common terminology and phrases that you are likely to encounter in the actual examination.

3. Develop/improve your time management skills

Past exam papers are actual exams that were used to test other students. With such a resource, you are able to understand how it feels to sit an actual exam. You can use these papers to practise and see how much time you would spend to complete an exam paper - as if it were your actual exam. It teaches you how to effectively allocate time for each exam question. Sit the paper within the time allocated, and if you are unable to complete within the time specified, put more effort – especially in the subject areas that you are weak in. The time management skills that you gather from practising using past papers are important in ensuring success in your forthcoming exams.

4. Get a feel for sitting exams

Practising with past exam papers enables you to have a feel of your forthcoming exams, with regard to the exam questions. Fortunately, examiners use a common “template” to set exam papers. You should expect your forthcoming FRCA or GPST exam papers to be very similar with your actual exam papers in as far as the number of questions and style of exam questions is concerned. Past papers enable you to experience the number, style and variety of exam questions. Knowing the number of questions to expect and the choices you are likely to encounter gives you an advantage when planning on how to answer each question. Similarly, the style of questions used e.g. essays, multiple choice, or short-answer, is important in helping you understand how to effectively handle your exam paper.

5. Refine your exam answering skills

When you spend time studying past exam papers, you get to experiment on how to best answer questions. Comparing your answers with those from other students, and/or answers from the official marking scheme enables you to refine the way you answer exam questions. 


Past exam papers from PasTest provide a useful resource for preparing for your exams in that, you are able to farmiliarise yourself with the style, theme, depth and techniques used in the particular exams that you are about to sit.

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