It’s ‘mocks’ season for most students right now.
As a general rule, evidenced throughout my 15 years of teaching, students will NOT be happy with their mock results.
- They’ve usually only done 66% of their GCSE study at the time they do mocks.
- They’re just starting to get their heads around what GCSE exams actually feel like. Exam technique is a skill in itself.
- They’ve not usually hit their stride with revision yet. Even the keen ones often find they’ve been doing lots of passive revision, which hasn’t quite done the job of getting information into their long-term memory.
- They haven’t done many past papers yet. Schools tend to do this last, once all the ‘learning’ has been covered.
All these lead to mock results that are below what they expected.
Ask any teacher, and they’ll tell you the most useful thing mocks do for students is scare them into starting to revise properly.
Here’s how you as a parent can deal with the fallout:
Option 1: Your child has been studying hard, and is already stressed.
They have been building a strong foundation so far. If they think of it as a jigsaw puzzle, they may have put together ALL the edge pieces now. It might not look like much yet, but they’re SOOOOO much closer to ‘success’ than the people who are still digging around for the corner pieces.
It may be that they now need to try a different approach. (There’s learning and then there’s revising.) Revising is about taking the information from your short-term to your long-term memory, and can mean using a different technique to the original learning.
Option 2: Your child has been avoiding revision so far.
‘I told you so’ won’t help. It’ll just make them less likely to listen to your advice. I promise.
They need to put together a revision plan, and start work. It’ll involve trying out different techniques, and maybe even starting by learning to mindmap properly, for example (https://www.mindmapping.com). They’ll have to pick what works best for them.
The key is to help them to see that this is just a step along the way.
Even if mock grades are taken into account in 6th form applications, they are always trumped by exam grades in the end.
They have time. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
If they know why they’re working for these grades, it’ll help. What difference will it make to them? Their own reasons, not just the ones we think are important as adults…
I’ve seen kids go from an F in their mocks to a C in their maths GCSE. It takes a sustained effort, but it’s achieveable.
DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO MAKE SURE THEY DON’T GIVE UP!