Mark Sirot-Smith, Business and Economics Subject Advisor
The Unit 1 pre-release research brief (login required) for the January 2024 Cambridge Technicals Level 3 Business exam is now available on Teach Cambridge. I thought it would be useful to share some tips from teaching colleagues about how best to prepare your learners for this paper.
The examiner’s report for the unit 1 exam taken last summer (available on Teach Cambridge) identified the things that candidates who did well did and the things those who did less well did. While most points involved what learners did in the exam, two points referred to their preparation. These were as follows:
Use of the pre-release is clearly a point of difference between who did well and those who did not.
The purpose of the pre-release is to direct students towards the key topics that will be examined in Section B of the exam. If used correctly it will make the exam easier for learners.
If you use, or have looked at, the scheme of work for Unit 1, provided on Teach Cambridge, you will no doubt have noticed that at the end of almost every week’s delivery there is a comment like this:
We know that many Cambridge Technical students want to focus on assignments out of lessons (as ‘it’s work that counts’). However, getting them to regularly complete applied topic research, using a workbook, will get them into good habits prior to the exam. It will also deepen their topic knowledge.
To check that learners have done this research, why not select three or four students to feed back their findings to the class as a starter activity each week?
If your students have been completing a weekly research booklet, the pre-release will identify the key themes that now need further exploration and learners can revisit the businesses they researched previously.
Some centres will have moved on to other units before the pre-release is available, and getting learners to refocus and do this research can be difficult. Consider setting up a display board, headed with the different topics identified in the pre-release. Get the learners to bring in examples they had researched to pin on the board (providing some time at the beginning of each lesson to facilitate this/use the college printers). Good examples always provide the stimuli for interesting class discussions and make sure that exam preparation is not neglected.
Remember, all past papers are available on Teach Cambridge along with mark schemes and examiner’s reports. Providing the Section A multiple choices as homework is a good way to track progress and understanding and they are easy to mark in class.
I know that many of you will create and share your own research with your students – how do you ensure they make use of this? If you have any ideas on exam preparation for this unit and others on the Cambridge Technical Level 3 Business programme, or if you have suggestions for new materials we could provide, please let us know – see contact details below.
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Mark recently joined OCR after over 30 years in teaching, lecturing and senior leadership in a variety of secondary schools and FE colleges. He loves being active: walking his dog, playing tennis and visiting his three grown-up children in the midlands and north, especially if it coincides with a Crystal Palace away game!