SQA stands for the Scottish Qualifications Authority. The state-sponsored schools of Scotland follow this board. It offers degrees equivalent to GCSE. They are known as nationals. The highest grade is national grade 5. The exams of SQA are considered more in-depth and demand rigorous practice. The final grade or grade 5 is of 1-year duration & is equivalent to British GCSE. The final exam is completely based on continuous assessment.
This emphasizes the importance of continuous learning in SQA. Students need to thoroughly study the syllabus. Solving past papers is an excellent way to ace this exam. The past papers give an in-depth insight into the question paper pattern. It allows them to assess their understanding of the subject.
The official website has past papers in both digital and Braille format. It also mentions the marking scheme. Students can easily download it and prepare accordingly.
About the board
SQA was established in 1996 and amended in 2002. It is taught in Scotland and also some other nations like China, Africa, and the Middle East. It aims to impart necessary skills, knowledge and their applicability to the pupils. It offers about 80 subjects. It is more inclined to the practical applications of knowledge. The questions asked are meant to gauge the understanding of the students.
The SQA nationals are for a total of 5 years. However, the GCSE equivalent or N5 is of 1-year duration. Each subject requires an average of 130-160 hours of study. This includes guided classes and using digital resources as well.
Type of assessments
SQA conducts 3 types of assessments:
1. Diagnostic assessment: This type of assessment is conducted at the start of the course. It is used to understand the inclination and prior knowledge of the student. It helps schools to assign students to appropriate classes.
2. Formative assessment: It is conducted during the course. It helps teachers gauge the understanding of the students. The continuous assessments, projects, and practical come under formative assessment. Teachers and students exchange feedbacks for better learning. This part does not carry grades.
3. Summative assessment: It is the final assessment carried at the end of the course. It is conducted according to national standards. The exams are conducted to award formal degrees to the students.
Is the exam hard?
SQA National 5 is known for testing the deep understanding of the subject. The exam gets much easier when students solve past papers religiously.
It allows them to understand the exam pattern and prepare their answers accordingly. The board website has digital resources available. The past papers and marking schemes are available on the website. The questions in SQA are meant to test the problem-solving ability of the students. This part can be aced with practice.
Students should use past papers to prepare the answers and cross-check them with the sample answers. Students should solve these papers while keeping the time limit in mind. They should try to answer in a concise and clear way. Staying within the word limit and adhering to the instructions is key to good grades.