We probably all remember the dreaded Mock Exams from our own school days. But, as much as our teenage-selves probably winced at the thought of them, they are an excellent way to help students prepare for the real final examinations only a few months later. The vast majority of institutions treat Mocks like the real thing – full examination conditions (the clear pencil cases, silence on entry, you know the drill), and often hold them in the same room that the actual GCSE’s or A-Levels will take place in come the summer. This alone is a great way of prepping the students and when those first exams roll around in May, there will be a slight sense of familiarity amongst the nerves.
So, with Mocks on the horizon, what is the best way to prepare and how can you set your students up for greatness? Here are five top tips to help students navigate their way revision and mock exam preparation:
1. Be Realistic
It might feel like there is a huge amount of material to cover before the exams but breaking it down into modules and key topics will make it much easier to manage. Making a realistic time table or revision schedule will help visualise what should be covered and when. How far in advance you start the preparation will determine how much can be covered, and what level of detail.
When drawing up your timetable, we recommend colour coding the topics to ascertain the current knowledge level – green for a good knowledge, orange for some knowledge and red for limited or no knowledge. This helps to prioritise the time table and to make the most of each revision session. Start with the red subjects, and gradually work your way through the orange topics and finish with the green.
3. Time Yourself
We always advise to undertake some past papers when preparing for exams. They give a great indication of the topics asked in previous years, the way that questions will be worded and what will be expected of them. However, when doing practice or past papers, remember to set a time limit. When it comes to the mock or real exam, there will be strict time controls, so it’s best to get into the habit early of allocating time to each question to give each part of the paper a fair shot.
Distraction. One of the biggest and most common culprits for getting in the way of a good revision session. It’s very easy for students to waste a lot of time that could have been spent preparing, so help them by removing phones, screens, laptops and people who don’t have to prepare for exams!
Preparing for exams, whether mock or real is hard work and takes a lot of mental energy. Don’t forget to balance the preparation with some down time and relaxation. Incentivising revision can be a good way to aid this. At the start of each day, get the student to pick an incentive – for example a small treat, some time with their friends, or watching their favourite film that evening, or a larger activity at the end of the week or weekend. This will help focus and motivate them to make the most of their revision session to earn the incentive at the end of the day.
At the end of the day, we find that slow and steady preparation is key. Building up knowledge over time really helps to solidify understanding and enables students to perform to the best of their ability. If you feel that your student would benefit from some more intensive preparation in the way of tuition, please contact the team on email@example.com