5 Things You Should Have To Prepare For CXC Exams
Updated: Jul 2
It's never too early to start preparing for your CXC exams. The first few months in form 5 is a good time to begin gathering resources for all the subjects you are scheduled to write. As with any major exam, you should have a clearly defined plan and to help you with your planning, I've compiled a CXC Exam Prep Checklist. This is a list can be used by students preparing for CSEC or CAPE.
1. The Syllabus
The Syllabus is like your holy grail when it comes to preparing for exams. It is the most reputable source for important information about your subjects such as the actual structure of the subject exam, the grading scheme and the learning objectives. This is the ultimate guide for your studying. It helps you to gauge where you are at and what you still need to cover to be fully ready for exams. You can find the Syllabus with Specimen Papers on the official CXC website.
Click here to find your Syllabus: https://cxc-store.com/syllabuses-subject-reports
2. Subject Notes and Relevant Texts
So you have the syllabus, now what? It's time to start gathering all your notes. If you are missing vital notes, you don't have to worry about scrambling to write them all down. Make use of your smartphones and use a PDF Scanner App such as Adobe Scan or Cam Scanner to create electronic versions of your notes which you can then store on a drive and have access to anytime, anywhere. It will also be incredibly useful to get textbooks that your teachers use as they will provide great content and practice questions.
Click here for Adobe Scan: https://www.adobe.com/acrobat/mobile/scanner-app.html
Click here for CamScanner: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.intsig.camscanner&hl=en&gl=US
3. Past Papers
Past Papers are an absolute must in your exam readiness. You should aim to have at least 10 years of past papers for each subject. Using past papers to study helps you to identify trends and get you familiar and comfortable with the types of questions that typically come in exams. You can purchase CXC exam past papers on the official CXC website here: https://cxc-store.com/
However, if you cannot afford these, please do not be coy in asking students in higher forms for their used past papers. You can also ask your teachers, who will be so pleased that you are being so proactive. Another place you might be able to find past papers is the school library.
There are several ways to approach doing past papers:
By Topics - when you’re finished with a topic in school, you can go through your past papers and look for all the questions on that topic and do them.
By Section - complete section by section. For example, working on a section for a period of time.
Entirely - At least 3 months before your exam, you should be able to complete an entire past paper
Please do not attempt to do full past papers before you have completed at least 70% of the syllabus. You will psych yourself out for no reason.
4. A Study Timetable
In order to complete the entire syllabus for each subject and do enough practice, you have to make the time to do so. And this will not happen by chance. In the same way that you have a timetable for your subjects in school, you have to create a timetable to guide your studying. Dedicate more time to the subjects that you need more work in, but make sure to schedule all your subjects. Try to aim for at least 2 hours of study time for each subject. This need not be 2 hours altogether. It can very well be broken down into smaller periods.
5. Scheduled Breaks
I know that you want to do your very best and you will. However, you need to treat your rest with just as much importance that you are your studying. Have designated days and times to relax and unwind. You do not want to risk getting burnt out too soon. Exam prep is a marathon not a race and you need to be fit and ready.
CXC Exams, whether CSEC or CAPE, can be very intimidating, but with a proper plan, commitment and consistency, you can enjoy great success. Stay focused and always do your best.