Firstly, don’t panic! The definition of ‘mock’, is something that is ‘not authentic or real, but without the intention to deceive.’ In other words, your mock exams are a trial run with no external consequences, so don’t dwell on the overall mark, but also don’t ignore it. Instead, follow these steps below to learn from your mistakes so that you can improve the next time around.
Speak to your teachers. Book some time in with them, don’t just have a rushed catch up at the end of a lesson. Prepare some questions for them and ask for general feedback for where they thought you could improve.
Reflect on how you felt while you were taking the exam:
Time management - if you were rushed for time at the end of the exam, you probably spent too much time on the questions at the start of the paper, which are usually worth fewer marks. Calculate your time by dividing the time allocated to the exam by the total number of marks, this will tell you how long you should spend on each mark.
Stuck on what to say? Too much time? This often reflects gaps in knowledge. Make a note of which questions made you feel like this and ensure you spend extra time on them when revising
Hungry/thirsty/needed the loo? This can all affect your overall mark because your mind is elsewhere.
Where did you go wrong:
Misread the question? It may seem silly, but exam stress does funny things to your mind! Read the question two or three times and underline the key words.
Didn’t show calculations? It doesn’t matter how confident you feel, you could still be wrong. If you write down your method you could still pick up method marks. Although this mainly applies to maths and science, you can also pick up marks and benefit from writing essay plans.
Didn’t provide evidence? Every claim, opinion and argument needs evidence. Names, dates, places, stats need to be known inside out and back to front. Point, Evidence, Explanation - it never fails! If you are struggling, invest in flashcards.
Once you have figured all of this out and pinpointed where you went wrong, and where you can improve, reflect this in your revision timetable. Breaking down everything you need to study into chunks will make everything much less overwhelming.
Finally, past papers, past papers, past papers! The worst thing you can do is fail a mock and not do another exam paper until the real thing. You will be so anxious and stressed - don’t do it to yourself! Keep practicing until you feel you are going to absolutely boss it!
This blog was based on this brilliant article by Paul Ellett