Everybody loves mock week
It’s that time of the year again…February half term is drawing closer, all hope of snow is
beginning to fade, and every teacher in the school is imploring us to “please take these mocks a little more seriously”.
For some of us, this is our seventh year of green corridors and canteen food: we’re ready to leave now, and it’s hard to summon the necessary motivation for mocks when we’re all too aware of the months of revision stress and self-doubt that will follow them.
Fourteen years of lower education culminate in June, not February, because at the end of the day, who really gives a damn?
“I’m not going to revise for the mocks: I’m going to see what I can do without revision”
This is the part of the article where I come out of the closet as a mock lover. I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you, if you were expecting me to rage, rage against the injustice of the mocks, because I’m not.
I love mocks.
And that’s not to say that I love revision, exam butterflies, and Ms Thoburn’s scrawling red pen all over what I had thought was an impeccably answered essay question…I love mocks as a revision tool. Mock exams are an integral part of the revision process: they provide us the luxury of sitting down for our future-determining exams in June with the experience of having been there before, and this is the only chance we get.
Practice papers aren’t the same – we need the ear pounding silence, the uncomfortable chairs, the post-exam dissection. We need to get those papers back with big haphazard circles and question marks around all of the incoherent nonsense that read perfectly well when we wrote it and understand why we didn’t get those marks. There is always something we missed – a detail we overlooked, or a chapter we hadn’t revised as thoroughly – mistakes that won’t be made in the real thing. Without revising for your mock, you will have no idea where you are grades-wise. You do not need to know “what you can do without revision”, because any exam you take without revision will not reflect your true ability, and is a complete waste of time. Mocks included.
“Mocks don’t count for anything so I don’t want to waste my effort and get all worked up over nothing” – a laziness-perpetuated myth
I’m not kidding, some people actually believe this. The truth is that mocks do count, or at least they might…and I sure wouldn’t want to take that risk.
If, heaven forbid, you suffer some kind of tragic exam-forfeiting accident and find yourself unable to sit the exam, there’s this really nifty little trick that means you don’t have to spend another year of your life doing A Levels: your mock grades become official. I say “you don’t have to spend another year of your life doing A Levels”…but of course, this only works if you put some work into your mocks. Still planning on winging it?
At the end of the day, you can wing it all you like and I won’t care. You can laugh at the people taking them seriously while you enjoy late nights and lazy weekends and a February half term of doing sweet nothing, because it is your decision. If you’re ready for the ultimate cliché: the only person you’re letting down is yourself.
“But the exams aren't for ages, there’s no point in doing mocks now”
EXACTLY MY POINT. We are the first year to not have to suffer January exams – we win! Wrong. If we screw up our exams, then that’s it. No second bite of the cherry. In previous years, it was sort of okay – sure, failing sucks, but you could resit in June, so it’s not the end of the world. Except now it is. We no longer get the privilege of having our systems shocked by January exams, so we’re relying on the mocks for that. If you screw up your mocks, it’ll be sort of okay – sure, it’s not the confidence boost you were hoping for, but the real exams are in June, so it’s not the end of the world. See what I did there?
When the fourteenth of August rolls around, the last thing you want to be thinking is: “I wish I had worked a little harder”. It starts now, and all of the denial in the world isn't going to change that. Believe me, I've tried. So please: panic and freak out, misplace your minus signs, drink so much coffee the morning before your exam so that you have to get up half way through to walk to the bathroom with the whole exam hall staring at you…and learn from those mistakes.
Article by Dani da Costa - Year 13
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