Preparing for your mock exams should mirror, as much as possible, the preparation you plan on doing for the real test come summer. The purpose of the mocks are to allow you to get a feel for the exams, to get your timing right and become aware of the level you’re at. The mocks give you a great opportunity to tweak your study methods and try new approaches that you think might work. The results of the mocks will indicate where you need to work harder, but will also give you confidence in subjects you do well in.
When it comes to the mocks it’s important to remember that they are not the real exams. Getting stressed for exams is normal and a bit of stress is healthy. However, getting overly stressed affects how you perform and will also have an effect on the rest of your workload around the time of the mocks. Using the mocks as a practice run to manage this stress will be invaluable come the summer.
In the lead-up to the mocks you should study consistently and work off a schedule. As we spoke about in a previous blog, organisation will help you succeed. With this in mind, you should prepare a study schedule. The schedule should be manageable and easy to follow, so that you don’t burn out before the exams begin. It should make use of highlighters and different coloured pens to help create a vivid plan. As you work through your plan, tick off the days you’ve completed. There is a great sense of achievement to be found in study; ticking off the days as you go will help to nourish that feeling. It will help to create a mindset where you will enjoy the study and will want to succeed.
Your study should incorporate both revision of notes and practice questions. Looking over your notes or reading through a textbook is beneficial but can only take you so far. Putting those notes into practice by taking out your past exam papers and actually doing a few questions will benefit you much more. First do a question with the notes at hand, but as you progress try and remove the notes and see how you do. This will give you a good indication of what you need to work on.
Another benefit of challenging yourself with past exam questions is timing. When your practising past questions you must time yourself. It’s important to know how long each question should take and to work within that time frame. There’s no point working on a question at home for thirty minutes when in the exam the same question should only take fifteen.
Remember the mocks are a dry run of the real Leaving Cert and Junior Cert. They are there so that you can work out all of the kinks before. They are there so that you can make a mistake without the same consequences as the true exams They are not there to make your life more difficult. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The mocks will make your life easier come summer time when the actual exam is staring you down. You will be confident, ready and capable of achieving the best of your abilities.
To help with studying for your exams, see our Revise wise series on www.revisewise.ie