How to ace the exams!

We've already given you loads of great info and advice on how to prepare and revise for each of your GCSE language exams... but there are still loads of general exam tips that you need to read up on before the exams come around. Plus these tips will come in useful for your other subjects too. Read through this section to be exam savvy!

You have four exams to do for your GCSE language as there’s one for each key area; listening, speaking, reading and writing. Even though each exam focuses mostly on one area, your skills and knowledge in the others will all come in really handy, so don’t feel like you’re cheating if you overlap on things you write/say - it’s a clever thing to do and something that will score you good marks!

Here are some tips to help you do well in your exams...

Before the exam

  • Make sure you know which tier you are entered for in case there is a mix-up on the day.
  • Don't revise late into the night - always give your brain a break before going to bed.
  • Get a good night’s sleep - being refreshed and awake is important for doing well.
  • Pack your clear pencil case and exam stuff the night before. Don't forget to include some pens, highlighters, tissues and water.
  • Eat a good breakfast. It’ll get your brain going for the day and there’s nothing worse than your tummy rumbling in the exam.
  • Arrive in plenty of time. You don’t want to be going in late to the exam and being all flustered. 

During the exam


Top tip:

”Use lots of opinions and back them up with examples.”

  • Read the instructions on the front page before the exam starts - just to remind you what you have to do.
  • Work through the exams at a steady pace but keep an eye on the time - questions towards the end may be longer and take more time to answer than those at the beginning.
  • Don’t be distracted! Don’t be tempted to look around at what’s going on - you’ll lose your train of thought.
  • Answer in the correct language - look back over the paper instructions.
  • Always try to give an answer.
  • Look at how many marks each question is worth - this is a clue as to the amount of information that you need to give - 3 marks = 3 points to include.
  • Don’t get worried if you can’t answer the question. Move on from it for the time being and come back to the question again at the end to see if you can answer it then.
  • Look out for words in the question which you could recycle in your answer.
  • Keep an eye on the time and wear a watch in case you don’t have a clear view of a clock. You’ll have a rough idea of how long to spend on each section from your practice papers, so just be aware of this in the exam too.
  • Make sure you leave yourself enough time to check through your answers thoroughly at the end.