Teacher Jonathan Boyle finds a clever friend to help him prepare exam support materials for students

Whenever examinations start to come around, teachers meticulously prepare a raft of past papers and as many documents as possible to support their students. I’ve spent many hours compiling question papers, mark schemes and examiner’s remarks to support my students.

It’s hard work for a busy teacher, which is why we are constantly on the look-out for appropriate help. That’s what brought me to AQA Exampro.

This a very clever resource to support teachers as they search for and structure their own questions from past papers. As a teacher who writes for publications only when something really makes an impact on my working life, I was surprised and pleased to meet the team behind AQA Exampro when I visited Bett 2015 earlier this year. It was good to talk about the thought and consideration that has gone into this service.

Examiner remarks help teachers with nuances

Each question generated by AQA Exampro has an advisory time allocation and the number of marks to be awarded. Selecting the mark scheme and then reading the examiner’s remarks helps the teacher to understand the nuance of the question that can, on occasion, escape you.

In this respect, I see it also as a learning tool for the teacher. At times even the most experienced among us need a little help in some areas of a vast subject such as product design.

Clearly this is a masterstroke of invention, as any search not only reveals tiered questions, but also the mark scheme and the examiner’s remarks. Immediately, this had great appeal to me.

Collating my own examination papers is no problem at all with a simple drag-and-drop exercise into a new document panel. The interface is straightforward with a learning curve of just a few minutes to create relevant content.

Managing your compilations of questions is a rewarding experience as they are simply saved to your My Document Library. From here you can even record the grades of your class as you mark their work. Although I could not find how to create a second, separate class, you can add as many names as you want to your Student Mark Sheet and export it as a standard (.csv) document file. This option is probably best as you can later manipulate this data in whatever way you wish.

Teachers can customise documents for sharing

Keeping your colleagues in the loop is very natural with View and Share buttons alongside your question compilations. You can even customise the elements of what you have created. This is a real bonus if you do not want to share what could be a lengthy document with others.

When sharing, you can remove the examiners’ reports and mark schemes simply by checking off the appropriate tick box. When ready, just press the “Copy viewer URL to the clipboard” button and paste into an email to colleagues. Yes, the link button name could be shorter. ‘Copy link’ might suffice.

I reckon that one of the most useful features is that you can actually view and export in four different ways. The first is browser based, but the inclusion of PDF, Word and Google Drive is inspired. Being able to insert a front cover page at this point finishes off what has been a very smooth and rewarding process taking minutes rather than the hours that were formerly required.

The AQA Exampro subject database is expanding all of the time and since last year, my need to have GCE Product Design included has been met. I for one am already a fan and know that appropriate testing of themes of work has just become a whole lot more effective. AQA Exampro is not just for examinations; it’s for every day of the week.

Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose  5
Ease of use                4
Features                    4
Quality                       5
Value for money      5 

AQA Exampro
Online service to support teachers and schools with examination preparation. Annual three-user licence for GCSE Product Design £60, GCE Product Design £80. Check website for full range of prices which starts at £40.

Jonathan BoyleJonathan Boyle is a deputy headteacher at Madeley Academy in Telford

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