Tes Maths ROTW: Past paper question generator

Craig Barton
17th September 2018

Practice exam skills with this questions generator, from bprzystawski

What is it?

In essence, it is a past paper which - via clever use of Excel - has an infinite number of versions of each question. So, while the original question may have a six in it, with one press of F9, that six has now been replaced by a three. And, better still, the worked solutions automatically update with new numbers. 

How can it be used?

The power of imitation is something I have undervalued for much of my teaching career. Having students watch as I model a solution and then change a number and get them to complete their own solution have various purposes: it makes them more likely to pay attention during the modelling phase; it gives them a confidence boost when they can do it; it shows them how to set out work; and it gives them some correct maths that they can refer back to. It also breaks the monotony of me ploughing through the solutions to past papers which always carries the danger of students slipping into passivity. 

But that is just one way of using this resource. The other is to revisit troublesome questions at some point in the future. Can students still answer, say, Question 7 when it is presented at the start of the lesson two weeks later? Here is only one way to find out!

Thanks so much for sharing!

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