One of the best things you can do when revising for the exam is read over the Examiner's report- after all, they will be the ones looking at your exam paper in May! In order to help you get started, we have collected some of the key themes from the Examiner's February report. The full report is available right here: OCS February 2017 Examiner's Report. We suggest that you read through this yourself very carefully!
Learning lessons from those who mark and assess the exam themselves could be all the difference between a pass and a fail this May. For every sitting I analyse the report and share the important findings, so students do not make the same mistakes. The examiners often have to repeat themselves on where students are going wrong, which we don't want to happen for the next sitting! With this in mind, here are the top three key themes from the newest OCS report.
1. Don't spend all of your time on one question
One of the first points made in the exam was about candidates dedicating a little too much time to one section of the exam:
“There was...evidence that at times candidates spent longer on one element of a task to the detriment of the rest of the task. Whilst candidates are not given specific mark allocations or timings beyond the overall timing of the section, case writers seek to ensure that the number of elements required is clear. Each element should be given an equal proportion of the overall time for the section."
Having a firm grasp of time management is an important skill needed in the exam - but it can be tricky when the exam is so time pressured. Make sure you are not dedicating all of your time to one section. Before the exam, pactise doing mock exams under timed conditions and try to stick to this in the real thing. It's not easy - but remember, the examiner wants to see that you have written an answer for every question!
2. P1 and F1 knowledge could be improved
The examiner's have noticed that there were some technical areas which were lacking in the February sitting:
“In some tasks, it was clear that candidates had knowledge of a particular area, but were unable to apply it effectively to the case study. In particular, application in the technical areas of P1 ”
If you feel like your technical knowledge in these areas are not your forte, now would be the time to brush up on this knowledge. If you are finding some of the information a little tricky to understand, why not post up a query on our Disqus message board, speak to a fellow student or try a different method of revision -perhaps watching a video about the information instead of reading a study text.
3. Examiner's love clear formatting!
The examiner's really like answers to be laid out clearly:
“Whilst there are no specific marks for formatting, there are a number of advantages to setting out answers in this way, not least that it helps the marker to identify the points that are being made. In addition, having a clear structure should help candidates to ensure that they have addressed all the points they want to."
Not only does clear formatting give structure to your answer, it will also help bring your answer to the examiner's attention more quickly! Although it won't win you marks in itself, having clear formatting can do you no harm- it will help you to structure your work, plan more carefully and write an answer that the examiners will love.
As already you may have gathered, it is VITAL that you look at what the examiners have found in previous sittings as you can then ensure you have considered these issues before your own exam.