5 Time Saving Mock Exam Tips

by Anita Naik

With the news that schools are to hold rigorous mock exams as part of the government's "plan B" for A-level and GCSE results, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. The good news is it pays to start your revision early, not just to get ahead but to help manage your stress load. Here are 5 time-saving mock exam tips to help you sail through.

Check the exam specification

If you're unsure what will come up in an exam, get a copy of the syllabus and exam specification and revise every single thing on the list.

This will not only give you a clear idea of how much you have to revise but also an idea of your knowledge gaps and weaker areas. From this, you can then to create a revision timetable that gives more emphasis to the areas you are weak on or have to start from scratch.

Create a traffic light system so you can see at a glance what needs to be done and what has to be prioritised. Green for areas you know well and understand. Orange for areas you need to revise and red for areas you don't yet know. Red areas then need to be prioritised.

Look at the examiners' reports on past papers

Past papers don't just help you with timing issues they also show you a wealth of other things. Key areas to look at are how points are awarded, what examiners want to see and how questions are phrased. These three areas can be the difference between a high and average score on your mocks.

At the same time, read the examiners report for each subject. Every year the exam boards make public a document written by examiners. Here they tell you what they like to read in papers and give you examples of what not to do.

Do each paper at least twice. With each one, go through the answer afterwards and ensure you understand everything you are being asked. This gives you a clear idea of how to answer questions with the right detail.

Do more than read your notes

You don't have to go with all singing and dancing mind maps, revision cards and quizzes, but passively reading your notes is a waste of your time.

To take in what you read, you have to make brief notes to summarise critical information. This way, you will transfer the knowledge into your long-term memory and ensure it sticks. The key is always to stay productive while you revise so you don't get bored, drift off and waste your time.

Set revision goals

Revision goals will help keep you motivated - so instead of expecting yourself to know everything about say, An Inspector Calls in one sitting, break it down. Create smaller components to make it easier to digest — for example, characters, themes, and plot summary. Then focus on one area at a time in your revision.

The same can be done for any subject. For instance, for History, write short summaries of your arguments for all relevant areas. Examiners are looking for what you think, and want to know your interpretation of key events. Putting together short summaries for several key areas will accurately bring your arguments together.

Finally don't forget to practise your essay skills as a part of your revision. To get high marks in subjects like History, Biology, Business Studies and English, you also need excellent written skills. Practice your essay writing in timed conditions to ensure you can show the breadth and depth of your knowledge for maximum marks.

If your mocks go badly take actionThe important thing is to learn from your mock results. Identify what went wrong (ask to see your exam paper and go through it with your teachers) and then make a plan to deal with it. For instance, was it:

Lack of revision - easily solved by creating a timetable and starting earlier.

Lack of understanding - again solved with the help of teachers and tutors.

Bad time management - solved by practising papers under timed conditions.

Not showing calculations or giving evidence - solved by reading the examiners report and understanding the point system.

Knowledge gaps - helped by filling these in with the help of a tutor or your teacher.