Some of you will be taking the RHS exams next week - we all wish you the best of luck with the questions that come up on the day!
Key things to remember:
If you are busy with final revision -
read the past papers (remember parts of the syllabus changed in 2013/2015 so some questions aren't relevant) but do not be disheartened by the examiners' comments. They have to report on all possible correct answers that were given, so their comments are often 110-120% of a correct answer.
On the day -
Read each question twice to get the proper sense of it. Imagine that 'RHS - speak' is exam language, not English, and you've got to translate it in your mind. Don't just focus on the word that leaps out at you - 'photosynthesis' or 'raspberry crop' - look at the rest of the question closely to see WHAT exactly you need to say about photosynthesis or raspberries. Underline the verb if it helps - is it just 'List' or 'State' or is it 'Describe' which needs more information.
Look at the mark scheme and let it help you to allocate your time - if there are four marks for a section try to put down enough information to gain those marks - it could be two examples and two botanical names, or four reasons for something....
But don't waste time giving more than is asked for. If the question says 'four' and you aren't sure if your examples are right so you put down six, only the first four are marked.
Don't freeze on a question if your mind goes blank. Move on, do all the others that you can, come back again if there is time - your brain may have got over the hiccup and remembered. If it doesn't - you can pass the paper even if you miss out some questions (pass mark is 50%).
If it is your first exam for years, and you aren't used to pacing yourself against the clock, one technique that might help is read the questions (twice) then jot down bullet points for every question you can answer. Go back through and expand this into proper answers, crossing through the drafts, but at least you've got something down on paper..... the examiners can't read what's still just in your mind!
Finally: take a spare pen, and DON'T PANIC.