Many students may feel mock exams are unnecessary or even cruel, a process that simply adds to the vast pressures they feel already. But this is simply not true. Yes they happen in December, a time for festive spirit, a month where many of us are winding down ready for a fresh new year, so as unfair as the timings may feel, mock exams are really rather important.
They help you sharpen your revision skills
Revision is really the hardest part of taking an exam. After all, the time you need to revise is far longer than the actual exam itself and what you learn within this period determines how much you will be able to answer on the exam paper. We all learn differently so giving yourself time to understand the strategies that work for you will really help you for future exams. You may find writing key points on summary cards helps, colour coding, having a revision partner or completing online mock papers works for you – so use this experience to try and figure this out before the real deal – it will save you time and reduce your anxieties about how to revise.
Practice your exam techniques
Of course you will be nervous sitting an exam, it’s not a relaxing situation! But you can reassure yourself that the exam is the final obstacle in all your months of hard work. So make use of the mock exams; learn how to craft concise answers within a set time frame, understand how you behave in an exam situation, practise breathing techniques to keep you calm. You want to go into the exams feeling confident in your knowledge and revising for a mock will help you solidify your learning and techniques. It’s a practice run but take it as seriously as the real thing, as this will help you in the long run.
Improve and build your knowledge of a subject
You want to give yourself time to understand and retain information so spacing out learning in sizeable chunks may concrete things. If you are learning new things the night before an exam you may not soak it in and then anxiety may overwhelm you. Mock exams are meant to prompt you to revise and encourage earlier, more spaced out learning.
Grow your confidence and concentration
You have heard the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ well this certainly applies here. By giving yourself a chance to practice being in an exam environment as well as planning a revision schedule you are helping yourself improve, which in turn will build your confidence and improve focus. By the time the summer exams roll in you will be oozing with exam courage!
Results do matter!
We hear this alot ‘I don’t really care what I get in my mocks as they don’t count.’ Well guess what, they do! These exams test your current abilities and understanding in a subject and they can be a benchmark to determine which papers you will sit for the actual exam. So if you work hard in your mocks you give yourself an optimum chance for the future as you may then sit a higher paper, which in turn, may lead to having more options when it comes to selecting A-levels and University courses.
Predicted grades are important
Predicted grades will be worked out based on your mock results, so although these can never be an exact prediction they are an important guide. They will also help you to see where you are now and what work there is to do before the real exams. It is good to have a grade to aim for and also helpful if your mock results are a true reflection of your ability – if you fail your mocks everything else is out of kilter and you may feel disheartened. You want realistic mock and predicted grades so you can be clear on your own learning and revision journey before the real exams.
It is important to remember that predicted grades do also have a bearing on conditional sixth form or university places.
Because science says so…
A study on test-enhanced learning showed it was the actual testing of a student that had ‘a powerful effect on long-term retention’ rather than the continued study. Those in the repeated-testing condition recalled more than those in the repeated-study condition. So it seems the more practice you have with both your revision and with the experience of taking exams the more chance you have of success. So you see mocks are there to make you remember more!
Helps you find areas where you need to improve
As we have already touched on mock exams are crucial in weeding out problem areas. They can highlight weakness in your understanding and areas you need to pay more attention to before sitting the real exams.
We hope this has helped put into perspective the importance of mock exams. If you feel you need additional support prior to sitting any exam then contact The Tuition Network. We have had great success in preparing students for exam season by building confidence, developing revision techniques and exploring past papers.
We are always happy to help! Please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org