Mock exams often take place in December or January for Year 11 students. They are important for a number of reasons. Firstly, they will give teachers, parents and the student themselves an idea of whether the student is on target to achieve predicted grades. Another plus point for mock exams is that it gives a practice run ahead of the final GCSEs. It is really important to practise writing timed answers, so that you get your timing right when it matters.
Mock exams are the nearest students will get in preparation for the real thing. It is also the time to make mistakes and learn from them. As a teacher, I expect someone in my class to read the paper wrong and answer the wrong section, too many questions or not enough – yes really, it happens despite everything teachers say. However, hopefully this means the same mistakes are then not replicated when it really counts in June.
To prepare for mock exams, follow my six tips to GCSE success:
1. Plan a revision timetable. This should be done by looking at the week ahead and including the social activities that the young person has. Then the timetable is realistic and workable. Put the timetable in a visible place and stick to it!
2. Use a range of resources to aid revision. I am a big believer in doing past papers and exam questions for revision. Nothing beats doing what you will face in the exam. It is easy to not to push yourself when revising and stick to what you already know. But that doesn’t help you improve.
3. Spend time going over your class notes. A good tip: every day, have a notepad ready and when you get home write down what you learnt in each lesson. What can you recall? Also read your notes and if there is something you don’t understand, find out or ask your teacher to explain it again.
4. Use specific revision aids for your subject, make sure you know the exam board and get books that support the board you are using. Collins have GCSE support books with course notes and knowledge in the first half of the book. The second part of the book has questions to test knowledge and prepare you for the exam. The answers are included.
5. Seek out your teachers, they are experienced and understand the course and its requirements. Use them to the fullest, talk to them about the bits you are struggling with.
6. Finally remember the tortoise and the hare fable, slow and steady will get you to the finishing line. Keep going, keep considering the finishing line and plan on how you are getting there. This is why it is the smart student starts revising for their mocks and then keeps going until June.
Emma blogs at Emma and 3 and is a qualified teacher with 12 years' teaching experience. She has two teenagers, one who is currently studying A Levels. Emma is committed to empowering teenagers through writing about educational matters.