Many students experience mock exams as an unfairness; if they have to do the real exams, it seems unreasonable that they should have to do a fake practice version as well. But mock exams are in fact extremely valuable for students at all ability levels – here’s why…
They Can Be An Early Warning
Overconfident students can experience their mock exams as a wake-up call, if it turns out they’re performing at a level below that which they were expecting. Finding this out at the time of the mocks gives plenty of time for students to work harder and improve their grades in time for the real thing.
They Hone Exam Technique
Schools typically try to make mock exams as realistic as possible. This helps students practise their exam technique, including structuring their time appropriately and managing their nerves. It also helps with remembering the smaller things that trip students up, such as adhering to school dress codes and bringing the right pens and other equipment. A student whose pen runs out of ink in the mocks won’t make the same mistake in their final exam.
They Provide Predicted Grades
In the UK, university offers are made on the basis of grades predicted by teachers, then only confirmed on the basis of final grades. Mocks at A-level are important for teachers to assess which grade they should be predicting. Similarly, mocks can be taken into account if your child is moving school after their GCSEs.
They Help Students Identify Weaknesses
Students don’t always have the same strengths and weaknesses in the classroom or in revision as they do in an exam setting. Mocks help students to spot areas where they might struggle under time pressure, so these weaknesses can be addressed.
They Teach Students Which Revision Techniques Work For Them
We all revise differently. Some students do well by covering their walls with post-it notes; others work with flashcards; others do repeated practice tests. The mocks allow students to discover whether their revision techniques have worked on a dry run, so they can be adjusted when it comes to the real thing, if need be.
They Build Confidence
Many of the other points on this list relate to students who are struggling in some way, but mocks are also beneficial to students who are doing well: they gain valuable confirmation that their approach to their studies is working. They can get the grades for their mocks knowing they only need to stay the course in order to succeed.