How to excel in your GCSE mock exams
As Covid continues to affect Year 11 and 13 students, the government has already agreed to adaptations to next year's exams, including providing advance information on the content of some exams. Alongside this, mock exams will continue to have a considerable significance as they may be relied upon to calculate grades if exams are cancelled again. For this reason, it pays to know how to excel in these exams by revising in the right way. Here's how to go into your mocks with confidence.
Create a workable revision timetable
A workable revision timetable is one that gives you enough time to go over all the areas you need to revise in the way you want, within the time you have. With this in mind depending on when your mocks are, you have to create a timetable that allows you to cover the specification for each subject, focusing on your weaker areas and giving yourself time to memorise and practice questions.
The best way to work out what you need to cover is to:
1. List all your subjects in order of importance (core subjects first).
2. Next to each subject, list the topics you need to cover (check the specification).
3. Using a different coloured highlighter, mark your weakest (red) and strongest (green) topics per subject. At a glance, you will now be able to see which subjects and topics need more time allocated on the timetable and why.
4. Allocate time for each subject per day but mix up your subjects so that you can cover all of them regularly.
5. Start revision as soon as you can. The more time you can give yourself to revise, the more information you will retain and the easier the process will be.
Read the examiners' report
The examiners' report is a brilliant study resource that will give you clear insight into what examiners are looking for, common student mistakes, and the marking process. The report breaks down topics and shows what students have done well and what areas many students are weak in.
Your teacher should be able to get this report for you, and from it, you can work out what practice questions and papers you should focus on. It will also help you understand the marking scheme and work out what you need to do to achieve optimum marks.
Fine-tune your revision methods
You may be excelling in homework and tests, but many students struggle with revision methods. If you are a fan of just reading notes, think of a retrieval technique as a more practical way to revise. This is any method that makes your brain work to come up with the answer. Think quizzes, flashcards, being tested by friends and family, and past papers.
At the same time, give yourself time to unwind every night. Studying to the point of exhaustion only ups your stress and anxiety levels which can work against your revision methods. In every timetable, there should be space and time for you to relax.
Put in the time
That said, good revision is an ongoing process of learning and reviewing your work to commit it to your memory, which means you have to put in the revision time. That's a concentrated amount of time every day that enables you to go over all your work without having to cram a few weeks before.
The sooner you start your revision, the less stressed and anxious you will feel. So even if your mocks are planned for next January or February, start revising now.
Be willing to learn from the mock experience
Preparing for and sitting mock exams in timed conditions boosts exam success, as long as you are willing to learn from the process. Help yourself by taking the time to work out what your stumbling blocks are, as you study. Ask yourself, what's holding you back from revising and what's working for you? What are you finding easy and what was hard? Above all, what do you need to do more of as you work towards GCSEs 2022?