6 Reasons Mock Exams are Super-Important

Mocks linger in this strange ethereal realm between importance and neglect in a student's mind. But over the last few years, the importance of mock exams has grown significantly after the cancellation of GCSE's and A-Levels.

Mock exams are used in education for many different reasons. A mock exam is an assessment of student knowledge, usually set by a teacher, designed to be similar in difficulty and format to the form of assessment that it is preparing you for. Usually, they go hand-in-hand with past papers, which gives students the opportunity to practise the skill required for exam techniques as well as core components of the subject itself.

However, mock exams can be used for many different purposes to help students not only perform well in their exams but also as a revision aid to ensure they are familiar with the questions and format of the exam.

An Idea of what to expect on 'Exam Day'

One reason why mock exams are important is that they give you an opportunity to practise what will happen on exam day without actually having it count towards your final grade. At least, that's what it used to be like. Unfortunately, in the uncertain times that we now face, the latest mock exam that you prepare for may actually contribute to your final grade should exams be cancelled again.

Mocks are beneficial in that they allow you to become comfortable with the exam conditions. One example of this is the difference between at home and in school exams, which can be quite jarring if not prepared properly. This contributes to mental preparation for the big day, which is key to being at your best on exam day. Professional sports players recognise visualisation as one of the best techniques at their disposal when mentally preparing for a competition. Exams are no different, if you can visualise that exam hall and succeeding on the paper then your confidence levels will rise and you will feel more prepared.

Analyse prep and performance

Mocks will provide you with a reality check on your "real-world" performance. There are many students who struggle in a classroom setting but thrive in an exam hall and vice versa. Participating in a mock exam can help you know your current strengths, weaknesses and areas that you should target for revision. One student may decide to focus on the weak parts of the syllabus whilst another may look to capitalise on the strongest parts and earn full marks from those questions. Everyone is unique in their approach.

Mocks can also be used as a way of evaluating how well you are currently doing as a student not just from a quantitative POV By asking the teacher to give you their opinion on your performance, or by referring to past papers for some constructive feedback, you can gain an insight into what areas of the subject you find difficult and need some more work on.

Exam time management skills

Many students enter higher education with poor time management skills, especially in the case of timed exams. A mock exam will give you the opportunity to practise these skills and become better equipped for that final push into University. Mock exams help students learn how to manage their time efficiently by giving them a taste of what will happen on exam day and getting them to work out the logistics of managing the time they have effectively.

The best way to study is more study...

Whilst textbooks are an effective resource for revision, nothing helps more than actually revising with past papers. We become better at past paper questions every time we practise them with our tuition teacher because these questions always follow a distinct pattern.

It's like learning to ride a bike; you fall off doing something new but eventually get better and better until it becomes second nature. Mock exams allow us to practise the skills that we learn in tuition and cement them into memory by consolidating tuition with past paper questions.

Calm pre-exam nerves

Mocks have the placebo effect. By taking a mock exam, you can feel more confident in your abilities and experience a real-world scenario that prepares you for the pressure of an exam hall. This is especially important when it comes to letting go of "imposter syndrome" where students do not believe they are smart enough to succeed in their exams.

These feelings can become crippling leading to poor performance and anxiety surrounding exam day.

Mock exams help you get into the right frame of mind for exam success, even if they aren't counted towards your final grade. They are a great way to motivate yourself and practise the skills required in an exam setting without overloading yourself with revision.

Track progress throughout each term

Keeping eyes on your scores across the term to be able to track your progress is pivotal to helping you evaluate your current standing and the progress that is yet to be made to reach the attainment levels you are looking for. If you have different strategies for each mock you do, it can also help you track your performance for each of those strategies to know which is best to implement in the exam hall in June.

It's also important to see your scores in order to ensure that tuition is working in accordance with the mock exams you are taking. If there is a disparity between what you achieve in class, in tuition sessions and what you achieve on your mock exams, it can be indicative of various reasons; one of which may be inaccuracies surrounding the tuition you receive if it is not from a qualified UK teacher.

Research suggests that 75% of students consider themselves to be procrastinators, while 50% consider themselves to regularly procrastinate and even seek it out to avoid the work they have tasked themselves or has been set. The further away an event is, the less impact it has on decision making usually to the detriment of those making the decision. Exams in the summer often feel like they are twirling around in some distant universe. That is until April rolls around, Han tells Chewie to punch it and they are upon us in a flash.

Improving knowledge base

Testing yourself is an effective way to see how much knowledge you have retained over the course of the syllabus. It also gives you an idea of what areas you are struggling in and allows tutors to pinpoint other skills that need improving outside of what has been covered already in the classroom.

Mock exams are an excellent way to prepare for your final exam in June, especially if you need to give yourself several months of tuition before this.

The trick with mock exams and past papers is to take them earlier rather than later! If you leave it until near the end of term, the material may have been removed from the syllabus or be unmanageable due to other workloads. This is where online tutoring can come in clutch. Sitting down with a tutor one to one and discussing areas of weakness and strength, opening up to topics that need refining and having someone carefully curate a study plan for you to ace your exams is ridiculously under-appreciated.

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James Gurnett

5th January

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