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I messed up my mocks… what do I do?

Were your mock results not quite what you hoped for? Or worse, and you've been completely knocked for six and don't know what to do next?

Firstly, don't panic!

This is exactly what mocks are for: a trial run before you face the real thing in the spring:
I got DDB in my AS mocks last year and came out at the end of Year 12 with ABB. Careyboyle, Tsr Forum Member
Everybody messes up mocks. Just got a C and an E in my A2 mocks, but my teachers still agree I’m on track for my A*AA. Alexion, Tsr Forum Member
It might not feel like it, but many students go through the same trauma when they get their mock results, and it doesn't stop them going on to a university they're happy with (although not without some work first).

So what do you do if you suffered a mocks disaster? Here are five steps to pick yourself back up...

1. Don't dwell

There isn't time to! You can't afford to spend a couple of weeks with a black cloud above you, lamenting that your future is down the toilet (it's really not).

Shake it off, focus on what's ahead of you and start making changes today.


Kick off your revision with our special advice section for exam season
 

2. Don't ignore the problem

The other extreme to avoid is pretending that your mocks didn't happen. If your results aren't what you were expecting, take it as a sign that you need to change something.

This could be your study habits or how you split your attention across your subjects – see how A* students revised for their exams. If you remain in denial and do nothing different, the same thing is likely to repeat itself when you come to the real thing. 

3. Speak to your teachers

Your teachers will be on the case already. Book in some time at lunchtime, break or before or after school to speak to them properly about where you went wrong – 30 seconds before you dash off for your next class isn't enough to make a significant difference. 

Ask questions where you don't understand something – don't just say you 'get it'. Do take up offers of after-school revision classes or regular catch-ups for extra guidance.

4. Where did you go wrong exactly?

While a bad mock exam boils down to not getting enough marks, it's important to understand why this was the case. Was it...:
  • Time management: did you set aside enough time for different sections of the exam (particularly those worth the most marks)? If not, learn to keep an eye on the clock and identify the sections worth the most marks.
  • Misreading the question: the pressure of an exam situation can do funny things to you, and misreading a question is a common one even if it seems really silly. In the real thing, don't pick up your pen until you've read the question two or three times. Underline key words and prompts so they stand out. 
  • Not showing calculations: a common one in maths exams especially, where your final result isn't always what the examiner is looking at. If your method is sound, you can still pick up marks!
  • Not providing evidence: correct sourcing is important in subjects like history or psychology where there are lots of dates, names and case studies to remember. Making wild claims or arguments isn't enough; you have to show evidence to back up everything you say.

5. Your revision timetable

Plan what you need to study to ensure you cover this sufficiently in time for the exam – picking random chapters in a textbook to read probably isn't the most productive use of your revision time.

Tweet from @AHSFutures

Breaking down everything you need to study into chunks will make everything much less overwhelming. Draw up a revision timetable you can realistically stick to, factoring in extra time for those areas which need more attention, and to go through past papers: 
Past papers, past papers, past papers! I wasn't happy with my mocks last year so I worked very hard from like Feb / March onwards to make sure I got the grades I wanted / needed. It worked and now I've got an offer from my favourite uni. It pays off, just make sure you work! Tvio, Tsr Forum Member


Thanks to our ever-helpful Twitter followers for supplying their top tips for this piece, and the great advice offered by forum members on The Student Room - follow the thread link for more discussion.

Tweet us at @WhichUniUK with revision tips that are working for you - we love the odd ones!

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