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prepare students for mock exams

How can you prepare students for mock exams?

Date posted : 22 December 2020

The exam season can be a difficult time for students and some will experience a heightened pressure to perform well under timed conditions. The best thing that a teacher can do to prepare their students for this is practise with mock examinations. Most students will admit to cramming before an exam, despite cramming being linked to increased stressed levels, so the trick is to get them started with their revision early. That way they’ll see just how much they need to revise and get off the starting blocks with a head start. Here are four ways you can prepare your students for mock exams:

Supply past papers

If you have previous mock papers or access to practice papers these will help give your students an idea of the structure of the exam and the different command words. Also, the papers will highlight what topics they need to focus on and by using an official marking guide they’ll learn exactly what an examiner will be looking for and how they can pick up those marks. One piece of A* advice from an A* student is that students should start the past papers at least two weeks before the exam.

Help your pupils get started with a distributed practice approach by setting practice papers as homework or do one together in the classroom under timed conditions. It’s important that before the mock exam they understand how long they should spend on answers and how they can make sure they don’t run out of time.

Create topic summaries

A lot of information can be covered in a term or a year, making it hard for students to remember those earlier topics. Creating a summary of each topic ensures they have an overview of the syllabus they’ve learnt so far and is a great strategy to help combat learning loss. The summary should cover the main points and therefore help them to compartmentalise the subject into sub-topics. 

Rather than creating the summaries yourself, you can get your students involved by assigning each person a topic and ask them to condense it into five to seven bullet points. Have those students share their bullet points in class and, in turn, hear their classmates’ summaries of the topics they were assigned.

Find helpful revision websites and videos

Technology has changed the education landscape and while web-based learning was becoming the norm, this trend took off in the wake of covid. BBC Bitesize and Seneca Learning are among the best stocked revision websites, with interactive quizzes, videos and step-by-step guides for all age ranges. These websites offer courses across a range of topics but there are also sites dedicated to specific subjects, such as , which is a free online learning platform that gives access to resources, videos and exams questions.

The wealth of free information you can find on YouTube has led to the coining of the phrase StudyTube. The content you can find on the video-sharing platform covers exam techniques, revision tips and guides for tricky topics. Do your research to find the StudyTubers you want to recommend to your students.

Help students plan a revision timetable

As a teacher, it’s important to remember that many things can cause pupils stress and anxiety, one being examinations. The abundance of classroom notes and online resources means that your students have enough materials to get them top grades, but with so much to cover it can be overwhelming and they may not know where to start.

Share a revision timetable template and get them to start by filling in their school hours, other commitments and time for homework. Encourage your students to experiment with their timetable and find what works best for them. For example, they might try the Pomodoro Technique and find that the 25-minute blocks with breaks in between help them stay focused. Advise them to schedule the subjects they find harder at the beginning of the day when their brain is feeling fresh. Lastly, remind your students to set realistic expectations and give themselves enough time to relax.

Bring your education career to Teaching Personnel 

Using these tips you can make sure your students are prepared for their upcoming mock exams and feel on top of their revision. You can find plenty more helpful teaching advise from Teaching Personnel, such as our top behaviour management strategies, and we also provide advise on DBS checks and help our candidates understand what their career options are. If you’d like to speak to a member of the team to hear how we can help you, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

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