Many academics and students will agree that the best way to be prepared for an exam is to go through as many past papers as possible. This helps you understand the structure and questioning style of the exam. Whilst this may be helpful, it does not give you a true glimpse of what the actual exam may be like. Past papers have mark schemes attached to them and it is only natural for a student to look through them before completing the paper. It is for this reason that students who are to take the GCSE exams will take a set of mock exams before.
Mock exams take place long before the actual exams take place, and this is usually during December or January. Some schools may allow students to take GCSE exams in certain subjects much earlier than the others. These exams may also have mock exams, which can be taken in Year 10 or 11.
For many students the GCSE exam is the first major exam they will take since SATs. Hence it is understandable to be nervous and to want the best possible grades, even in the mock exams. Read on, to find out how important your GCSE mock exams are and when you must take them.
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When are the Year 11 GCSE mock exams?
Mock exam dates are decided by your school, but Ofqual recommends that they are taken from November to December, before the Christmas Holidays. Some schools may choose to do them after, from February to March.
Some schools may choose to conduct mock exams early. This is because assessing a student’s knowledge on a subject well in advance could allow them to start interventions. They can begin additional classes for struggling students – before it’s too late.
However, some schools believe that this is counterproductive. This is because examining students too early does not give them sufficient learning time for the whole curriculum. Therefore, there will be an inaccurate prediction of their grades.
It is important to ask your teachers about important exam dates, so that you are as prepared as possible. Check out this information booklet from Eduqas to find out their official GCSE timetable for 2022 for an idea of when your future GCSE exams may occur.
Are GCSE mock exams done in Year 10?
Taking GCSE exams in Year 11 is not always the case. There are many schools across the UK who change their curriculum to allow students to take exams in Year 10. This may be one exam or many.
The purpose of this is to ease the stress of taking every single exam in Year 11. The main disadvantage will be that students must start the GCSE curriculum much earlier than other students across the UK.
For those not taking any GCSE exams in year 10, the Year 10 mock exams will still most likely be taken. Due to the few schools offering GCSE exams in Year 10, there is no official time period that Year 10 mock exams must take place. This means that most schools will choose a suitable time for the exams to begin.
What are GCSE mock exams?
The purpose of GCSE mock exams is to prepare students for one of the most important exams in their life. The GCSE exams can be tough, and its difficulty is only increasing with the years.
In the summer of 2021, there was roughly a pass rate of 77.1%. You can see more about this statistic (and others like it) on this website called Which School Adviser. This was a large increase from the summer of 2020. Whilst this seems like a good thing, it is important to note that these exam grades were based on teacher marked assessments and therefore do not reflect how the pass rate will change in the coming years. This means that there is a possibility of the current grade boundaries increasing and therefore a much lower pass rate. This is why mock exams play a much larger role now than ever before.
Mock exams provide students with the opportunity to experience what the real exams are like. This exposure will make them much more confident in their abilities and prepared for the exams as they have an idea of how strictly these exams are assessed.
Check out this article written on Think Student to learn more about mock exams.
The way you revise for the mock exams should be the exact same as how you would revise for the real GCSE exams. Treating the two as the same gives a higher chance of excelling in it. To learn more about ways to study effectively, check out this article from Think Student.
What are the advantages of mock exams?
As mentioned above, the mock exams provide many advantages to students. A large advantage is that students will have a greater understanding as to how they should revise effectively. If there is no familiarity with the exam papers, it will be difficult to know whether the method of revision you are currently using is the best kind of revision for you.
When it comes to the actual day of the GCSE exam, many students will find that they have not adapted their revision technique for the exam in front of them. Under-preparation and over-preparation are quite common for young students.
A feature that is found in most students is the urge to procrastinate. You may have felt this yourself many times. Revising the entire syllabus of a subject weeks or even days before the actual exam can be incredibly stressful. The mock exam is the perfect opportunity for you to get a head start before it’s too late.
When you start your revision early for your mock exams, you will generate a lot of revision material. This includes flashcards, past paper notes to actual revision notes. This is what ultimately saves your grade. Even during times when you feel like procrastinating, you have your ready-made notes to help you before the actual exam.
How important are mock exams?
Whilst these exams are significant in giving students experience in exam conditions, they do not have an effect on your overall GCSE grade for a subject.
The mock exams are taken long before the actual exams due to a significant factor. Depending on your mock grade and the school you go to, the grade you get in your mock exam will be an important factor in deciding which paper your school will out you for.
Higher education institutes such as sixth form colleges will also take your mock grades into consideration when it comes to offering you a place. Check out this article from Think Student to find out more about sixth form offers.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand when you should be expecting to take your GCSE mock exams and how you can prepare for them. It is important to remember that mock exams are not conducted by the exam board. Your teachers will choose the days of your exam and what it will be. Always speak to them about any doubts you are having.