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Tips to get you through your mock exams

Posted by Francis O' Toole on January 25, 2013

1. Try to relax… a little

Stressing about how little you have done or how you are going to fail is a waste of time and energy. Make a study plan for the week before the mocks and stick to it.  Think about how you will study the night before each exam.

2. Do past papers before the mocks

One of the best preparations you can do is to do a mock mock by taking out a full paper and making sure you understand the layout of the paper. Know how many questions you will have to answer and be familiar with the types of questions asked.

3. Get your timings right

One of the biggest challenges facing students every year is getting the timing right so that you have enough time to answer all questions you need to. Come up with a clear time guide and write it on the front cover of your exam paper showing the actual time you should be starting each question. Then, in the middle of the exam you will be able to look at your watch and easily see how many questions you should have done at that time.

4. Bring everything you need

It may sound simple but a lot of stress can be avoided by making sure you have everything you need to do the exam the following day. Make a check list the night before each exam.

5. Don’t cheat!

Every year, thousands of students cheat in their mocks by looking up what is coming up online or asking friends in other schools. There is little point in doing this as it defeats the purpose of trial exams if you know what is coming up. Mock exams can act as a good reality check and will often indicate if you need to change subject level and what areas of the course you need to improve on.

6. Get the basics right

Okay, you’ve heard it a million times before but make sure you get the basics right. Read the questions carefully, underline key parts, and put your name, school and teacher name on your answer booklet. Also, if you finish early, try and avoid the temptation of leaving the exam hall. Try spending at least another twenty minutes reading over your paper adding parts and making corrections. This time could be the difference of a grade.

7. Be positive in the exam

It’s amazing the difference this can make. Even in subjects that you are weak at it is important to stay positive. A positive mindset will mean that you attempt more questions and put more information into each answer. Try focus your mood on all the things on the paper you can do rather than get dragged down by what you cannot do.

8. Analyse your corrected mock paper

One of the best things about getting your mock paper back is that it is a completely independent assessment of your progress. See where you lost marks using the marking scheme. Make a list of all the parts of the exam that you struggled at and incorporate them into your study plan before the main exams in June.


And finally,  Don’t panic…

Remember mock exams are exactly that; mock exams. They are only dress rehearsals for the main event in June. If you do badly at them there is still plenty of time to improve with study. Remember, most teachers will have finished their courses, and most projects will be handed up by Easter. This leaves much of the last term for revision. There is still time to turn things around!

Best of luck…


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