Trial or “Mock” examinations have been with us for a long time. Their main purpose, obviously, is to prepare students for the “real” exams (in our case, Cambridge International Exams) which will come soon afterwards. As I start this blog post at the end of March, KYUEM students are sitting their first mocks and will be busy doing so for the next two weeks. What happens after that is potentially quite challenging, and students will need to prepare themselves well.
For example, suppose a student does really well in the mocks: A* in everything, let’s say. The temptation now is to take it easy for the next couple of months. The mock results prove how good s/he is, right? Wrong! Mocks prove nothing: they are (at best) an indication. For the student with A* grades in every subject, the message is clear: you are on the right track so don’t stop – keep doing as well are you have been, and don’t slacken. The real event is only weeks away.
Conversely, a student who does less well in the mocks may ask: what’s the point of my working any harder? I've already proved I won’t get the right grades. Wrong again! The indication is that you have some work to do, some ground to make up, but the good news is you have a couple of months to turn things around, so get busy, right now.
These are two extreme cases, of course, and most students will do what we expect them to do. Remember, too, that most teachers like to grade mocks a tad tougher than they expect Cambridge to grade the real thing. In this way, we can fairly confidently predict that an A grade in a mock has the potential to be become an A* at A Level, while a B in the mock could become an A from Cambridge.
Prediction, however, is a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. Sometimes, exams turn out to be harder than we expect; sometimes easier. How we feel and behave on the day of an exam may also affect our eventual outcome. We can be sure that on the day final results come out there will be one or two surprises: some students will have done better than expected, and others may be disappointed.
The only way of minimising the risk of disappointment comes with good exam preparation and mock exams are a key component of that. To all our KYUEM students taking mocks this week and next, I will end by simply saying this:
Good luck and learn valuable lessons from your experience.