Exam Preparation Techniques

I just finished writing an exam guide for business studies which you would
like to read before the exam. It gives you tips on how to crack big
questions and how to fulfill the demands of the Examiners and what they
are looking for in each question. They are really useful tips so do read
it and make sure you get it. best of luck for EXAMS!!


By: Nida Gul

 •    Revise thoroughly before the examination – allow plenty of time for this and avoid leaving it until the last minute.
 •    Test yourself with the quiz in this website and also by asking questions from yourself or solving the questions in your book.

YOU can also help yourself greatly if you take the following steps:
 •    Obtain a copy of your syllabus. You may also be able to obtain past examination papers and mark schemes. It is very important that you check your progress of your learning and revision with against the syllabus content. This website contains all/ most of the information in a summary form that you will need for the IGCSE Business Studies examination. The glossary helps you remember the difficult and important terms easily and you do not have to turn pages for different words in the same chapter because every definition for every chapter is available at a different web page for your convenience and hyper links are also provided.
 •    Make sure you know the number and length of each of the examination papers you will have to sit (at the end of grade 10). The style of question may vary from paper to paper, so you must be quite clear about the type of question likely to appear on each paper.
 •    Go through the glossary and chapter summary that this web site allows you. Read each of them and then test yourself by taking the quiz at the end of this website. Also try and do the revision questions from the book.

 •    Make sure you check the instructions on the question paper. These will tell you the length of the paper and the number of questions you have to answer. You will have to answer every question as there will be no choice.
 •    Allocate your time sensibly between each question. Every year good students let themselves down by spending too long on some questions and too little (or no time at all) on others. You will be expected to spend much longer writing an answer to a question worth eight marks rather than three.
 •    Remember what the most common ‘key’ examination words mean. These are the prompt words in every examination, such as ‘list’ or ‘discuss’. The following guide should help you.


State, list or give
As in ‘State 3 factors which might influence the price of a product.’
These key words mean ‘write down without explaining or expanding upon,’

As in ‘Explain your answer.’ Here, the examiner is asking you to give more detail than just ‘listing’ or ‘stating’ points.
A common example of this type of question will ask you to ‘State and explain 3 advantages to a business of developing a new product.’ Here, you are expected to list the factors that you consider to be advantages and then go on to explain why you think they are advantages to the business. One of the 3 advantages you give in your answer might be: ‘New products will take the place of older products in the market.’ Your explanation could be: ‘If a business develops new products than these goods can take over from older products, the sales of which may be falling due to loss of consumer interest.’ You will then need to think of 2 other advantages and to list and explain them in the same way keeping in mind the length of the question and the marks.

As in ‘Analyse the impact of a new competitor opening a shop close to a business which sells fresh flowers.’ This also requires an explained answer. You will have to examine or explain how a new competitor will affect an existing business.
A possible answer could be: ‘As the new competitor is trying to get established, it may offer fresh flowers at very low prices to start with in order to grab more attention from consumers/ customers. This could force the existing business to lower prices too. Sales could increase but the profit on each item sold will be less than before.’
As in ‘Evaluate the arguments for and against the business locating its factory in the north east of the country.’ This is asking you to show advanced skills. You should firstly list and explain/ analyse the advantages and disadvantages. Then you should ‘weigh them up’ or compare them and come to a final decision/ recommendation.
For example the final sentence might read: ‘On the one hand, there are advantages to building in north east, such as cheap land. On the other hand, there are disadvantages, such as distance from consumers. However, on balance I believe that the factory should be built there. The factory requires a large site so the cost of the land is very important. The finished product can be easily transported to consumers who are in several different parts of the country.’

To summarise:

 •    Read the question carefully paying particular attention to the command words being used. Remember the command words tell you what skills the Examiner is looking for. Make sure which command words are associated with each of the four skills.
 •    The four skills are “Knowledge and Understanding”, “Application”, “Analysis” and “Evaluation”.
 •    Answer the question asked.
 •    Use your time carefully.
 •    Fully label any diagrams or charts (graphs). Show all working in calculation questions.
 •    Apply your answer to the business in the case study.
 •    Don't waste time writing a long answer when a list is asked for. Don't write a list when an explanation is asked for!
 •    Structure longer answers to define the terms/ concept under consideration, explain each of the points (advantages/ disadvantages or alternate strategies), conclude with an answer to the question.
 •    Use the number of marks as a guide as to how much to write.
 •    If you are asked for (say) 2 methods, then you must give 2 methods – do not give 1 or 3 methods!

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