How to prepare students for their mock exams

Mock exams offer insight into predicted grades and highlight any gaps in knowledge before the real thing. Students who do well in their mocks are more likely to approach the real exams with confidence, so it’s important to make them a success. 

Here are some ideas to get the preparation started

Practice using past exam papers

This well used method is a must when it comes to preparing students for their mock exams in your teaching job. The mock exams will usually take place outside of the classroom in the same location as the real exams. Within the classroom, you can use other past exam papers to ensure your students are a step ahead when it comes to knowing what to expect. You can get past papers directly from the exam board, either for free or for a small fee. 

Top tip – make sure you keep a digital record of exam papers so you can build up a collection for future years.

Explain the exam specification and marking scheme

It’s important for students to know the exam specification before each exam so they can focus on revising topics that could be in the paper. With limited time and what seems like an information overload, being precise and strategic with revision is a must. Exams are about demonstrating knowledge in the areas that exam boards are looking for and in the format that matches the marking criteria. Looking at marking schemes on past papers will enable students to understand exactly how questions should be answered and how many marks each answer could be worth. Being familiar with how the questions are constructed will allow students to present their knowledge in the best way to achieve success.

Find creative approaches to revision 

Hopefully your students are doing lots of revision at home, but in the lead up to the mock exams it’s also a good idea to incorporate revision into the school day. Too much individual studying from a textbook can start to feel monotonous, so make the most of group activities during class time. Splitting into smaller groups or partners and going over past exam questions is one way to do this. Another interesting option could be giving each group an exam topic and asking them to condense the main points into a diagram and present it to the rest of the class. Whether you use games, quizzes, flashcards or any other activity, the main thing is to make it a group effort. The momentum of a group working towards the same goal can be encouraging and can motivate students for more textbook based revision from home.

Remember that when it comes to mock exams, preparation is key. They are the trial run before the real thing. Done correctly, they are an opportunity to set students up for success.  

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