Why Reading Past Papers Is the Easiest Way to Succeed at University


Today, students are bombarded by numerous academic tasks required to successfully graduate from university and get a degree. That is why the time has become a valuable resource, which students cannot waste. Many of them believe that studying is either reading the textbook multiple times or reading a chapter and making notes to summarize it in their own note format. Both approaches are probably the most ineffective ways to study since students are only asked about 30% of the subject in their exams. But how to prepare for actual exams if reading textbooks over and over again and making notes is not relevant? To find an answer to this question, you need to understand that studying is not subject practice. Far from that, it is exam practice, where you take all you have done in the classroom and homework and see how this knowledge comes up in your exam.

Studying hard is not an equivalent of studying smart. Students need to make the learning process as efficient and productive as possible to succeed at university. If you want to prepare for your actual exams and pass them successfully, you should make past papers your best friend. There are numerous reasons why reading past papers is the easiest way to success at university. In this article, we have summarized the best benefits of this approach to studying.

1. You can familiarize yourself with the key topic areas
Reading past papers allows you to get a feeling for the main topics and themes that you are likely to encounter in your upcoming exams. The overwhelming majority of all exams are very predictable. With this knowledge in mind, try to sit with past exam papers for an hour or two and you will understand what we are talking about. You will identify certain trends and patterns that will help you get prepared for your exams more effectively. For example, after identifying trends and patterns, you can tell what subject areas you are good at and what themes and topics you know little or nothing about. As a result, you can focus your attention on certain themes to further extend your knowledge and get a proper grasp of certain subject areas. Furthermore, by reviewing past papers, it is possible to refresh your memory with the common phrases and terminology that you are likely to use in the actual exam. This will help you feel more confident and success oriented.

2. Reading past papers can get you a higher exam mark
In accordance with a study conducted by The Super Generation, an education organization that helps students learn more effectively, average students who focus on reading past papers and study smart tend to get above average or even excellent exam results. This is because spending your time practicing old exam papers and example sheets, as well as using them to guide your exam plans, can greatly assist you in developing your answer. Furthermore, reading past papers can help you practice answering exam questions and definitions. Given that fewer marks are allocated in this area, you can spend the majority of your time on the essay-style questions that generally count as a higher portion of the grade.

3. Past papers provide you with a feel of the forthcoming exams
Getting through past papers is also beneficial for your success at university since it enables you to experience the style, variety, and number of exam questions. With this knowledge in mind, you can plan on how to tackle each question in a highly effective manner. Reading past papers also enables you to familiarize yourself with the style of questions used, such as short-answer, multiple-choice, or essays. As a result, you will be able to get a better understanding of how to handle your exam paper in the best way possible and get a high mark.

4. You can further develop your skills
Reading past exam papers is also essential for your ability to further develop your time management and exam answering skills. For example, use these papers in order to practice and see how much time it would take to complete your exam paper. If you fail to deal with the paper within the time specified, analyze your answer and identify how you could improve and enhance it to achieve success in your forthcoming exams.

5. Reading past papers saves your time
Many teachers and students know that the majority of study courses have numerous associated topics, so it is problematic to cover them all in one exam. That is why reading past papers is crucial for your success as a student. When reading these papers, you are able to shift the focus of your mind from the broad subject to the exact, narrow questions. Given that only 4 hours of exam paper reading is worth around 10 hours of reading the textbook and taking notes, you should take this opportunity as early as possible to study effectively and increase your chances to get a high exam mark. Of course, don’t totally skip reading textbooks. While exams cover only a fraction of topics and subject areas, you will still need to give additional detail to your answer and provide the examiner with extra information to demonstrate your knowledge and comprehension.

Studying past papers is an effective strategy when it comes to exam preparation because it helps you focus on important themes and subject areas while also practicing exam-style questions. By following this simple strategy, you can approach the examination day with confidence and succeed at any point of your academic career at university. Just remember to stay positive, calm, and optimistic, and you will do well. Most universities provide their students with access to past exam papers on their website or digital library.

Ellie Richards is an online marketing manager for Original PhD, specializing in Ph.D. research paper help. Her focus is research, content and article writing on various topics, including education, marketing, and technology.