How To Use Examiners Reports And Past Questions .

 of Examiners Reports and Past Questions
Most examination boards; inclu4ing WAEC and NECO.) prepare an examiners’ report booklet after the results of each exam conducted are released. The booklet is report of examiners (those who marked the scripts) ii different subjects as regards their assessment of this questions asked in the exams, how well student performed in each of the subjects that was examined h’ the board in general and in every of the question in each subject in particular. Most importantly, the examiner reports stress the strengths and weaknesses of student ii’ in the subjects and in the various questions the’ attempted. The weaknesses and causes of failure stressed by examiners are repeatedly the same year after year and from these repeated mistakes, you can learns great deal of what you must avoid so as to enhance you performance. Also, by reading what the examination emphasize as to what a question required on the basis v its structure and what students did instead whirl caused their failure, you understand better what L required of you in different subjects by way of how questions are structured.
Some of the weaknesses demonstrated by students in the course of answering questions which are often stressed by examiners are contained in statements such as the include the following.
Candidates did not complete the syllabus. Hence they demonstrated lack of knowledge of basic concepts in questions on some aspects of the syllabus.
Many students did not read the instructions in the question paper. Some answered fewer questions than the instructions stated while others answered more. Some failed5 to answer the required number of questions from each section and others missed out elements of multi-part questions;
Many students demonstrated poor mastery of English Language. They seem unable to understand what questions require of them. Many could not express their points coherently.
Candidates demonstrated poor knowledge of examination techniques and demands/ structures of questions. For example, some students just listed points even when they were supposed to explain or compare.
Students did not read questions carefully before answering. Thus, instead of providing answers relating to “causes of...” students wrote on “Effects of...”
Students did not take careful note of the verb in the question which told them what to do e.g. “assess,” “compare,” “describe,” “list,” etc. Instead they simply regurgitated all they could think of about the topic from which the question was set.
Poor observation, skill and inability to record observed data accurately; especially in practical subjects.
Candidates could not handle numerical processes properly. They were unable to record data and final answers to numerical questions to the right number of decimal places.
Students did not plan their answers. Instead, they presented an uncoordinated mass of prose of incoherent points with no logical thread running through the answer. This made such answers very difficult to mark.
Students did not manage their time effectively which made many not to finish answering, required questions of the exam. Some of thy students wrote unnecessarily long answers to some questions and only a few lines for the final ones because they ran out of time.
These and a few others are some of the commonly reported weaknesses of students which examiners frequently observe. Unfortunately, in spite of these recurring observations, these weaknesses are repeated time after time; probably because students are not ready to work hard enough to effect desired changes, or perhaps, they do not access and study examiners reports so as to be abreast of these weaknesses before they enter for the exams. Copies of examiners reports  are likely to be found in your school library. Locate them and study the reports in the various subjects you have enrolled. You will find reading them very interesting and the information they contain very useful.

Another set of revision materials you will need to make use of intensively are past questions or, preferably past questions and answers booklets. As suggested in an earlier chapter, by now, you should have several years of past questions in different subjects.

Objective questions in past questions and answers booklets should be regularly attempted and marked. Any question you got wrong should be reviewed and where necessary, reference made to your textbooks or notebooks as suggested earlier in chapter 2, section 2.5. As for the theory questions, two approaches can be used alternately. In one year’s questions, read each question and produce a written answer plan to the question. You can thereafter develop the details of the answer in your mind. Then study the model answers provided and compare with what you had in mind as your intended answers in line with your answer plans. Assess how much the answer you could have provided differ from or is similar to the model answers provided in the booklet and on the basis of this, what you could have scored should you have attempted the exam. Next time you are to revise with past questions, produce your answer plans and go further to write down the detailed answers, keeping to expected exam conditions and time of the paper. Then compare the answers you have written down with the model answers provided in the booklet. You can mark your own script if you are sincere enough, or let someone else, preferably your subject teacher do so. This way you can access your preparedness for the exam ahead of you and work out how, and in what topics you will need to intensify your studies.

Practicing with past questions makes you to become familiar with the kind of question is .you are to expect in the exams. This practice also makes it easy for you to relate whatever you study in your notes and textbooks to potential examination questions. The model answers help you get acquainted with what examiners will require of you with regards to different question structures you will likely encounter in the exam. They also help you to identify areas of emphasis in the general course of detailed study or revision.

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