Spilling the Tea on Mocks!

We've all heard the phrase 'practice makes perfect' which is why all A-Level and GCSE students are obliged to take mock exams - usually during the months of December to February to perfect and practise their exam skills and knowledge of the subjects.

During this period, students begin to panic at the thought of mocks heavily reflecting their abilities. Some students may even question the reason for mock exams as they might not see any value in them, which could result in them not performing to their best capability. For the current year elevens, this could be a deciding factor on their official GCSE grades due to the pandemic. The thought of this adds to the already existing pressure and anxiety which can take an enormous toll on student's mental wellbeing. Lessons had to be held online because of national lockdown - the disruption of learning hindered millions of student's education since they might've not found Zoom as informative or efficient compared to school.

Nonetheless, we still have to write our mocks as there may be a chance that our teachers give us our final grades. To achieve the highest marks, it is essential for us to do excellent in our mocks. Here are a few reasons why they're so important and helpful to students.

Mocks act as practise for the real exams and are an excellent way to recognise the gaps in a student's knowledge so they can work on their weaknesses. It allows students to learn from their mistakes and develop their understanding of a difficult topic. Moreover, researchers discovered students who didn't do a mock exam and spent their time revising performed worse compared to students who did a practice test after a period of revision.

Mocks also improve exam skills. Students are required to finish their papers in a time limit and under constant pressure. But with practice, they can test the waters without having to jump straight into the unknown. With the information and experience of mocks, students will feel more confident and prepared as they've already have had a feel of the exam conditions. Skills such as time management, making sure you read the questions thoroughly and understanding the wording is essential to do well on your exam.

In addition to the above, mocks allow students to find revision techniques that are best suited to them. Narrowing down the variety of revision methods helps you revise thoroughly instead of wasting time on experimenting with different systems right before the real exams.

Recently, I interviewed a few students from GGSK to find out their opinions on mocks - which Mevin Babu replied 'The mocks are important because you know where you struggle in topics for exams and what you have to revise on more. They also help prepare you for the real exams as you get a feel as to what they might be like'. Similarly, Loukya Sujeevan described how the practice exams give 'you an idea of where you stand'.

When asked if the mocks should be a large factor on our final grades, Mevin answered 'Mocks shouldn't be a large factor on them as we haven't properly learnt everything due to the pandemic'. Likewise, Anika Panwar felt 'They should also consider classwork and homework when they predict grades' as 'The pandemic had slowed down the learning process'. However, Loukya thought that 'The mocks should be heavily considered because they are similar to the actual GCSE exams and are the best reflection on student's abilities'.

Despite some of the differences in opinions, they collectively agreed that the government should reduce the curriculum content. Venkat Srikanth declared the 'The government should reduce the topics in subjects to reduce stress and be more lenient while marking'. He also thought 'Tests should be more simple, avoid complex questions and the time given to students should be increased' as 'little things are actually important'.

With all this said, whether we like it or not, mocks are inevitable. But to get the best out of them, we have to put our 100 per cent in them. Setting up a home timetable and clearing out your study space is a great way to start. As a year eleven student, I understand how vital it is to start early in order to become productive. Personally, one book that has inspired and helped me understand how to study is a book called, 'Stop Failing Maths!' By Jay Taylor and I would recommend this to anyone! The book teaches you how to study the subject efficiently which will have the most impact on your grade. It's filled to the brim with exciting, stimulating, tips and tricks on how to become a better student, so check it out!

In any case, starting revision as soon as possible is vital because if you don't start now, when will you?