We know as teachers (I was a teacher and exam marker), that content knowledge is crucial to exam success. However students also need to be able to interpret and understand the exam questions, and be able to allocate their time to answer different parts of the question, to maximise their marks. Exam questions can be dense, loaded with words and hard to interpret (often by design!). Investing some time in looking at exam questions together, using the ready-to-go worksheets and activities here, might pay dividends when it comes to exam time.
Note: A couple of the handouts/worksheets linked below, reference the QCE (for students and teachers in Queensland). If you're in New South Wales, there is a HSC version of this article here. In any case you can adapt the activities for your context and align with the relevant syllabus as you need. These are based on activities I used with my students, with inspiration and ideas from colleagues.
Before approaching an exam style question, you can unpack and discuss the question verbally with the class:
Let students ask questions, dissect and deconstruct each of the above. This can be an open or closed book activity. Ideas can be recorded on whiteboards, flash cards, butchers paper or made as annotations. Deep and meaningful understanding is achieved by provocative questions, which promote inquiry and reflection, rather than simply dictating the answers. This takes time and can be self to self or self to peer, self to class.
Some resources to help with this:
Tip: Students can remember the 3 categories of key terms as CLC: