The Importance of Mock Exams
The coronavirus pandemic has made mock exams more important than ever. For two years running, mock exams have formed the basis of pupils’ GCSE grades. In-person exams are expected to return this coming spring. Yet the volatility of the Covid situation raises the prospect that mocks may, once again, stand in for formal assessments in 2022.
Away from the shifting epidemiological sands, mock exams are also useful in identifying children’s learning gaps in specific topics. Your child’s results will give their teachers a steer on how to help them reach their potential in the full GCSE exams.
Mock exams are less about learning new knowledge than developing children’s ability to recall information they’ve already learned. Research has shown that students who took a practice test after a period of revision performed better in their final exam over those who just revised. Practicing gives kids a feel for the real exams and helps them gauge how efficiently they can answer questions on a restricted timescale.
Practice makes perfect, so it’s important to start revising and preparing for any exam early. By going through the motions of mocks, your child will get a feel for their preferred revision methods and how to cope with back-to-back exams.
How to Prepare for Mock Exams
Your child may need some time to understand the content of each subject and retain the information, so spacing out what you need to revise is important. Trying to teach yourself too many new things before an exam can cause massive amounts of anxiety, so try to guide your child in how they can arrange their time carefully without overloading themselves! To help your child prepare properly, familiarise them with these simple rules.
- Organise Your Notes – Create a revision timetable and be sure to take a break between topics. Allocate more time to the subjects you’re struggling with.
- Set Mini Goals – Have a few mini goals to achieve by the end of each day. You can add these in when making your revision timetable. This will give you an idea of how much revision you need to do and what’s coming up.
- Mix It Up – Work out which learning styles work for you. This could be visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or through reading and writing. Once you have a few different revision techniques, mix it up. Use past papers and the marking scheme as a guide for how you’ll be assessed.
- Revise With Others – Not only is this a great way to help out your friends, it’ll also reveal the gaps in your own learning. A small study group is fertile ground for unique methods for remembering key ideas.
- Take Regular Breaks – Don’t overwork yourself, make sure you’re giving your brain some space to breathe. You’ll get distracted less and be able to focus for longer. Use the breaks to exercise or eat healthily so you feel energetic. Replace crisps and chocolates with fruit and nuts, they’ll help you improve the quality of your revision.
- Sleep – Effective revision is impossible without sufficient sleep. Prioritise getting 7-9 hours a night. Sleep is powerful tool to improve your cognitive ability to learn.
- Ask for Help – Be it from your teachers, parents, siblings or peers, seek help when you need it.
- Stay Calm and Take Your Time – Don’t leave any questions out. Be sure to cover as much as you can and take your time with any questions you’re struggling with.
- Don’t Panic! – Mistakes are made so we can learn from them.
What to do with mock exam results
The most important part of a mock exam comes after they’re finished and your child has their results in hand. Knowing what to learn from them is crucial. Your child should ask their teacher for a copy of the mark scheme to help them go through their results, writing down the answers to the questions they didn’t get right and analysing where they made mistakes.
They should ask themselves these questions:
Did I show my working out?
Did I miss part of the question out?
Did I misread the question?
Which revision strategies did I use and how effective were they?
How did I practise exam techniques, and did it work?
Did I give myself enough time?
These results should make it clear what topics your child needs to work on. Make sure that they don’t lose sight of mock is to show you that you can do better.
How to Improve Your Grades at Home and in Your Own Time
There are steps you can take at home to ensure your grades improve, and here they are:
1. Take responsibility for your own work.
2. Come up with a realistic study timetable.
3. Read over your previous mock exam papers.
4. Spend time on what you need to learn, not what you like to learn.
5. Ask for help when you need it.
6. Know the exam papers inside out.
7. Take short, basic notes.
8. Use revision cards with key information on them.
9. Don’t panic!
TuitionWorks connects pupils with qualified teachers for maths lessons on our state-of-the-art online platform. Our tutors tailor bespoke lesson plans around GCSEs and all other major examinations.
Our tutors can give your child the best possible foundation for their maths mock exam and GCSE. Get in touch today to arrange an in-depth, personalised course of one–to–one lessons that will tackle any areas of weakness and build their confidence.
Maths tutor at TuitionWorks
I’ve inspired children in key stage 2 to key stage 4 since 2015 to reach their potential and goals to become good mathematicians.
About me: I am a passionate mathematics teacher and Edexcel examiner. I enjoy teaching to develop children’s confidence with a ‘can do’ attitude, using different techniques to build on what they know.