Mock exams are as close as you can get to the real thing. Not only do they allow students to test their knowledge and practice key questions; but they are also completed under the same formal exam conditions. While mock exams won’t count towards your child’s final grade, they can give an indication of what steps they need to take before the real exam comes along.
In this article, we’ll share actionable insights on how to pass mock exams and what your child needs to do to prepare for success. From practicing revision and study techniques to relieving stress, we’ll give you a toolkit of tips that can be applied to mock GCSEs, A-Levels or university exams.
What is a Mock Exam?
Mock exams can be a great help to students. They are almost an exact replica of the real exams on the horizon and give students a helpful insight into what to expect and what is expected of them. Many students dread mock exams, either because they are underprepared, or because they realise how close they are getting to results day. However, mocks are an excellent preparatory tool for UK exams such as GCSEs and A-Levels.
How to Prepare For Mock Exams
Preparing for mock exams is almost as important as preparing for the real thing, and possibly even more important. It’s the first and last chance students will get to experience what a real exam is like. Whether they are sitting a GCSE mock exam, an A-Level mock, or a mock of a university exam, practice and preparation can make a world of difference.
Before the Exam
Organise Your Revision Notes
From GCSE revision to taking notes for university dissertation exams, revision notes are one of the most important study aids. Start organising your revision notes and collating the material you need before you start your revision timetable. This will make studying for your mock exams much easier as you’ll already have everything you need. Do this by condensing subjects into manageable, digestible notes with clear headings and specific, short and relevant quotations, words or phrases. Ask your teachers for old practice papers in advance and take any textbooks from the library before your revision sessions. The more organised you are the more time you can spend getting ready to ace those mock tests!
Students usually get stressed before exams which can have a negative effect on their performance. Remember, mock tests are not your final exams and are designed to help you prepare for the real thing. Avoid getting stressed, and instead put effort into studying as often as you can. If you find yourself getting worked up or feeling overwhelmed, go for a relaxing walk outside or read a good book for half an hour to take your mind off it all. Alternatively, if there’s a particular topic worrying you, it’s a good idea to talk to your teacher or family member and come up with an action plan. Whether this is getting extra revision material or hiring a private tutor- there’s always a solution. You can only do your best! For more information on Tutor Doctor’s tutoring programmes click here.
Prepare a Proper Revision Schedule
Even though you’re only studying for mock exams, preparing and sticking to a proper revision schedule is crucial. It’s not only fantastic practice for when your real exams come around but also means you actually spend time studying, which should help you achieve the results you want in your mocks. Start by breaking your revision sessions into segments and schedule 5-minute breaks every hour as this will make sure your levels of concentration stay high. It’s also a great idea to switch topics throughout the day so you don’t get bored with one subject.
Complete Past Papers
Even if you spend a long time going over your revision notes, a problem many students face is running out of time during the exam. If you have access to past papers, try and do them under timed exam conditions a few weeks before your mock tests. This way you know the type of questions you’ll be asked and roughly how much time you can allocate to each section. Practice is key!
Look at the Marking Criteria
Alongside practice tests and sticking to a study schedule, a great tip for acing your mock exams is looking at the marking criteria for each paper. Usually, you can find these online or ask your teacher for a copy of the grading specifications. These will tell you exactly what the exam board is looking for in an answer and what you have to include to achieve specific grades. Arming yourself with this information can be very useful and make you aware of things like writing too much or too little, as well as the importance of linking your answers directly back to the question.
During the Exam
Stay Calm and Take your Time
During your mock exams staying calm and taking plenty of time to read all of the questions carefully is crucial. Not only will being calm and collected help you achieve the best results, it means your mind is clear to focus on the task at hand. Don’t forget to start answering the exam questions you feel most confident with first, then spend more time on the ones you find trickier at the end. If you have time left over, don’t sit there and stare at the walls – spend it reading over your answers. This is the ideal opportunity to spot any spelling errors or add extra information.
After the Exam
Don’t Panic and Learn from your Mistakes
After your exams, you can neither turn back time nor change what you wrote. Rather than worrying about your answers, use your mock exams for their intended purpose – to learn and spot the areas you can improve on. In other words – don’t panic! Your mock tests are just a useful exam practice designed to help students learn from mistakes, focus on their weak points, and help improve exam technique and final grades. Once you have your exam papers back, take the time to go through the comments with your teachers and ask them about the specific areas you can improve on. Once you have this information, you can start to put together an action plan in time for your real exams.
What Happens If You Miss a Mock Exam?
If something happens that causes you to miss a mock exam, it’s not the end of the world. Unless you missed the mock exam due to refusing to sit the exam or truanting from school, you should not be penalised for missing it. In these cases, it is best to speak to the subject teacher to see if the mock exam can be taken at a later date. There are usually a few weeks between exams being sat and being marked, so it may be possible to arrange a time to take the missed exam.
Preparing For Mock Exams With a Private Tutor
As you can see, practising for mock exams is so important before the real exams come along. They not only show your child what to expect, but their mock grades will also show them what subjects they need to focus on the most.
If you’ve wondered how to pass mock exams, a private tutor could make all the difference in helping your child prepare. From creating a revision plan to going over marking criteria, there are so many ways one-to-one tutoring can make a difference. Find a tutor near you today and give your child the best chance of success.