This Webinar addresses the problem of under-achievement in A-level Physics by students of moderate ability. Teachers and examiners report that there is a gap in grade achievement between the top performers (A*/A/B) and the less high-performing students – a spike in D/E grades.

Over the years as an examiner, I have been able to analyse examination scripts and have identified patterns of under-performance which indicate poor examination technique or preparation for exams.

In this Webinar, I will identify four categories of poor technique and indicate methods to help students to address them. The four categories are:

  • Lack of understanding of the intentions of the examiner (‘reading the question”)
  • Poor communication of ideas and methods to the marker (“writing the answer”)
  • Lack of caution over accuracy of responses (“checking the answer”)
  • Lack of preparation for challenging questions (especially on Level of Response questions)


  • Teachers will be able to :
    • Identify the principal causes of exam under-performance in their mid-ability students
    • Analyse good and bad exemplars of examination responses
    • Build a kit of techniques for developing student performance in these categories
    • Assist learners with preparation for examination questions



Introduction, welcome and sound check

Think like an Examiner (how to read a mark-scheme)

  • How a mark scheme works
  • What are the examiners looking for?
  • Maximising your mark and minimising wasted effort
  • Student activities to develop these skills

Talk to the Marker (how to set out your answers)

  • How to layout structured problem solutions to get all the marks
  • Highlighting of key words to cue the marker
  • Developing a technical vocabulary and grammar
  • Student activities to develop these skills

Where the dropped marks are (identify and avoid the pitfalls)

  • A review of typical ‘unforced’ errors
  • Priming students to spot their own errors
  • Student activities to develop these skills

4.50 pm
Develop your six-markers (how to score high on Levels of Response questions)

  • How are LoR questions assessed by the examiner?
  • Identifying the generic points which are needed to score on practical-based questions
  • Using practical work to develop the skills required for the written paper

Tony Dunn

Tony Dunn is a current examiner for OCR A-level Physics and has taught for over 30 years in secondary schools and sixth form colleges, mainly in inner city areas, specialising in A-level Physics. Since the new A-level curriculum was introduced, he has had 100% pass rates with all his A-level Physics groups, whilst working at an inclusive college in a deprived borough. He was a Head of Science for 12 years and also spent several years training Physics teachers in SE Asia.