Mock Exams: How To Learn From Your Mistakes

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Amy studied at the University of Bristol and is our revision blog guru. She only graduated recently so understands the pressures of being a student better than most, and is here to share her wisdom so that you revise effectively, smash your exams, succeed at school and write cracking university and job applications.

Mocks season may have passed (for most of you), but we get it if the stress levels are going nowhere. Getting your mock exam results can be a daunting prospect (and disheartening if you don’t do as well as you’d hoped). But this is a really good opportunity to work out where you’re going wrong and rectify any mistakes in time for the real deals in the summer.

1. Don’t take your marks to heart

Mock exams are called ‘mocks’ for a reason. They’re the closest you’ll come to sitting the real thing, but they don’t actually have the final say. Therefore, if you didn’t do as well as you’d hoped, don’t panic; there’s plenty of time to get things in order and make sure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes when the real thing swings around.

Need to strengthen your Powers and Roots? Check out our GCSE past papers now. Is your Ionic Bonding a little weak? See our GCSE Chemistry past papers by topic. Meanwhile, if you did well, congratulations(!), but don’t get overconfident. Take heart and keep working hard to make sure your summer exams go the same way. 

2. Think about why you went wrong

If things went even slightly awry for you, it’s important thing is to be analytical about it and think about why.

Did you fall short of what you wanted because you ran out of time? Now you know to work on your timing. Was it a lack of preparation or rest — say, you slept badly the night before, you didn’t eat breakfast, or you were distracted? Now you know to prioritise that kind of self-preservation ahead of the real exam. If there was a specific topic or a few that you struggled with, guess what: it’s time to really hone in on those topics and make sure they’re not a problem when the big day comes around in the summer.

3. Reflect on what you got right

When it comes to the things that did go well, it’s vital you don’t get complacent. As much as you need to think about areas for improvement, it’s also vital you stay consistent in the areas in which you excel. Make sure you maintain the energy and determination that helped you succeed in your mocks, so it can help you again in the summer. The pressure will only get bigger, but the best antidote to that is to be practice and be prepared.


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4. Talk to your teachers

Your teachers are there to help you. Having been your teachers for any length of time, it’s likely they’ll know you as a student and person and will be able to find a way to give you a hand in a style that suits you.

If you made mistakes in your mocks that you’re worried about, don’t be afraid to approach them to ask for extra help. They’ll appreciate it and will be happy to help. In many cases, you’re unlikely to have an issue a teacher hasn’t seen before; they’re people who know what they’re doing and are there to guide you along.

5. Study exam past papers

By and large, mocks are made up of either recent past papers or close variations of them. You have to be careful not to use them all up too quickly, but there’s no better resource for revision than Save My Exams past papers. They’ll familiarise you with the structure, general content and necessary approach for the real exams, so if you’re really worried, do some extra exam practice to warm yourself up.

Ultimately though, the most important thing is to take your mock exams for what they are — a trial. Some go great, some not so great, but they’re all about making sure you’re ready and prepped for the real thing! Be calm, focused, structured and organised, learn from your mistakes, and make sure you get the grades you’re aiming for this summer.

This week’s riddle

Who makes it, has no need of it.
Who buys it, has no use for it. 
Who uses it can neither see nor feel it.
What is it? 

Answer: A coffin

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Yes offcourse but I need topic wise worksheets for practice.