Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Preparing for your final ZIMSEC Exams using a technology

It is that time of the year when pupils and some adults get to sit for the public exams from various boards: HEXCO, ZIMSEC and Cambridge. For those who are still unprepared it is not too late to swot for these exams.Most students with internet access,smartphones and tablets hardly ever use this technology for their benefit. A good number of them use of the Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp Apps and scarcely use anything else.

The first thing that you should do is to make sure that you have a copy of the syllabus for each of the subjects that you are writing. If do not already have these you can freely download PDF versions of both the O level and A level syllabi from the ZIMSEC website. The list includes electronic copies for most common subjects but on the off chance that your subject is not available then you might need to make the trip to your nearest ZIMSEC office and purchase a physical copy.
Preparing for your final ZIMSEC Exams using a technology
One of the most disappointing parts about the ZIMSEC website is that it does not have downloadable copies of past exam papers or specimen papers. Bearing in mind your syllabus requirements for each one of your subjects you should be aware that ZIMSEC shares most of its content with Cambridge and most questions appear in both exams. For subjects like Business Studies there is virtually no difference at all in terms of content. You can use Cambridge past exam papers and their corresponding marking schemes to practice. Some of them can be freely downloaded on the Cambridge website here ( this site was updated yesterday). There are a host of other sites such as the IGSCE center here and the Online exam center website. Google will cheerfully provide you with more sites.

It is amazing how many students keep repeating the same errors each year. Some errors even originate from uninformed teachers, I know a local teacher who still teaches the horizontal method of preparing accounts and has year after year unwittingly sent students to their failure. Each year examiners report on these errors and any other mistakes and tips that students might need to know about. The ZIMSEC website has a few copies of these reports. If you are interested in excelling in your exams it might be important to download and read these for all the subjects that you are writing. Here are the links for both A level and O level reports.

I had the honour of attending the best academic school in this country, St Faith’s High School, and technology has always been part of their success. Back when I was still a student their most important piece of technology was their photocopying machine which enabled students to sit for mock exams. We sat for every paper from 1973 to that year’s June exam. ZIMSEC sells hard copies all past exam papers at $2 apiece. You can use a photocopying machine to create multiple copies of the paper and practice. It is illegal to sell these papers without prior permission from ZIMSEC who are the copyright owners although it is generally acceptable to use this means for personal non profit use under the law.

You can also install Cambridge Apps to help with your English. English is the language of instruction for almost all the subjects except Shona. It is even permissible to answer Shona Paper 2 in English. Most students although fluent in the spoken lingo are often afflicted by a meagre vocabulary and the inability to distinguish informal and formal language. These are paid apps which would provide help in such areas as grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation ( by the way Pronunciation differs but it should not differ.) The Apps are available for most devices including Android, iPhone, iPad, (and for some selected Apps) Blackberry and Windows.

Remember if you are to pass the exams you need to practice and technology can help you get there. Mazel Tov in your exams!!!

I must surely have failed to mention a lot of notable tools. Please feel free to add these in the comments section. TechZim

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