Cambridge exam preparation tips and strategies for success

Cambridge exam preparation tips and strategies for success

By India Today Education Desk: Indian students can find the Cambridge Examinations, International Education or Language, a tall order to prepare for. If schools don’t provide quality in-house tutors, students must scram from pillar to post for extra tutorials to be confident about clearing the end-of-year examinations.

With a significant chunk of experience in coaching for various Cambridge Examinations, we find the RRR approach i.e. Read – Raise – Review, a clincher to achieve excellence, and the fabled Grade A in the assessments. Here’s all you need to know from the expert, John D’Souza, Director, The English Advantage (T.E.A).

Read – Students preparing for Cambridge assessments are expected to be well-read. They are expected to read extensively. They need to develop a reading habit to help them read passages or comprehend questions they come across in the exams in a better way.

Students taking the assessments are supposed to have a global perspective and understanding. This is only possible if they read extensively on various topics and are up-to-date on trending and relevant issues. It is advisable that students have a schedule to read in a disciplined manner. This would prove invaluable in providing them with the motivation to read.

Raise – Along with raising their knowledge levels, students also need to raise their English Language levels. Students are expected to have well-rounded skills in Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking. They should listen to podcasts, talk shows, interviews, debates, or simple conversations.

They should talk about issues amongst friends, discuss current affairs, and talk about what interests them as it will help them reinforce new and contextual vocabulary chunks in their minds. They can also use English language-based apps like Exam Lift, with games for language practice.

And there are also excellent tools like ‘Write and Improve’ and ‘Test and Train’, in which students can practice exam writing tasks and get immediate feedback. For more exam-specific bite-size tasks, on the Cambridge Assessment website, there are over 170 short (5-10 minute) tasks to practice exam skills at every level.

Review – Candidates should spend time reading the available official rubrics of the assessments and sample papers provided by Cambridge.

Analysing these rubrics will help students get a fair idea of what is expected of them at the examinations and how they will be assessed. Be it Maths or English, Cambridge has a guideline for evaluation for its examiners, part of which is available on its website. Candidates must also look at sample question papers, especially past question papers.

They should ideally spend some time analysing the question types and formats, noticing high-frequency topics that are tested, and follow recurring themes. It is useful if students make such a list and prepare for it thoroughly. It is necessary that they read sample answers and their comments. It will help them structure their own answers and write the rubric.