Mock exams are well under way for many. Whether you’re well into your mocks or your first exams are imminent, you may well have a feeling of sailing through, just about keeping your head above water or uncontrollably drowning. I really hope for your sake that it’s not the latter.
However if there’s a feeling of ‘who cares it’s only mocks’ then really you’re not being as cool as you think you are. Mocks are there for some very valid reasons, and all for the benefit of the people taking them.
- It’s an opportunity to ascertain what level you’re currently at while working under exam conditions.
- Mocks give you practice in how to revise effectively and within the correct time frame for you.
- It gives you a head start, as you can learn much of what you need early and then improve on that for your real exams.
- You can establish areas of weakness for improvement.
- You experience the feeling of working under pressure.
- It’s a great opportunity to gain valuable feedback from your teachers.
- You can determine your targets.
- It’s a more accurate way of determining which tier paper you’ll need for your final exams.
- If you crumble this time, you can prepare for it and make a plan to prevent it in your finals.
It’s not only the valuable experience of organising yourself and realising your potential but also an opportunity to make sure you know what you’re doing, just in case you crumble in such situations you can prepare accordingly, making sure you don’t have to repeat it all over again unnecessarily, or worse, you mess up any future plans you have for A-levels and so on.
So now we’ve established that mock exams are a vital part of the exam process, let’s refresh on some revision tips:
- Create a revision timetable if you haven’t already done so, being organised and having a plan will alleviate stress and anxiety. Being organised is one of the key ingredients to being successful in your exams.
- Practice again and again! You can’t practice too much, so keep going you’re doing good.
- But do take regular breaks, your brain needs to step back every hour to rejuvenate so you can return with a fresh pair of eyes.
- Work out where you study best, at home, at school, in a library, in a park etc. Not everyone focuses in the same way.
- Establish which part of the day you work most effectively in, and utilise it – morning, afternoon, evening.
- Try revising in small groups. This may not be for you but it gives you the opportunity to test each other, to learn each-others techniques and to utilise notes.
- How do you work best? Try using different techniques: visual (video lessons, mind/memory mapping or spider diagrams), tactile learning (‘doing’), flash cards, online quizzes, old test papers, apps. Not forgetting good old fashioned active revision – understand what you have been taught by summarising until you really know what you’re talking about.
- You are what you eat! Eating and resting are two other key ingredients. Make sure you’re eating decent brain fodder and getting a good nights’ sleep to ensure you can work at your optimum capacity – sustaining energy and memory levels is right up there on the list of revision necessities. Drink plenty of water too.
In my blog How to Get Smart for your Exams – Maximise your Potential, I talked about knowing the syllabus – check what has been taught, go through everything and write down a summary of each, making a summary of the summary. Sounds nuts but if you know what you’ve been taught then you’re on the right track.
Good luck and revise well!